Day Two in Krakow
Day 2 was dedicated to Krakow History. It began with packing bags as we were moving to our next destination that night, but had a trip planned to Auschwitz before that. So, we packed in a way that if we are late, there is no panic. All packed and set for the day trip, we decided to have a quick breakfast before the trip beginning at 9am. We had an interesting breakfast at Fitagain Café near our apartment. – healthy and Tasty – black coffee and a sweet spinach biscotti dessert. Very interesting recipe – crunchy and healthy.
At 9 am, we started our trip to Auschwitz with Pawel as our guide and the car was Ford galaxy. It was quite a comfortable car. Right before the trip, we were a little stressed as we hadn’t heard from driver by 9. On calling the booking agent, we were informed that the driver has reached but will not call and he will wait for 15-20 minutes and then leave. That was another learning, so we finished the breakfast and came out to find the car standing there.
Pawel turned out to be a nice guy to chat with, a young chap who liked speed and travel. He told us that he had driven actors for two Indian movies- kick and Azam. But didn’t pick up any Hindi language as he found it difficult. He had visited Aushwitz only once till then as it made him sad. He showed us the building on the way like the castle and monastery. The monastery seemed interesting. It seemed like a serene place with no sounds and while paint on the building.
Pawel ensured a comfortable and convenient drive. We were soon to learn more about a very chapter of Krakow History. He led us to the museum and left us with the English guide. Our guide was quite articulate and emotive.
As we were taking the tour, we saw lot of students who seemed to be sitting mourning the past. Being in the area and just hearing about atrocities from her was moving enough to give us goose bumps.
We finished the tour before expected and still had time left to go back, so we asked Pawel if we could also go to Salt Mines, another important chapetr of Krakow History. . He agreed to change the original plan and took us to salt mines. Though he charged us more than we would have paid had we taken the package but still we agreed as coming back for Salt Mines would cost us way more any day.
Except charging much extra, he was a nice guy. He stopped on the way to ensure my friend gets something vegan to eat good. He went out of his way to find food for her. In return, my friend bought him sa big chocolate, and kept offering food though out the route.
At the Salt mines, we went down almost 260 metres below ground level, and loved it. Its designed very artistically and intelligently.
Our tour guide was a very strict woman like a school principal and reprimanded people who would lag behind, but she had a very laid-back way of talking.
So many sculptures were there but the most adventurous part was coming up back by lift. It felt like coming out of a never-ending trap. Long walk through dungeon areas, waiting in wooden barracks, stern looking officers, language problem and then jail cell type lift.
Back from Krakow History
Our Tour guide and driver for the day, Pawel, dropped us back at the apartment after Salt Mines Tour. While making the payment at the end of the tour, we decided to get rid of all our Polish currency, but we were a little short of total amount, so we paid the balance in Euros. And that’s when he charged us a high conversion rate saying that it’s the norm in Krakow. Though we were a little surprised, but since it had been a good trip, we let go of that and didn’t want this to become the spoiler.
We were quite famished by the time we came back and Fitagain Café was right there. After the morning experience, we didn’t mind going back. So, we went once again to Fitagain. While having our food, we met a traveller from Bangladesh. He was a businessman who dealt in export-import of tobacco and frequently travelled to India. He was also visiting Krakow for a longer period because he felt that a place cannot be seen properly/ explored in 2 days. That’s more like taking selfies everywhere.
In the meanwhile, our two other friends too joined us. They had walked down to the Jewish quarters and other market areas that we had seen the day before. After finishing the food, all four of us came back to the apartment. I had fallen in love with this well maintained quaint one-room kitchen apartment right in the centre of the old town. If I had a choice, I would have stayed back a few more days just for the vibe of the place. but that’s wasn’t happening as we had a night bus to Prague.
The Last Supper in Krakow
My soup, when it came was spilt in the saucer and cold. I didn’t expect this kind of service. So, asked them for a replacement. Wonder, why it was served in first place – did they think that we won’t say anything being brown skin tourists.
After dinner, we had yet another round of icecreams. We went to the same icecream parlour as last night and ordered new flavours. I think Europe and icecreams were becoming synonymous, but we didn’t know the best was yet to come in Prague.
Its Time… for Next Location
We walked around a bit then came up as it was time to leave. And then finally, we walked away from Krakow towards the pick-up point, some 300-400 meters away. As soon as the cab arrived we realised its boot space wasn’t as big as we had gotten used to. Only two bags could be fitted into that. Two bags were in our laps as we drove towards the bus station for 11.15 pm bus to Prague. The girl who was the thinnest felt squashed with the weight of bag on her.
The conductor of the bus was a little weird. He first asked all passengers to put in the bags at the spaces designated by him and then removed all bags and put them back.
But we didn’t want this to be the spoiler for the wonderful host that Krakow had been to us. So we drove to Prague with good memories from Krakow History and were looking forward to more such memories.