I had wanted to visit Poland for some time, mainly due to the fact I had studied the Holocaust at GCSE History and the atrocities at Auschwitz; I felt I needed to visit the scene of so many crimes instead of just reading about it in books.
We had lovely days of sunshine throughout our visit to Poland, however on the day of our trip out to Auschwitz we had snow. This, along with the drop in temperature only added to the ambiance and the sheer disbelief that these crimes were ever committed.
The tour is a very harrowing and chilling experience but nothing can prepare you for the distressing collection of hair, shoes and possessions that were taken from the Jews.
Most of the day is spent walking around both concentration camps so by the end we were feeling quite emotionally drained. It’s an important piece of history to see and hopefully learn from.
We were driven back to the city centre later that afternoon just in time for dinner and in the hope some food could lift our spirits.
And what better way to blur the last couple of hours for the evening than with a giant glass of beer!
The food at this restaurant was a little less refined compared to the previous couple of evenings. It was, however, still a bargain and enormous portion sizes.
After a heavy day and a big dinner, we had an early night in preparation for another day trip out of the city.
The next morning the sun was back out and we were off on a trip to the Salt Mines. Before grabbing our ride, I bought one of the twisted breaded rolls from one of the stands you see dotted around the city. Not entirely needed after my large plate of meat the night before and breakfast in the morning at the hotel, but all part of the experience I say!
The Salt Mines are an incredible network of tunnels and rooms hundreds of metres below the ground. At one point, salt was far more valuable than gold so these mines were practically hidden treasure.
Our tour started with a long staircase that spiralled all the way to the bottom.
There are areas where statues have been made of salt but more impressive were the rooms; these grand pieces of architecture where everything has been carved out of salt including the wall engravings and the flooring.
When you return to ground level it’s hard to believe the craftsmanship that is situated below your feet.
The tour didn’t last all day so we were driven back to the city centre, where we enjoyed a walk to the river and some soaking up of the sunshine.
It was our last evening in Krakow so we freshened up back at the hotel and headed straight back out in search of dinner.
We found a lovely restaurant along the main strip and got seated straight away. James ordered up a warming beer, like mulled wine, but beer.. and I went for a mojito.
The food was faultless, in fact my salmon with the creamy sauce was probably the best salmon dish I’ve ever had. Pure winner.
After dinner, we went along to a small cocktail bar that had some unique flavoured concoctions. So many in fact, that we couldn’t stop ordering them!
With perhaps some cocktail regrets in the morning, we managed to find our way back to the hotel with some new ideas for cocktail experiments at home.
The following morning it was time to pack up our things and head home. I cannot recommend Krakow enough, I am now keen to visit some more Polish cities to see if they offer the same exceptional food, hospitality and pretty architecture.