"krakow, unmissable" andrew2347's Profile

arrival, and first impressions

Its nice to fall in love again at my age, but truly did with this wonderful city. left home at 4 am 8/5/07,proceeded to Glasgow Prestwick, used carpark no 7, long term,, 22.50 pounds weekly, excellent service there and on our return.. Good flight arriving Krakow approx 11 am to be met by a Mercedes arranged by mail by Grodska apartments, cost 60 zl. The apartments were 40 metes from the central square, a truly wonderful location. excellent apartment albeit up 3 flights of stairs, not suitable for the elderly or infirm but they do have one flat on ground level, the company has apartments at two other central locations. We found the service excellent, the staff providing excellent info re restaurants and visits, all staff speaking excellent English. We found the town itself rich in architecture, art, and history, and buzzing. Everything is truly only a walk away, easily reachable for the not so young. We took advantage of the Schindler walking tour, Cool tours, leaving from in front of the small church on the main square ,.lasting approx 4 hours, was highly informative ,interesting,, and not to be missed, The guide was superb with a good insight into the history of the demise of the Jewish Quarter,, Definitely recommended .We ate out for every meal, and honestly never had a bad meal, just some better than others .As a history buff, interested in military history, having visited Germany over 20 years, visiting Gross Rosen kz,, Bergen-Belsen,, Dachau, Mittelbau Dora,, Buchenwald, i wanted to visit Auswitchz -Birkenau but purely from a more personal level. My aunt married a German Jew from Hamburg who fortunately was at university in England in 1933 when the actions against the Jewish race were initiated . His parents, recognising the wind of change, insisted he stay put, he was initially interned but subsequently joined the British army in the intelligence corps as an interpreter .My aunt was at this time also in the forces, they met, subsequently married. His parents, two sisters plus husbands and their children in total ,17 members ,including their extended family met their end at this infamous place. It still remains a mystery to me that a race that produced such as Beethoven, Bach, Goethe , Schiller, could stoop to such infamy. Suffice to say that it was a deeply moving experience.

our second visit, the love affair continues

Flew out from Edinburgh November 14, great flight,, arrived 11.30 am to be met by a rep from the Groszska apartments. arrived 30 mins later to enter the Yellow room apartment. lovely, clean ,Fully fitted kitchen. The temperature outside was minus 3 but i was able to walk about in the flat shirtless , Eat your heart out Stallone.The apartments are ideally situated about 30 metres from the central square, 24 hour security, out side courtyard door,key entry, guard in the office supervising. Opposite an atm. next door the cafe Zakopek, supplying breakfast at 12 zlts, comprising orange juice, mixed meats , cheeses, fresh bread.Next door left is a lovely wee pub, sign saying polish pub with tapas, opposite 4/5 restaurants from Greek to Polish traditional,further down Grodzska a myriad of restaurants some which i can personally recommend.Sebastion the owner/manager is extremely welcoming giving advice re restaurants and trips. speaks perfect English as do all the staff.That night we visited restaurant Gospoda U Zdzicha yes a mouthful, situated to the rear of the town hall tower, a quirky wee restaurant, the waitresses in traditional costume, the food divine. i cannot stress enough the danger of having a starter, i ordered kiska po zbojnic (black pudding) i do not kid u on ,it would have fed 3 people. my main meal off vienner schitzel, was only half eaten.my wifes consisted of a starter plus a chicken done in cheese, she loved it, in conjunction with 2 beers , two Comparis with orange juice, came to a total of 110.50 zl, at 25 pounds uk, a steal.On our last visit we visited Pod Sloncem , on the square, good food nice service,further down Grodzska Miod Malini, lovely restaurant with excellent service, opposite this time we visited Balaton, lovely food, the decor too bright , could do with toning down the lighting, more subdued woud have bin better, however ,lovely lovely food, excellent service.Ate there twice this visit.Example of the food.My main meal was trout with almonds,my wifes dish was chicken breast Hungarian style, the bill was 106 zlt, that included a bottle of red wine at 59 zlt,so by my reckoning the meal itself cost roughly 8 british pounds. it was a lovely lovely meal.Ate at the restaurant Gruskinskie Chaczapuri opposite our flat, basic polish food, a bottle of nice wine costing 49 zls plus the meal, in total, 81.90 zlts, Pod Aniolami also on grodzska was altogether a fine dining experience, excellent venue, excellent service, recommended.Did Chlopskie Jadlo, again basic good food meal plus coffee and beer costing 61 zlts, i should add at this juncture that my philosophy on food is, if i pay 3 pounds for a hamburger, all i expect is a 3 pound hamburger, alternately if i pay 50 pounds for a meal, i expect just that,On the Thursday night it snowed,, did it just, nearly 7 inches fell that day and overnight. i was concerned cos we had arranged to travel to Zakopane next day, on questioning the waitress on the advisability of travel she laughed and assured me that travel would not be a problem. At home , in Scotland,when snow falls, at least 3 inches. one is advised not to travel unless really necessary, we could learn a lot from Poland.We did Wavel castle that day, this time gaining entrance to the cathedral,, in May on a very hot day we were refused entrance cos my wifes shoulders were uncovered.so ladies take note, the architecture stunning, the private chapels works of art in themselves , however please note and admire the wrought iron gates to these chapels, masterpieces in them selves.

more plus zakopane

On the monday we visited the Commonwealth Cemetery, take tram no 2 , outside CK Brower,to its terminus, from there turn right approx 200 yards take a left down the first road. The cemetery lies approx 250 yards on the right.On entering walk straight on till the second opening on the left, walk to the very edge of this huge burial ground and you come acoss the small Commonweath cemetery..look out for the small portland stone cross,We payed our respects as we have done on the Somme, Verdun, Pilkem ridge, Vimy ridge, Passchendael, Langemarke, Ypres, and at Chancaniburi. the bridge over the River Kwai, .Tis still a very humbling experience to see the ages of these young men, Scots, Seaforth Highlanders, Black watch, English, army . airforce, South African, Kiwis, one Maori, one lonely Gurkha from the 8 th rifles, one lone Turk fighting in the Cyprus Brigade..A moving experience every time ....On friday headed for Zakopane,Arrived at the bus station. look for stance G4/G/5 Zakopane. the crowd was huge, it seemed that prebooked tickets were allowed on first, we scrambled next stance and got a bus with a seat,lovely journey thru snowscaped hills. arrived. From bus station turn right walk approx 14 mins to reach centre. our hotel , the Gromada was situated 30 mtrs from the main street, was basic but very clean, was cold on arrival, no tea or coffee making available, however the breakfast was 5 star,ater dining for ten mins on the superb buffet we were presented with a huge plate of freshly cooked scrambled eggs. The location was unbeatable. Went up the funicular railway, tho as we suspected couldnt see anything cos of freezing fog, still we did it. That night we ate in restaurant Karcma Zapiecek , one of our best meals on this trip,the restaurant small but delightful, the service impeccable, friendly,mountain music played,,menu chosen,,i bottle Syra Merlot 35zlts zaszlik barani, 20 zlt i filet 18zlt two french fries,12zlt 1 kapusta zazmazan 6.50,1 szarlotka+lody 6.50, i jonny walker whisky 9zlt,2 cherry vodka plus one small beer came to the grand total of127 zlt..at roughly 26 brit pounds one of the very best meals weve enjoyed all year. If i may be allowed a personal observation, we visited 3 venues where mountain music was played before deciding on this choice. i enjoyed the playing, but honestly find the irish folk music, and our own scottish highland music , much more musical and lyrical.However every man to his own. On the trip home got talking to 4 fellow scots,,next day met them in the cafe Zakotek, next door to our apartments, told us they were going home next day, the following night believe it or not we walked into the same pub they were in,. i remarked i thought you were going home, the reply, so did we, i was told that the airport was closed due to fog , has bin for the last two days.. oh dear i had to go tell my good lady that there may be a chance that we may not get home next day.Thankfully next day was clear sunny,our flight as normal.


. That night we decided to push the boat out a little and chose restaurant Farina, recommended on this site. the bill reads, stek z grilla times 2=92 zlts ,carafe of multipulciano red wine x 2=76zlts, creme brulee 17 zlts, tarta gruszka13 zlts, ziemniaki z pat, cant remember what this was, 5 zlts,, in total 210 zlts, Observation this was a lovely meal ,but what can go wrong with a rare steak, my impression is that it was not 4 times better that previous meals,so my advice is skip so called fine dining unless tis ur thing,The restaurant i find most difficult to review was Cechow on Jaggiellonska street,on entering ,the architecture and decor were absolutely stunning, 5 star dining at least i thought. The waiters/waitresses demeanour/ dress again 5 star/ the service however lets this establishment down, i find it mildly irritating when the staff remove starter dishes whilst my wife is still eating.Then ,when watching the next table, the wine was poured then removed to another table out of reach. This meant the waiter controlled when the wine was poured. I watched the waiters reaction when some youngsters had the temerity to fetch the bottle back to their control,,,,, not amused, Was it by controlling the rate of pour they hoped to sell more wine, who knows. This was the only things letting this superb restaurant down, the food was good tho not 5 star,and incredibly cheap,if i remember two starters plus two main meals plus two beers was bout 11 pounds, hell ida paid that just to sit in such glorious surroundings,Some observations on pubs,loved the Buddha bar tho dearer than most is still a gem, was not enamoured with the Irish arms, a bit dingy we thought, Irish embassy bar excellent for sports, We watched Scotland get beat by Italy, we shared a table with an italian, such is life.We did shake hands.One of our favourites was the Tram bar just down from the irish embassy bar, cheap cocktails, but on our second visit were informed they had no ice, a cocktail bar with no ice, i ask u,My absolute favourite was the Showtime bar, what a stunning band,in my opinion was the best venue in town.its located directly opposite the large head statue in the main square.In the same alley is a small downstairs bar recently opened called the Big Bull bar, quirky but nice. another favourite i must admit, was the the Bull, the english bar, 50 yards past st marys church.on the left.Lastly the polish bar with tapas on the left 40 yards to the left down Grodzska is worth a visit.I hope this account has assisted, ps to those who wonder about safety, krakow is one of the most heavily policed city i have ever come across, patrolling the old town all night, we felt extremely safe.

our third visit

Returned from Krakow friday past after 4 days stay, My third visit so far. This time we took our daughter and husband for their first visit.Flew from Edinburgh sept 1 , excellent flight 2 hrs 15 mins,Met yet again by a rep from Grodzska apartments.Airconditioned 6 seater which was a blessing with the heat. Arrived to find we had adjacent apartments us in the RED, daughter and hubby in the SKY, both fully fitted ,ours sleeping 2 theirs 4.connected via an internal door. As always superbly decorated, each with own cooker, fridge, hairdryer, iron, tv, fitted bathroom with fluffy towels, queen size bed in both, the SKy having an additional pull down sofa.Sebastian and staff extremely helpful, all speaking excellent english. the apartments located 40 yards from main square, excellent location.Some observations,,,,,, as in most major cities tis more expensive drinking/eating in the old town area, especially the main square, We were charged between 8/11.5 zls there, yet a 3 min walk down grodzska we could drink for 5.5/6. Be advised that some pubs and restaurants charge for use of toilets, i zlt, as does C K Browars one of our fav pubs. please note that in some place the toilets are marked O for the ladies V for the guys.Ladies be advised that attempting to enter the cathedral with uncovered shoulders will guarantee refused entry,Be careful if ordering a campari and fresh orange in the town hall outside bar It arrived in separate glasses and cost 28 zts, I think the young lady wasnt aware that it was a mixed drink , tho we had no problems in other locations,The Buhhda Bar was still our favourite for a nghtcap, yes tis more expensive but with such a courtyard location, who cared.Be advised, if one wants to really enjoy a meal, DONT get a starter, their huge.Again i made this mistake on our first night in the SPHINX restaurant, on the square.impossible to finish. we ate in different places, but our last night was in MIOD MALINA, down GrodzSKa, absolutely wonderful meal.After reading reviews on here re Auschwitz visits I contacted BOBS TAXIS http://www.bobtaxi.com.pl/It was the very best decision i ever made, BOB met us as arranged at the appointed time, Beautiful 6 seated air conditioned taxi. On route to the memorial showed us an hours DDV of the official russian photographers entry in liberating the camp. Pointed out varies places not previously seen with an official guide, This time we elected to not hire an official guide but do the tour ourselves via the guide book,i see some changes however, there is now an audio link to the guides whereas last time one had to strain to hear Be advised there is a no smoking policy in the whole memorial site, strictly enforced.After two hours slowly perusing the material on show we met bob outside Auschwitz who transported us to Birkinau. on the was diverting to show us the railway sidings with an orginal carriage where the poor victims had to carry casses to the camp approx i kilometre away. In BIrkinau BOb advised us to visit an area not previously see with an oficial guide, If one looks at the birkinau map. on the top right hand corner one shall see Showers, this is now a museum showing the process off arrival, disrobing, disenfection,extermination ,in graphic form. On our previous visit we were not made aware of the area by our guide,, One can never enjoy a visit to such a terrible place,indeed sitting down reflecting in glorious sunshine was in itself no reflection on the cold, terror those poor people must have felt. I exited the place humbled by their suffering ,fortitude.I must say BOBS anecdotes, cheerful manner on our return journey brought us somewhat back to reality.i would highly recommend this taxi service to any T A Reader.I know this is long but hope it provides some insight and is of assistance to future visitors, I wish to thank all responders to my questions prior to arrival, greetings from Scotland.

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  • Intro Updated Sep 9, 2008
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Comments (2)

  • ranger49's Profile Photo
    Nov 23, 2007 at 2:18 AM

    Fascinating and info. packed account - makes me want to go! Found apts. via previous Forum postings. some may not think of looking - it's a great TIP why not write it up? Thanks for the insights.

  • bankowskiboy's Profile Photo
    Sep 3, 2007 at 9:34 AM

    great page andrew, and good to know the grodzka apts are ok, booked 6 apts for october.

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