Friday, August 23, 2013

Overnight Train to Krakow, Poland

What a night…we arrived at the train station; found our train and hopped aboard about fifteen minutes before it was scheduled to leave.  They don’t post the Platform until thirty minutes before it is scheduled to leave we discovered.
Before leaving we worked at spending most of our leftover Czech Koruna for food at one of the only stores open late at night in the station.  We were scheduled for a four bed cabin; tight but sufficient for our needs.  Jim didn’t get his two young girls; our partners were two single men; one from Israel and the other from India, they did not know one another.  Both very quiet and everyone went to sleep very soon after we left the station.
Woke up about 6 am; we were scheduled to arrive in Krakow at 6:25 am.  Everything was very quiet but it looked like a small station outside; this couldn’t be Krakow!   I went out and asked the conductor; he said “no, we’re still in the    No wonder we’d slept so well.  I discovered that when we reach the border during the night, the Czech engine left us but the Polish one had not arrived.  We spent three hours there before the Polish engine hooked up and we sped towards Krakow!  Remember the food we purchased last night; so glad we had it as we didn’t arrive until 11 am an there was no food available on the train.  One bad note:  the bathroom was soooo bad no one wanted to use it!   So we drank sparingly and ate lots of bread.
Czech Republic!”
Found a taxi cab that took us to the Management Office who checked us in and sent us in another taxi to the apartment.  It’s a very cute loft style apartment on the fourth floor with no elevator!  Old building but recently remodeled and is very modern.  TV and excellent WiFi.  So we’re happy campers now that our luggage is in the room.  AND for the first time on the trip, Jim has air conditioning!  He’s really a happy camper!
Weather is good, seems like it only rains when we forget our umbrellas so we carry them every day in our backpacks.  We are half an hour walk from the management office but it’s a delightful stroll down the street with lots of shops, there is a small grocery store right across the street from the apartment.  Two ATM’s in the neighborhood, one gave us trouble and no money but the other one worked; now we have to check our bank accounts to make sure there were no charges by the bad ATM.  After fifteen minutes of walking we arrive at a park, a few more blocks, then into the Main Square in the Old Center of Town.
Soon we were walking back towards the Main Square and the management company about 3 pm.  Stopped at St. Mary’s Basilica to see one of the famous paintings of the Black Madonna that is renowned for miracles.   The inside of this church is magnificent.  No photos allowed so the few that I took are not all that good.  We’re going back on Sunday for the ten o’clock high Mass.
We also signed up for two tours at the management office:  tomorrow we are going on an all day tour to Auschwitz and Birkenau Concentration Camps, and on Sunday afternoon we’ll be going to the famous Salt Mines.  
While we were in the square we found a pump handle with signs on it and then the marker in the   This marks the spot where a young man committed suicide during the period when communism was ruling the country as a sign of protest.
We stopped at a food booth on the way back through the square, yes, they are having a festival this weekend.  We had so much food that we actually took a “doggie bag” home since we have a kitchenette and we’ll finish it tomorrow for dinner.  We’ve already been shopping for our breakfast items for the next few days.
We’re enjoying our wonderful WiFi to make calls and post my photos and blog.  Hope you enjoy the slideshow link posted below.


Anonymous said...

Entralled with your travels.
Happy to see the large malachite urns still in Hermitage.

The manhole cover in Krakow looks like it has my maiden name "Kroll" only this one had one L.

Thank you so much for all the time you put in sharing your travels and photos.

Shirley Brodbeck, Leisure Lake

Valdimir said...

poland one of the most beautiful country. Best family vacation destination, a perfect place for young and adults. On my last vacation I really enjoyed there.