We had clear blue skies from Wroclaw to Krakow, we took the train as this was the fastest and cheapest option, costing around £15 one way and taking 2 hours. Myself and Shannon spent most of the train ride eating to pass time – we were on holiday after all!
When we arrived at Krakow train station, we took an Uber to our apartment. We quickly realised that Uber was readily available, cheap and reliable in Poland. Uber is definitely the best way to travel short distances in Poland, in our opinion.
On to the apartment…
All of my friends will tell you, when it comes to booking weekend breaks and accommodation, I’m the go to girl. I take pride in finding cheap flights and good accommodation. However, this time I was slowly starting to think I had made a huge mistake…
We started to drive further out of town, which is fine, as previously mentioned we were using Uber which was cheap enough. We were dropped off on a road which was full of very square communist style looking apartments, all of which had huge iron gates covering the doors.
It probably didn’t help that the weather had changed from sunshine to clouds, as this added excess atmosphere which we already didn’t require!
Long story short, once we got through the intimidating iron gate at our apartment door, we realised it was actually quite pleasant inside. We had one room with a shared kitchen and bathroom, fortunately we never saw anybody else during our stay so I can only assume we had the place to ourselves.
We took an Uber back to the town centre. The town centre was buzzing, people everywhere. We first went to the beautiful market square which is surrounded by unique restaurants. We sat down to have a traditional polish meal. The market square really is beautiful, with the old cloth hall in the centre, which is now filled with niche market stalls.
After we had finished eating, we made our way to the ‘Wodka Café’. The Wodka Café, surprisingly specialises in different flavoured Vodkas. They have more or less every flavour you could ever imagine, ranging from different fruits to chocolates to milk and egg! The egg is surprisingly tasty, not one to be discounted!
We had planned to take a trip to Auswitchz and The Salt Mines.
This trip is certainly not for the faint hearted. We were collected from our apartment at 8am by a minibus which was already full. The tour operator showed us a video as part of the journey. This went into great detail about how the Jews were treated in the concentration camps – there were no details spared.
We arrived at Auswithcz 1 and were shown around by an English tour guide. He was very knowledgeable and went into great detail about what happened in each of the rooms, we were shown luggage which was collected from them, which they would have never seen again. The walls were full of photos of people who never escaped, the dates they were captured and the dates they passed, same survived years of torture, others only lasted a few days. Some were used for medical experiments – surely one of the worst kinds of torture. We were also taken into the gas chambers, we had a lovely warm day, yet as soon as you hit the gas chambers, everything goes cold and silent.
We then moved on to Auschwitz 2. This place is so eerie. We had a beautiful blue sky day and the place was full of tourists yet there wasn’t a noise to be heard. Hardly any grass grew; no birds were in the sky or insects on the ground. It was as if even they knew of the terrible past this place had.
As emotional as the morning was, it’s important to learn about our past and how awful people were treated, in the hope that we can all work together and stop it from happening to us again. Nobody deserves to be put through what these people experienced.
The afternoon was a slightly different experience. We were dropped for lunch at a little restaurant by the salt mines, we had traditional potato dumplings and broth.
Again, we had an English tour guide for the salt mines. The salt mines are over 700 years old and are a UNESCO site. When you enter, you walk down and down, for a long while until you finally reach the large mine area. You are talked through some of the history and also told, you can lick the walls if you want! Now, that bit is entirely up to you! You don’t need to worry about germs from other people though as the salt is an antiseptic.
The mines are carved into all different kinds of things including statues and cathedrals – I don’t want to give too much away but it is definitely worth seeing!
All in all, I would have liked to have had more time to see Krakow itself, especially in daylight so this is definitely on my bucket list of places to return!
Cost of trip
Train from Wroclaw to Krakow – £15
Apartment – £18 per night
Tour (Auschwitz and Salt Mines) – £75