Thursday, October 11, 2012

Krakow, a Hidden Gem


I waited for Aleksandra at the train station to pick me up and she finally arrived and apologized a bunch for being late but it really wasn't a problem. After all, I was late too. We walked back to her place with her friend and had some tea. They also showed me what I should see in the city while I was there and got me a map of the city.

After some food, Aleksandra had to stay in and finish sewing a dress so her friend and I went into the city alone. We began by walking through the old town, main square, castle and the old Jewish quarters, I even saw the dragon of Krakow but since it was dark I couldn't take too many pictures.

I exchanged some money to get PLN for my euros in a small shop and of course exchanging money on the street, you always get slightly ripped off. As we were walking into the city we were stopped by a pub and a guy yelled out "CouchSurfers?" and invited us to a party with surfers from the city.

At first we didn't want to go so we said that we would come back with no real intention of coming back, but then we had time before my last bus of the night so we went in and met some cool people from around the world. Finally, it was getting late so the girls took me back to the bus stop and I went back to Aleksandra's flat.

She had a friend over so we all talked a bit on the way back from the bus stop and when we were back we had tea with her roommates who wanted to practice their German with me. We all talked for about an hour and before I knew it it was 1 AM and I needed to sleep, I showered and went to bed in a sleeping bag on an air mattress.


I woke up at 6:30 AM and got ready for the day. Sadly, the air mattress had a small hole and a slow leak in it so I woke up on the floor. I got up and had breakfast with Aleksandra and one of her roommates  but since she didn't have a key to give me I had to leave with them at 7:15 AM. We got on a bus and I went into the city while she went to class.

I stopped in the main square and then went up to the castle but of course nothing was open yet so I wound up just walking... A lot.

Finally around 11 AM, I went back to the main square and I went into St. Mary's church and when I came out there was a group of people gathering for a free walking tour. I joined in and went on my way with them for about three hours around the old town and surrounding area. On the trip I met some women from LA and we decided to eat lunch together and go on another walking tour in the afternoon of the old Jewish Ghetto.

We walked to the Jewish district and had lunch at a famous hotel in the area. I wanted to have spinach perogies but they were out so I had Russian perogies instead, they're filled with white cheese and potatoes.

When we were finished we met with another tour group to see the Jewish quarters and the tour ended in front of the Schindler's Factory Museum. I had the chance to go in but I had to buy the ticket and pay for the tour with free walking tours and I was super tired from a whole day of walking to I walked back to town with some cute Australian guys.

On the way home I stopped in a McDonald's to use Internet but my host from Warsaw was sick and contagious and could only "maybe" host me. I posted a last minute couch request to find something but I never got a response that was close enough to the town to help. I had a few offers from people about 20 minutes outside the city, but since I only had one night I wanted to be closer to the center.

Aleksandra was amazingly helpful and she helped me find a train at 8:08 AM so I would arrive in Warsaw at 11:30 AM and she tried to help me find a host, but we just couldn't.

Aleksandra said she would take me to the train station in the morning to sort things out and send me on my way and she helped me find a hostel for Warsaw if I need it (but I didn't) I went to bed early, and by early I mean 11:30 PM.


I got up at 6:45 AM and got ready to go and woke Aleksandra. We had breakfast and we used her neighbor's internet to see if I had any responses to my last minute request.

I bought a train ticket with Aleksandra's help though since I didn't have a Polish student ID I didn't get a discount on the ticket. I boarded the train to go to Warsaw central station just hoping things would work out in my favor.

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