Kraków, Poland | Interrail

Friday, 18 September 2015

It became apparent in Krakow that I actually just really liked Poland.
I was absolutely terrible at translation, the only words I knew on restaurant menus were for tea and fish, but the atmosphere in both Krakow and Wroclaw was amazing.
After our trip to Auschwitz on the previous day, it was time to explore Krakow itself.


We firstly came across St Marys Basilica, as, well, it was hard not to. It overlooks the main square, a bustling area surrounded by restaurants and bars, and rows of indoor market hidden away and full of gems.
We decided to head up to Warwel Cathedral, but not before we saw and 'accidentally' stumbled into a cupcake café, name Cupcake Corner *heart eyes* This was one menu that I could understand! ;)
After coffee and cake, we continued on our walk, up Wawel hill, to the cathedral.
The cathedral was beautiful. It almost doesn't look real, but as if a cartoon palace has been photoshopped onto an average background.

Leading on from the cathedral was the Wawel Royal Castle. It was the kind of place that I imagine Sophie would have loved to photograph - white washed and spacious. It was beautiful - Once I saw past the tonnes of school groups!
This is the part where we got lost. We returned to the front of the cathedral to find the dragon's cave - something recommended to me by a friend. But, low and behold, we couldn't find an entrance to save our lives. So, giving up on the cage, we just went straight for the dragon.
Now, get comfortable, and I'll tell you the story of how Kraków got its name.

Once upon a time, there lived a fire breathing dragon. This fire breathing dragon lived at the bottom of Wawel hill, and roamed around doing whatever he pleased. He ate all the farmers animals, and set fire to very important things using just his breath. He was a big pain in the ass, and the people wanted rid.
The king decided to step up, and announced that whoever killed the dragon got to marry his daughter! (Poor woman didn't even get a say in it). So princes and knights all fled to their home to try and slay the nuisance dragon, but no such luck, they all bloody sucked with a sword.

Then, one day, the shoemaker's son from the town asked the King nicely if he could attempt to slay  the dragon. The King huffed and puffed but decided to let him. After all, he wasn't really bothered what happened to him. The young man was named Krak (ooh, ooh, you see where the story's going!?).

Anyway, Krak did a very clever thing with a dead sheep and some sulphur, killing the dragon, and then ta-da! He married the princess, built a castle on top of Wawel hill (oioi, seen that), and then 'his' people built a city around the hill and named it Kraków.

SO, there we go, the reason for the dragon cave, dragon statue and the 'dragons bones' that hang above somewhere that I didn't find because I got lost. Of course, hahaha.
After our mini expedition to the cave we never found, we decided to head to the Jewish Quarter, as we had hours to spare before our night train.
We visited a couple of beautiful synagogues on our wander round, but unfortunately they forbid photography, so I can only recommend you head to see them yourselves if you ever visit Kraków.

What I recommend even more though is visiting this ice cream parlour.

Granted, it doesn't look like much, but it was the best ice cream that I have ever had in my WHOLE life. Hands down, no exaggeration here. We wondered why there was such a huge queue outside the door, but once I tasted it, I understood. I would stand in a pre-smiler Alton Towers queue time for that ice cream again. I chose raspberry and blueberry, and ugh, uuuugh. I have no words to describe it, I just wish I could transport you all there right now to be able to try one yourselves. Amazing. Aaaamazing.

After sobbing a little when I had finished it (still hurts), we went off to find the Jewish Plac Bohaterow Getta (Ghetto heroes square), where a memorial lies in the form of oversized bronze chairs.

I have read two stories on where the chair symbol originates from. One was that Jewish people were forced to live in tiny places with no room for their belongings, so they had to leave them on the streets. The second was a witness report from a survivor that saw children evicted from school and all carrying their chairs through the square. I'm not sure which is correct, or if neither of them are, but the fact that all the chairs are of equal size, representing equality, is strong enough to send the message out to me.

We sat on a wall after this alongside a market, chatting away (whilst unknowingly getting sunburnt, waaa) and taking in how much we both loved Poland.

That was, however, until our tummies started rumbling.
Tucked away on a side street off main square, is a little restaurant called Trattornia Soprano.

A lovely little restaurant that topped off our very hot day in Krakow, and prepared us for a long train to our next stop, Budapest.

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Visit my other interrail posts:: Bruges | Amsterdam | Berlin | Prague | Wroclaw | Auschwitz

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