Arrival in Kraków

Arriving to Krakow was quite stressful, as I had to get to the rental car place as well as get checked into my airbnb  at the same time and it was pushing towards midnight. Luckily with my planning, I had the car rental set up next to the station, and the airbnb on the other side of the station. Amazingly, despite my 20 minute tardiness in my flight arriving, I hauled it down to the central station. I made my way to the car rental place, and amazingly the guy was there to meet me. However, it was literally like feeling my way through a maze with no hints. I walked up to the address, found the label to their office, rang the bell, and the door was buzzed opened. I walked into a dark foyer, with no lights or anything. And I fumbled my way around to a stairwell, tried to start going up the stairs yelling hello! Hello!, to no response. Finally someone said hello, and I’m thinking, what in the world did they think I was doing in the pitch black foyer all this time. So I continued going up the stairs with all my baggage with me. Made it to the top, and checked in with the kid who had been sent to give me my car.

After checking out the car, I rushed through everything and pointed out some scratches, but highlighted the fact that it’s dark out, and how can I really give a good review of the car. Luckily, we marked some things off, and I felt like it would be fine. So I got in my little stick shift car, and drove 3 minutes to the other side of the station to where my Airbnb was. Amazingly I found a parking space, parked, and got ready to go in to the apt.

Yet again, amazingly, the people were there waiting for me and buzzed me in. Again, I had to lug all my bags up to the 4th floor (like in Berlin), and I was welcomed by a mother and daughter who showed me around her childhood flat. It was typically polish (soviet like), but about 50x bigger than I thought it was going to be. It was really great. It had huge high ceilings, a huge kitchen, and a big bedroom/living area, plus bathroom. I asked some questions, and then got the keys, and they left me behind to take a shower, get ready for bed, and prepare myself for a tiring day the next day for Auschwitz.

See my Auschwitz Day here.

The next morning, despite my running nose, I went to meet Louise, a fellow globetrotter that I had been put in touch with by someone I’d met in Thailand. We met to go to the underground museum which showed the archeological dig of the market square below the square of today. It was cool to see all the excavation and see literally layers of civilization that you could see from split views of the cobbled roads on top of sediment and cultural layers.

The next day, I did not feel well today, but felt like I needed to get out for a bit. I slept a little better that night, but still felt drained from sinus trouble. I decided to go to Wawel Castle and do a tour. After making my way down to the castle, I waited in line for almost 45 minutes. Finally at the ticket window, you can see how many tickets are still available. For the Palace Apartments, 1 ticket left, and for the state rooms, several hundred. I’d read that these were the two that were suggested, so I was hopeful in snagging that one.

When I asked for the ticket, the old woman in a very thick accent said only polish. And I said, there’s only Polish tours left? And she yelled back saying ONLY POLISH LEFT. I then said, I just waited in line for 45 minutes and there could be someone to tell us that there are no English tours left for the day. I’d like to buy a ticket for tomorrow then. She yelled again at me saying that I couldn’t buy tickets for tomorrow, so I yelled back and said OK THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!!! So loudly, that everyone in the room looked and smiled, because everyone was pissed at how the running of these tickets was going. It was terribly disorganized, and every single thing is separate. So you could literally buy 13 tickets to see 13 different things in the castle. It was silly. After I yelled back, she got on the phone, and I was thinking she might be calling security, but she magically got me on the next English tour in just 20 minutes. So it seems it pays for standing up for yourself, and not enduring abuse J

Off I went to the State Room Tour. I wish I had better news about the tour, that it was so worth while, but it was probably the least interesting thing I’ve paid to go see. You went through rooms in this castle that have been redecorated with items from Italy and England during the 16th/17th centuries, that didn’t even exist in the castle because it had burned down. So only some fire places and flooring on the first floor were original—definitely not worth a tour, and found it actually quite boring and not engaging at all. I continued to the Royal Apartments, and it was the same. So after a couple of hours of touring the castle, I left feeling disappointed of what was inside this great castle, to learn that it was simply museum-esque, with things that didn’t even exist in the castle from its original state.

I then went home to rest and take the day to get better.

My last day in Krakow was spent making sure I rested and got better from my sinus trouble. I went into the old city for breakfast and found a milkbar, which is a typical Polish restaurant for apparently all statuses of people (as described by our tour guide earlier in the week). It was a cute little restaurant that had a lot of options for breakfast. I ordered some eggs and then a pancake. While I sat and waited, a couple that sat next to me were talking to the waitress, and I heard the word Texas. Then I looked at the guy’s t shirt, and he had a Mellow Johnnies t shirt on—an Austin original shop from our ‘beloved’ Lance Armstrong.

I asked if they were from Austin, and originally, yes, but now living in Luxembourg. We spoke for a while about their time in Austin, Luxembourg, why they’re in Poland (a wedding, and his girlfriend is Polish), and the upcoming election and views from outside the US on what’s going on.

They left, and I continued eating my breakfast which was very satisfying. However, at the end of the eggs and toast, I wasn’t too interested in starting a pancake, which they apparently saved for after me finishing. It finally got prepared and instead of a pancake, it was a crepe. I had it with strawberry jam, but would have preferred Nutella had I known it wasn’t a true pancake.

I spent the rest of the day just doing some last minute sightseeing in the city, then went to the mall again for any last minute things, then headed back to the apartment to rest. For dinner, I went to a different restaurant instead of my original plan of my pork rib night which had been so amazing, thinking it would be good to change it up. While it wasn’t bad, it wasn’t amazing as my first dinner here. Plus, it wasn’t even what I ordered. I ordered a shrimp salad with avocado and greens, and got a shrimp pasta dish with tomato sauce and no vegetables.

I spent the evening packing and cleaning up the apartment to get ready for my trip to Warsaw the next morning.

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