Nine go Mad in Krakow

Trip Start Aug 23, 1996
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of Poland  , Southern Poland,
Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Story
 
Now since I've been hanging out in the bank, I've met a new group of friends. We come from all different countries, and we have regular dinners, but the word came out, that one of them, Soorian was going to get married, and so the guys got together with the thought of having a stag do, and as Krakow is meant to be the premier destination for this sort of caper, the flight was booked, and I was really looking forward to going as I had not been here since 1998.
 
Friday
 
Now before we start, in this story were the following extras.
 
Gavin
Clyde
Dave - DC, The Chungster
Rob H
Rob K - The Maggot Boy
Soorian - The Stag
Antonio - Banderas
Laurent - LT, Kim Jong Il
 
Once at the airport, we downed a few beers as a warm up, then jumped on the plane. Upon arrival, a couple cabs took us to the hostel which would be our home for the weekend. Beds were taken before we walked into town to discover for some, their first taste of Krakow. For me, it was a bit of a shock. There were flyers being handed to us for discounts to the pole dancing clubs, which didn't interest me, but I took them anyway, and not long after, a Georgian restaurant was found where we gorged ourselves quite cheaply before we moved onto a club.

Now for five Zlotys, you are allowed to enter the club, and you also get a free beer !!! The music was ok, and after a couple, I was starting to die as I had been up since 05:20, and as it was 01:30, I made my way back with Gavin and Banderas.

Saturday


It's a little scary waking at 06:00 with the Maggot boys face in yours !!! But shit happens. A couple hours later, I was awoken again as Clyde walked in the door. With that, we all got up, had showers, got our shit together and hit the road. Walking into town, Banderas and myself opened up a gap, and this time, even though there were more people around, Krakow felt more like 1998. We found a cafe in the main square, ordered some brunch, and were joined by the rest. Once we had eaten, we left the others and started walking around.
 
We eventually found the castle, walked through it visiting the Cathedral that JP2 use to preach in before he became JP2 and out the other side. We went down to the river to see the fire breathing dragon, and then followed it until we came to the bridge that the Jewish people were forced to cross when they were removed and placed in the ghetto. I looked at it and realised how lucky we were to be living in the time that we do. 
 
Back in town, we found a tourist office and arranged to do a tour of the Jewish quarter. Off we went and fifteen minutes later we entered. We were shown the synagogues, but they were not open as Saturday is the Jewish sabbath, and memorials and also the house that Helena Rubenstein was born in before she moved to Australia. It was very interesting seeing the sites and also the parts where Schindler's List was filmed, and after a couple of hours, the tour had finished, so we grabbed some lunch and then joined a queue of over sixty people as we were told that at the end of the line was Krakow's best ice cream. It was pretty good, so we ate it and moved on.
 
Over the river we went and into the ghetto. There isn't much to see except a set of steel chairs which were there as a memorial, so we crossed the road and followed the signs to Oskar Schindler's factory, and once there it kind of not what I thought it would have been. It looked newer, even Easterny !!! It was also closed, so we took the photos and kept walking until we arrived at the ancient Mound of Krak. It was kind of like Silbury Hill, so we climbed it and got some good views of Krakow. Whilst up there, the boys rang us telling that they were on the beers and that we should come back, and as it was now close to five, we made our way back in.
 
Once in the city, we grabbed the guys, went back, cleaned up, found dinner and went looking for a club. We were turned away from a few as they stated that only members were allowed, but they also told Poles this as well, so it was true !!! And we did eventually gain entery, just like the previous night, the entrance fee included your first drink !!! Eventually we settled on the one from the previous night, settled in and hung out there dancing with various local girls. It was loads of fun throwing down Jack and cokes and just generally fucking about, but as it was getting late, at 03:30, we called it a night and headed back, well some of us did !!!

Sunday
 
Once again, we had to get up early !!! But this time I had organised for all, two cars and a full day of being a tourist.

The first stop was Wieliczka Salt Mine, and we found out that for ten Zlotys extras, we could get our own personal guide and jump the queue, so we did just that. Fifty odd floors later, we arrived at nearly the bottom. Kate our guide spun some good stories before we made our way down further. We did discover that she didn't like Swedes which upset the Maggot but she disliked the French even more. We pointed out that LT was a Frog, and then she shut up !!! Actually, the salt mine is awesome especially the way that they have carved figures of historical note, the Last Supper, chandeliers and chambers straight out of the salt. 
 
Back on the surface, we headed on over to the dark side of the area, Auschwitz.
 
Being of Jewish heritage, as I have previously written, I never get sick of looking at death camps !!! We entered and Gavin and I split from the rest. We walked in various rooms, and I gave him my thoughts of what had happened, my memories of being here, trips to other camps, longing to visit other ones and various other thoughts. Whilst looking in one of the rooms, a guide speaking English was telling her group about Dr. Josef Mengele and his experiments. She also explained that he had escaped to South America, where using her words, "he lived happily ever after" !!! It is a moving place and one that needs to be visited. 
 
Down the road is the larger camp, Berkenau. It was here that the Jewish, Gypsies, Gays and various others were transported by train and led off to be exterminated. In fact, the gate and train tracks are still here and were used for in the filming of Schindler's List. The main parts, mainly the gas chambers and crematorium were blown up by the Germans once they had left. We walked around, but as we only had an hour here, it was a bit rushed.
 
And not long after, we were back on the road heading for the airport.
 
And Finally
 
So that was a stag weekend in what could nearly be considered the stag capital of Europe. I must say, I preffered the daytime Krakow to the night one, but I would like to go back with Lucy, but another trip with the other eight would be fun to !!!
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