Poland is a country which I have been dying to visit for a while now and I managed to convince my best friend Victoria to come with me to explore Krakow as we found cheap flights from Stansted which I was super excited about as Krakow was one of the top countries on my bucket list. We were flying with Ryanair which was fine, I have no issue with Ryanair it is cheap so allows me to travel on my budget.
Victoria is a friend which I haven't travelled with before and knew she would not be okay with staying in a hostel unless it was a private dorm but upon review, they just didn't seem the price of what you'd be paying for them so we looked on Booking(.)com and we found the most perfect private apartment which worked out to be an absolute steal as was less than ten minute from the old town which we fell in love with, it also gave us the option of an airport transfer to our hostel which we opted for and booked our taxi back to the airport with them as well as our flight home was at stupid o'clock in the morning. The apartment was to die for and would 100% stay there again and truly felt like home, although there were a few issues with the water being turned off this was being turned off this was nothing to do with us or the company who we booked it with it was an issue throughout the building. The apartment was a studio with a double bed which was fine as we didn't mind sharing a bed. Staying just outside of the old town is something which I would recommend to anyone as it was so beautiful it was like stepping back in time, which I guess is the point of an old town but this was something different it was chaotic but calm at the same time it was surreal that is the only I can describe it. I loved exploring the old town and it was like stepping back in time to what it must have really been like to live in Krakow when it was the capital of Poland.
The main place we ate in Krakow at the Hardrock cafe as the prices were amazing for what you get! Although the Hardrock was small compared to others it was perfect for what we needed, and the view over market square was gorgeous and would 100% recommend going at sunset as every night we were in Poland the sunset was out of this world. One thing which I was unimpressed within Poland was the cheapest and fastest food, Mcdonalds as we needed a quick lunch before heading to out of the town to visit the Auschwitz concentration camp which is something which I will go into more detail on another blog post in the near future as it is a heartbreaking piece of history which happened and the sheer scale of what happened cannot truly be imagined until you're there.
One of the highlights of our time in Krakow was yet another amazing free walking tour which started at Market Square and finished up at the castle and allowed us to learn all about Krakow's history, both ancient and recent. The view from the castle is amazing and we had a gorgeous lunch at the top of a castle which was a reasonable price which we were shocked at as it was such a tourist spot and the view was to die for! I loved every minute of my time in Krakow and am dying to go back for a much longer trip and visit the salt mines and see where they filmed Schindler's list and more of the Jewish Quarter as we only really passed through and we spoke about returning and doing a walking tour of the Jewish quarter as we felt lost there, as well as visit other parts of Poland such as Warsaw and Gdansk and would rate Krakow as a 10/10 and it is a must on any trip around Europe even if you just go to visit Auschwitz it is a must as this part of history is so well taught in school but you don't understand the sheer scale of what actually happened until you're there.
I asked my best friend Victoria her opinion on travelling and if she had any tips for travelling as a non-traveller, which may help if you are uncertain about travelling
Travelling the world has always been something my friends have wanted to do for a long time and something they work amazingly hard for. For me, a self-confessed “home bird”, jetting off for a year around the world seems amazing but something which scares me. That being said, my best friend came back into my life a few years ago and has opened my eyes to the world of travel. I can’t say I’ll pack up my life and work to backpack around the world any time soon, but seeing different countries and exploring is now less scary, more exciting and something that I want to do more of.
In September I travelled to Krakow with my best friend for what was a truly great few days away. I wasn’t sure what to expect, I’ve never been to Poland but it’s history, architecture and culture seemed something definitely worth exploring. My love of meticulous planning and having some sense of control would definitely not help while I was away, so I have some top tips for non-travellers going to a new place:
1)Scrap the planning and itineraries -we only planned to do one thing on one of the days. The rest of the time it was impromptu exploring of the city, free walking tours and much more. This made it much more relaxing, exciting -also tiring but I wouldn’t change a thing.
2) If hostels aren’t your thing, then there are other options - there is something for everyone, whether hostels are your thing or not.
3) Don’t be afraid to chat to new people - whether you have a chat with someone on a free walking tour or someone staying in the same place as you, ask questions about the city, get to know the place while you’re there.
4) Have fun and enjoy being in a new part of the world for however long your there for, whether it’s two days, two weeks or two months. Ashleigh xx Here is a discount code, to give you £25 off your first trip over £55. www.airbnb.co.uk/c/ashleighh1808