Into Eastern Europe for the first time in 25 odd years.
Monday 16 May 2011 - Friday 20 May 2011
Monday 16 & Tuesday 17 May - Two long days of travel from Split to Krakow.
Firstly, Split to Zagreb on a modern train. Took about 6 hours and was quite comfortable. The countryside is mountainous with rocky fields and small villages. Secondly, Zagreb to Vienna. We crossed into Hungary a couple of hours out and had to pass through European customs and immigration as Croatia is not part of the EU or the Schengen arrangements. Hungary is flat. We arrived in Vienna at about 11:00 pm.
The Wombat Hostel is very modern but like most hostels is spoilt by snorers! People coming back into the room at 4:00 am and then snoring loudly enough to wake half of Austria is not good. Left the hostel at stupid o'clock to get to the train station (and McDonald's for brekkie) to catch my 7:30 am train to Katowice (then change to Krakow).
The train to Katowice was a modern Polish train, not as flash as the German trains, but still comfortable enough. We passed through the Czech Republic and then into Poland with no border formalities at either crossing. We arrived on time into Katowice and changed to a small clunker that stopped at every station on its way to Krakow.
Wednesday 18 May - A long day walking around the Old Town and Wawel Castle. Krakow survived the war relatively intact, making the Old Town the original old town. The main market square is one of the largest in Europe and is dominated by the Cloth Hall, restaurants and the St Mary's Church.
The Rynek Główny (main market square).
The Cloth Hall in Rynek Główny.
A calesh in Rynek Główny.
The Cloth Hall in Rynek Główny.
St Mary's Church, Rynek Główny.
Inside the Cloth Hall.
The Rynek Główny
One of the many buildings in the old town.
A memorial to the Katyn Forest victims.
Peter's & Paul's Church.
Thursday 19 May - A wander around the Kazimierz district. This was the main Jewish area before the war. Some of the synagogues have survived and are stilled used by the tiny Jewish community remaining in the city. The area also has a large number of bars and restaurants.
One of the few remaining Jewish buildings in the city.
The Old Synagogue in Kazimierz.
The Temple Synagogue in Kazimierz district.
I wandered back into town in the evening to get some night shots of the Old Town and Wawel Castle.
Sunset at Rynek Główny.
The Cloth Hall in the Rynek Główny.
A flower stall in the Rynek Główny.
Friday 20 May - A lazy morning with a visit to the factory owned by Oskar Schindler (of Schindler's List fame). The factory has been redeveloped into a superb museum showing the occupation of Krakow by the Germans and the fate of the Jewish population. The factory is in the Podgórze area along with the ghetto into which the Jews were herded before being deported to the camps.
Oskar Schindler's factory at Lipowa 4.
Krakow is a great place and is historically and culturally very interesting.
Hostel review: The Goodbye Lenin Hostel is a pretty good place. The rooms are clean and tidy and the facilities very good. The location is very central with it being between the old town and Kazimierz.