Krakow, Poland

>> Sunday, July 6, 2008

Djen Dobre,

In Visoce Tatry we decided to go for a hike despite the drizzle. Wouldn't you know that as soon as we started hiking the rain stopped the clouds parted, and we even got views of the mountains! It was exactly what we needed, some decent views and exercise. After we had some delicious Slovak food and beer we called it a night.

The next morning we caught a bus to the Slovak/Polish border. A big drunk guy spoke to me the entire hour about how Communism was the best system and how America is corrupting the world. He invited Chantelle and I to his private cabin in the woods but I politely declined.

After arriving at the border, we had to walk across to the Polish side which was chaos. The bus to take us to Zakopane was running and waiting for us, but we had no Polish zlotny. Chantelle ran into the line for money exchange while I stalled the driver. We luckily made it on and were on our way. When we were dropped off in Zakopane we were told that the next train to Krakow leaves at 12:15pm on platform 2. Of course at 12:10 we get on a train that says Krakow that is sitting on platform 2. Well, our Polish must have been off because at 12:15 another train departs and we are still sitting there. I asked a young polish guy and he says that that was the fast train that departed for Krakow from Platform 2 - the one that we were supposed to be on. The train we were sitting on was the slow 4 hour train ride from Platform 1 track 2. Ahhh! Then a really drunk bum started trying to talk to me and it was a comical conversation. "Deutch? No. Swedish? No. Spanish? No? Czech? No." I thought this was going to go on forever so we switched cars and started talking to a pretty cool Australian guy. The bum finally found us but the Aussie kept him busy by playing his guitar.

We finally arrived in Krakow and it was insanely busy. There is a Jewish festival here and it already attracts millions of visitors each year, so the main square made Venice's main square look small and quiet! We had some trouble finding a hostel since everything was booked, but we finally found one (and consequently lost the Aussie).

That night we went to dinner in a nightclub/bar and wander around until we got to the Jewish quarter. The whole area was alight with loud music and people dancing, the Jewish can really party! We had a few beers on an outdoor terrace and called it a night.

Today we wandered around and checked out the Wawa (pronounced Vava) castle. It holds a mighty cathedral and some pretty interesting ancient archetecture. It kind of reminded me of checking out the Roman ruins in Rome.

We then went a little out of the town and checked out the Salt mines. The mines are super huge, in fact we went down 130 meters to level 3 and there are actually 9 levels! The sculptures made out of salt (everything there is carved out of the salt) and are very impressive.

Tomorrow we are off to Auschwitz and are planning to spend one more day in Slovakia.

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