Last April my partner, our two friends, and I, all went on a trip together to Krakow, Poland. Both in the city and surrounding area, is so much history. For starters, the old town of Krakow is a medieval city that used to be completely surrounded by a fortress wall. In the centre is the Wawel Castle, which houses a legendary dragon. As well as medieval lore, Krakow is also home to the horrifying history of WWII and the Holocaust, with the Auschwitz Camp not far from the main city. My friends and I did two free walking tours of Krakow, one of the old town and one of the Jewish quarter and old Jewish ghetto (both were put on by the “Free Walkative Tours” – the guys with the yellow umbrellas). The tour of the old town took us through the main square, Sukiennice market and Jagiellonian University (one of the oldest universities in the world). The Jewish quarter tour told the history of the Jewish ghetto in Krakow and took us to the Ghetto Monument, which is represented by a large square filled with empty chairs. This tour also ended at the Schindler Factory, where my friends and I decided to go ourselves. It was a really beautiful museum, but we were all surprised that it didn’t have much to do with Mr. Schindler at all. On our trip, we also went to see the Wieliczka Salt Mine, which was quite spectacular. It’s one of the largest working salt mines in the world, with a ballroom entirely carved out of salt!
Of course, I need to talk about my favourite part of traveling: the food. If you’re every in Poland, you NEED to eat pierogi. They’re a Polish/Ukrainian dumpling filled with either potatoes and cheese, spinach and feta, mushrooms, cabbage or desert fillings like berries or sweet cheese. My family is Polish so I really can’t get enough of pierogi. The best pierogi place in the city is this tiny restaurant called Przypiecek. They didn’t even have a washroom, but oh my, did we eat a lot of pierogi. (But if you never make it to Poland…there is a great pierogi spot near Mariahilferstraße called Pierogi Bitte).