We reach the last country of our road-trip by country roads. Yes, all 250 miles! As you gathered from previous posts, I wasn’t a fan of the motorways, so I’m trying to use the ‘oh but we can see the country from all different perspective’ approach and about 8 hours later we are crossing my homeland border. Yay! We stop at Bielsko- Biala first, about 2am – and I’m being told my mum called like 5 times already… Good to be back 🙂
Krakow is one of my favourite places in the world. I’m not saying that because I’m from Poland (Katowice to be precised, just next door) but because is one of the oldest and most significant towns in Poland and simply it is an absolutely stunning city. A UNESCO Site, Krakow’s heritage as a major city throughout the history of Europe has given it a clear identity, and you feel as soon as you step on the cobbled streets. The gorgeous Old Town Main Square is booming with bohemian cafes, shops, restaurants and street food ( yes! polish sausages- Kiełbasa, sauerkraut – Kapusta or fried dumplings- Pierogi).
You will love Wawel (a gorgeous castle – make sure you will learn about the legend of the Wawel’s dragon), the St.Mary’s Basilica next to Barbican, or Jewish Centre. If you have time, most definitely visit Auschwitz (just outside the city) or Wieliczka Salt Mine too.
Simply just walking around and absorbing the city or taking a horse-drawn carriage and spotting all the historic sites and culture is a perfect introduction to the city. We are doing it a proper Polish way by sampling some yummy Polish cherry liquour (30%) Wiśniówka and eating eating eating. And soon after Adam learns that eating amazing food is simply THE THING we do over here.
We spend a few great days in Krakow (also celebrating Adam’s Birthday) and take a train to Katowice (my hometown) to see my parents. Then the eating continues – my mum is well prepared to greet us :-)…
We arrive at Krakow airport and handover the car to my step-dad, Alan, and his friend Andy, as they prepare for their own road-trip back to the UK.
Krakow is beautiful, just beautiful. For some reason (I was explaining to Mira) I’m a big fan of city trams, it kind of adds something for me – and Krakow has them. But obviously it’s not the trams that make this city; it’s bustling, bohemian, simply breathtaking. As Mira said, our hotel is right on Ulica Grodzka in the city centre. Very quiet in our huge room, but lively when we go out onto the cobbled street. The buildings here are gorgeous, with french and jewish influences all around. I love it!
We try the restaurant food and the street food. OMG! I’m not exaggerating, simply some of the best food in Europe.
We get to mama and tata’s in Katowice, and we’re greeted with more incredible food – and I’m greeted with a big warm hug and kiss on the cheek. Mira has told me about Polish hospitality, and her mum is a legend, ensuring that I remain as close to bursting point as possible, and topped up with coffee, juice, beer on a regular basis. In short, I’m spoiled.
I’m shown the customary childhood photos of Mira, much to her embarrassment, and fed more and more food whilst Danuta, and Henryk provide the anecdotal entertainment.
By the time we catch the train to Warsaw – with kotlet for the journey provided by Danuta – I feel like I’m leaving old friends, and I can’t help but wish we had longer.
The last two weeks have been crazy, we’ve seen so much and I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet. But there’s no time to think about it because passport in one hand, kotlet in the other, we’re off to Beijing…