Krakow in a Day

Trip Start Apr 25, 2013
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Trip End Nov 02, 2013


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Flag of Poland  , Southern Poland,
Saturday, August 10, 2013

Today was a success, well the exploring part anyway. Future bookings, not so, but more on that later. We left the hotel around noon and winged it really. The weather was a nice refreshing 20C and overcast. We set off on foot to explore the city and we got heaps done. Its about 20 minutes from our hotel to Old Town, the most historic and beautiful part of the city. First, we arrived at Barbican, a small fort North of the city walls. Through the Florianska Gate, we headed down the Royal Road to the main market square, by the St. Mary's Basilica. We continued south to the Zamek Krolewski, Royal Polish Castle Complex. This was another, grand, impressive structure overlooking the city of Krakow and the river. We spent a while enjoying the view, cathedral and castle grounds.
One thing that made this castle particularly unique, was a cave known as the Dragons Den. From the castle walls, a small watch tower and spiral stair seemed to go on forever, to a cave system beneath the castle. Here, legend has it that a fabled hero vanquished the resident dragon and saved the Polish people. Exiting the castle, we came out by the river and followed it by a time, eventually crossing a bridge to the other side. 
Our target destination, a short walk away was Schindler's Factory, the site of Nazi entrepreneur turn saviour and protector for many Jews in World War 2. The historic museum here was absolutely excellent. It offered a thorough account of the story of Polands involvement in the war, Nazi occupied Krakow and the stories of the people. It wasn't just informative but engaging with videos, sound effects and themed rooms shaped as bunkers, concentration camps and Jewish ghettos. There was also an interesting exhibit on the story of Schindler's factory.
From here we began the walk back to our hotel, stopping for dinner at a nearby restaurant for pizza and pasta to share.
Its just about midnight now and were frustrated. This, organise as you go tactic for travelling is really no good. Its not the accommodation, that's relatively easy. Its the transport. I'm shocked and appalled at the lack of options, high cost and low quality of transport facilities. When you consider booking accommodation, transport, tours, planning days, activities, checking reviews, locations, keeping tabs on funds, looking for work, sending email, writing blogs, washing clothes in the shower.. well, theres alot more stress time, then relax time. Most of my previous adventures have been largely, albeit loosely structured. There is no advantage in Europe to last second travel. Its not cheaper, or better. We still have found no reasonable route from Austria to Switzerland. I'm looking forward to a solution, knowing we can get to Barcelona after. Soon as were organized we can use more time to relax..

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