Monday, 2 November 2015

The Craic In Krakow!

On Thursday the 15th of October I travelled to Dublin to catch a flight to Kraków in Poland. It was my first time going to Kraków, so I was very excited to be going there along with some of my friends! It was quite a long journey; we were travelling from 11.30am and didn't reach the hotel in Krakow until about 10 pm that night (although that includes travelling to Dublin and time hanging around the airport). 

Our first day was spent having a guided tour of the city of Kraków - on foot - visiting the palace as well as many other landmarks. The palace was very pretty and my friends and I spent a lot of time admiring it! Then we walked to Schindler's factory and had a guided tour of it. My feet were very sore by the end of it. The factory was very interesting and we learnt a lot about World War II.

After Schindler's factory, we made our way to the town square to do a little bit of shopping! In the town square there was a market with lots of different stalls, selling souvenirs, jewellery, and many other bits and bobs! I bought a few souvenirs for myself and also some pressies for my family from the market. 

It was an early night on Friday night because we had to be up and ready for 6 o'clock the next morning to travel to Auschwitz concentration camp. We had a guided tour around the concentration camp who showed us around some of the barracks which have been converted into museums. It was a shocking experience. Pictures, statistics and possessions of the camp prisoners could be seen everywhere. For me, the most shocking and unsettling part of Auschwitz were the glass cases that were filled with just a portion of the shoes, suitcases and human hair of the millions of innocent people who were killed at the concentration camp. Our tour guide also showed us around one of the barracks that is still in its original state. 

Our guide then gave us a tour of Birkenau. The sheer size of Birkenau was one of the most shocking things about the camp. One thing that we found incredible was the fact that although Birkenau is a massive piece of open land surrounded by many trees there was so sign of any wildlife; you couldn't even hear any birds singing. My friends and I said it's as if they knew something horrible happened at the site. 

Although Auschwitz was a very emotional, unsettling place, I would recommend that you visit it if you ever find yourself in Poland. It's an extremely eyeopening experience that truly shows the extent of such a horrific historical event. 

After Auschwitz, we needed something a bit more easy going, so it was time for some retail therapy. The shopping mall was huge! It had so many shops, but unfortunately we didn't have time to go to them all. We did, however, make time to go to Sephora as there are no Sephora shops in the UK. There were so many lovely makeup items that I wanted to buy, but I settled for only buying the Benefit Roller Lash Mascara which I've wanted for AGES! I also went to a little accessory shop where I bought a cute little gold necklace with a feather charm.

Later that night we headed back to the town square for our last night in the city. We went to a restaurant for some traditional Polish food (which was really yummy!) and some traditional Polish entertainment. We were treated to some traditional Polish songs and dances, they even pulled some people up to dance with them, including a few of my friends, which was quite funny. Then we wandered around the square for a little bit, taking some pictures of it lit up at night.

Our last day in Kraków was spent at the salt mines. It was really interesting to see and to hear about. There were some amazing statues made entirely from the salt rock. Inside the salt mine there's even a Chapel that people attend and some even get married in the salt mines! After a quick stop at the souvenir shop, we once again headed back to the shopping mall to get in some last minute shopping before our flight.

I had an incredible time in Kraków and it was such a beautiful city! I would definitely recommend going to Kraków if you've never been before!

Sarah-Michelle x


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