Anyone been to Krakow ?

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garystu1965

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We are going there this Saturday. Staying at Holiday Inn in the centre.
Is it good ? What's the food like ?
 
Hi been twice, excellent place and plenty to see ! The airport is about 4 km from town and costs about 10 - 15 Zlotte.

If you've also got a car Slovakia is not too far! separated by the higher tatra's (Mountains)

I was a soldier based in Slovakia for a year and used to visit Poland quite frequently.

Have a great time !!
 
Heyas,

I'm half Polish, and my wife is from Poland - we actually lived in Poland (in Bydgoszcz and Warsaw) for about 2 years before moving back to the UK.

Krakow is a lovely city to visit. Krakow was for a long time the capital of Poland, and is full of historic sites.

See the Wawel (the royal castle) and hear the hejnal mariacki at noon - a solemn bugle call which stops short suddenly on a solemn note, to commemorate the buguler dying with an arrow through the throat as he was warning the city of attack from the Tartars.

Travel to Wieliczka, a salt mine where you can go deep into the earth and breathe air so clear that for me (an asthmatic) it was like being in heaven - I've never breathed so clearly in my life.

Travel to Oswiecim, better known to the world as Aushwitz; the concentration camp remains untouched, a reminder of the atrocities. If you've ever been to the "concentration camps" that remain in Germany, you will appreciate the contrast - those in Germany have been done up to look like scout camps, with almost humane conditions, whereas Oswiecim is exactly as it was over fifty years ago. Not for the faint of heart.

Travel to Zakopane, the capital of the Tatra Mountains. They are beautiful. I met my wife in the Tatras, where we were both staying in a guest house run by nuns. At the time I planned to be a priest, with the Marian fathers; her goal was to enter the Ursulan convent. We were part of two different groups that were climbing one of the highest mountains, Swinica, and we both got seperated from our groups. We met up, started talking and climbed the mountain together; we recently had our 7 year anniversary, and have three children.

Remember that people in Poland earn an average of about 450 zlotys a month - that's about £70 per month in real money - while prices are often similar to the UK. Take a money belt. Tie it securely, under your clothes, hidden from sight, and keep your money and passports safe in it. Keep what you need for expenses in a pocket, not too much but enough that you can afford to lose it if you need to. If driving, observe the speed limits at all times, and be wary of idiots. When stopped by the police, offer them a hundred zlotys (about £17) and they will take it and let you go. When on the train, choose a carriage which has other people in it, preferably a couple of formiddable old grandmas (these types are great at chasing off robbers).

For preference, do not become ill. If you do, hand a bribe to the nurse, the doctor and the cleaning lady in the hotel. If unconscious, at least babble in English, which is a unspoken promise of hard currency later. If you do not give "presents" you will probably end up on the corridor with a plastic sheet covering you. That's just the way things work. My wife is a doctor, she completed her internship and worked for about a year, doing the only work she could find - 19 night shifts per month. And she earned about 500zl for this, including overtime and extras pay. Then she lost that job, because the hospital couldn't afford to pay her, and was unable to find another job as a doctor. Things are bad for those who do not have money. Strongly suggest having medical insurance, not just the E111 (or whatever the travel form is).

Despite all my warnings, as long as you are sensible, you will enjoy your trip to Poland. You would have to work hard not to.

-simon
 
Cheers for the advice. Krakow was great. Auschwitz is truly horrific. Despite reading loads of books, watching documentaries etc nothing prepares you for seeing it for real. When we arrived at Auschwitz 1 and I first saw the famous gate and fences I couldn't comprehend it all. I thought it was film set and then two seconds later the reality sets in. Many people say that the Birkenau camp is more shocking but the very first sight of Auschwitz was the thing that will always affect me. The place defies belief and you see it all exactly how it was 60 years ago and in colour.
 
Sorry to resurrect an old thread but I'm planning a road trip to see the camp(s) and I wondered if anyone else had done this?

I'm also wondering about hotel for a night or 2, I see that this one seems to get decent reviews on TripAdvisor.

Any comments gratefully received
 
Oswiecim (Auschwitz) is the worst place I've ever been to. I just can't forget it. How people could do this to people?

Robert, we have never stayed in that hotel, but I would recommend Express By Holiday Inn in Krakow. We have stayed there few times and it was actually better than most EbyHI in UK. And it is cheap! Close to airport.

I've just came back from Poland :) (not from Krakow, but been there in July)

Any question let me know!

Cheers
Chris
 
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Remember that people in Poland earn an average of about 450 zlotys a month - that's about £70 per month in real money - while prices are often similar to the UK. Take a money belt. Tie it securely, under your clothes, hidden from sight, and keep your money and passports safe in it. Keep what you need for expenses in a pocket, not too much but enough that you can afford to lose it if you need to. If driving, observe the speed limits at all times, and be wary of idiots. When stopped by the police, offer them a hundred zlotys (about £17) and they will take it and let you go. When on the train, choose a carriage which has other people in it, preferably a couple of formiddable old grandmas (these types are great at chasing off robbers).

Bulls*** What a pile of lyes!!! Even back in 2005 that wasn't true!

For preference, do not become ill. If you do, hand a bribe to the nurse, the doctor and the cleaning lady in the hotel. If unconscious, at least babble in English, which is a unspoken promise of hard currency later. If you do not give "presents" you will probably end up on the corridor with a plastic sheet covering you. That's just the way things work. My wife is a doctor, she completed her internship and worked for about a year, doing the only work she could find - 19 night shifts per month. And she earned about 500zl for this, including overtime and extras pay. Then she lost that job, because the hospital couldn't afford to pay her, and was unable to find another job as a doctor. Things are bad for those who do not have money. Strongly suggest having medical insurance, not just the E111 (or whatever the travel form is).

Despite all my warnings, as long as you are sensible, you will enjoy your trip to Poland. You would have to work hard not to.

-simon


Again, lies! Actually, some senior management from NHS went to Poland to see how to do National Health Service the proper way! Not so long ago!

No, you don't have to bribe anyone, you will get proper support and help. And trust me: doctors are much better than here, in UK. At least they will do proper diagnosis rather than offering "paracetamol".

Cheers
Chris

(yeah, I've spent some time in Poland)
 
Well, I hope that SimonsMerc was joking like Borat. If not, then I must congratulate.

It reminds me: when I was in States back in 2000 someone has asked me if that's true that we still use candles in Poland as we don't have electricity...
I've asked what's is the electricity (and as I'm good with physics) guy couldn't answer my question :)

Cheers
Chris
 
I went lastyear on a stag do. Place was great, food was decent.

prices were slightly high, although we drank a lot of bars dry. Women were beautiful, very cosmopolitan and classy (i was single then!). Place is not as backwards as people think it is.

I went to Auschwitz. A very sombre experience indeed, was a bit of a trek if i remember.

There were a few instances that left a sour taste in my mouth though.

I am of indian origin, and there were a few racist remarks thrown my way but other than than that, i enjoyed it.
 
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If you intend visiting Krakow here is a handy little guide to Krakow, the Bar Barcelona,mentioned, is owned & run by my cousins, Piotr & Eva. He speaks excellent English

http://www.cracow-life.com/

http://www.cracow-life.com/eat/restaurants_details/604-Bar_Barcelona

http://www.barcelona.krakow.pl/index_e.htm

Very very reasonable prices

Donza, sorry about the remarks that were directed to you.. it is no excuse, but you may have looked like a dark skinned Romanian Gypsy, that is still no excuse, however there is still an undercurrent of "dislike, shall we say" against the Roma & Jews...still no excuse!
 
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I went to Krakow about ten years ago. I branch fell off a tree and nearly hit me.

I lent on another tree near the bus station and it left black sooty marks on my clothes.

Don't go near the trees.

Bus trips go to the concentration camps. Never went, but did go to a small museum locally - heart-breaking; saw a young girl's ponytail... her mother, apparently, had cut it off before the Nazi came and took the kids away. Truly, you can see these things for yourself.

Oh, and we were warned off straying into the grounds around our hotel in case of war ordnance still lurking there.

So, in sum, watch the trees, open your heart and don't touch anything you don't understand.
 
My road trip may be turning into a mini-bus event with some people from work who have expressed an interest in going; I would imagine it's worth getting a guide at the camp for a group.

I'll try and avoid the trees
 
You'll find the signs in English, the whole place is self explanatory. Do not miss going to the "sister" camp at Birkenau, the contrast between the brick built main camp & Birkenau is really stunning. It is where the train transports came in & where Mengele made his selection.

The most stunning fact is, that given a couple weeks, either place could be up & running again.

That has remained a constant. I first "visited" the place in the mid 1960s, then late 1980s & lastly in the late 1990s.

OK now they have "visitor's centre" proper car parking etc etc...when I first visited the "guides" were former inmates.

When I last visited, my lasting memories where of laughing Germans posing in front of the Wall of Death & of very loud Americans & all the political wrangling between Catholic & Jew. Very sad.

Bring enough tissues


Birkenau


BirkEntrance.jpeg

map-birkenau.gif



From : http://remember.org/camps/birkenau/

see also : http://remember.org/jacobs/ just photographs...they say enough...even now
 
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