07.08.2007 25 °C
First off the pics of Budapest are up and can be found at:
I arrived in Krakow at 6am after travelling on another night train, it went much better this time, i booked a couchette and slept for about 75% of the way after watching out of the window for the other 25%. Anyway upon arriving in Krakow i couldnt check into my hostel till 2pm but they let me store my bags and have a shower before i headed out to explore which was nice of them. So after changing etc i headed out into....RAIN! the first day of my entire day i didnt have hot sunshine!! Now wandering around any city in the rain isnt the greatest experience, but wandering round a new city with no idea where u r going and nobody speaking english is a new experience for me and not one im looking to repeat soon! I have to admit i found Krakow a bit over-rated (maybe it was the cold and rain...i dunno) but all the guides had told me it was such a beautiful place but, i just didnt get it! For one thing Krakow (and Poland in general) is a hugely hugely religious place and anyone who knows me well will know that is something that just doesnt sit well with me! For one thing all the walks u could go on were all church walks or synagogue walks, they had names like Pope John-Paul II walk (he was born in Krakow so fair enough i guess) and i just didnt really enjoy them. Plus all the churches are red brick, with narrow windows, very tall and narrow and in my opinion looked just like....well....mental asylums!! Anyway moving away from the religious side of things, Krakow has a very nice castle....from the outside. i have no idea what its like inside as there r only so many tickets available per day and they had sold out by the time i got there (10:30am). So the first day was a bit of a disaster in fairness!
The second day i was there i went to Auschwitz and Berkenau camps. They are obviously very sad places but very very interesting to goto. One thing i learnt was that, before i went if someone mentioned auschwitz i thought of wood huts, metal fences, gas chambers etc etc just like everyone else. What surprised me is this is actually the camp called Berkenau where all of these things exist and some still remain now, it was really horrifying to see all this but the tour i was on was done with real dignity and approached it all with class and from the right angle. Auschwitz camp is actually an old polish cavalry camp which was captured and used by the germans and once this started to overflow berkenau was built in temporary means. i would advise anyone in this area to go and see auschwitz even if history doesnt interest u.
One thing i should mention about Krakow was the hostel i stayed in. It was superb, it was called Seven Heaven and was 10 euros a night and served breakfast, had a huge common room, loads of showers and was just so good that i would say if anyone was on a budget trip to poland and wanted a hostel this comes with a huge recommendation!
in summary though i didnt enjoy poland i wouldnt say dont visit, some parts are very beautiful and auschwitz is very interesting.
pics for krakow can be found at: