_Five Days in Kraków

IMG_3740.JPGThinking of going somewhere – to just enjoy the beauty of the UNESCO World Heritage – I selected Kraków, the former capitol of Poland, from the UNESCO list as my destination. Two reasons have been important for my selection: The destination is within Europe and it’s only a 90 minutes flight away from my hometown.

While searching for valuable information regarding the destination the internet is always a big help. I followed several links, read the information and decided to fly (90 minutes) into Poland instead of riding the train (almost 15 hours) or even use my car from Cologne to Kraków (11 hours). But what should I do first to ensure that the time and date fits to my tight budget? I went through check24, Hotel.de, Hotels.com and booking.com and decided finally to choose a private apartment in Kazimierz for the time being in Kraków. It looked quite simple but was inexpensive and perfectly located for my sight-seeing tours.

Blick auf das Apartmenthaus in Kazimierz am Ufer der Weichsel.

After my decision was settled, I started talking about it to friends and family. Some of my friends did visit Kraków before. They got enthusiastic and recommended different things to think about: Historical places, „Must Does“, restaurants, landmarks, etc. My best friend, who is an art historian recommended the Royal Wawel Castle as THE PLACE to go and to see. Others told me about the Salt Mine Wielizcka and the beauty of this place. I had to make my mind up to decide what to do while I am visiting. To make my mind up I again searched the internet and found a very helpful guide. This online magazine offers guides to many European cities including Kraków. Beside the information provided there I was looking for a private, German speaking city-tour-guide. I contacted one of the licensed official tour-guides and asked for support. She was very kind and offered besides the German speaking city-tour-guide also transport services between my apartment and the Salt Mine and to the city-tour meeting point.

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I investigated into my flight by using one of the search engines where I thought it would be valuable to look at. Finally I chose one direct flight going from DUS to KRK operated by Eurowings. Prices vary from 90 EUR to almost 300 EUR depending on services and chosen time. But the convenience is that it’s only 90 minutes to get there instead of almost 4 hours of total flight/travel time offered by Ryan Air, LOT and LH. My flight added up to cost 267.98 € because of the fact that I had one big suitcase and my photo equipment as carry-on luggage.

The Historic Centre of Kraków offers the largest market square in Europe and countless historical houses, palaces and churches with magnificent interiors. It is the heart of the 13th-century merchants‘ town. It’s further evidence of the town’s fascinating history is provided by the remnants of the 14th-century fortifications and the medieval site of Kazimierz with its ancient synagogues in the southern part of town and the Gothic cathedral where the kings of Poland and some controversal people were buried.

When walking from my apartment alongside the Wisła River you pass by the Skałka & The Pauline monastery. This sanctuary is an important religious sites in Poland. Here was the Bishop of Kraków, St. Stanisław of Szczepanów was beheaded (order of King Bolesław II). In 2008, the ‘Three Millennia Altar’ was built in the courtyard of the church, which features four-metre monuments of St. Stanisław, St. John Paul II, St. Faustyna, St. Jadwiga, St. Adalbert, St. Jan Kanty, and Abbot Augustyn Kordecki.