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First Time to Krakow

30 Oct 2006 /  #1
Hello everyone,
I am travelling to Krakow with the intention of going to Auschwitz - Birkenau, hopefully on the 15th January 2007 and staying until the 19th. This will be my first time in Poland and really I am a little worried and nervous because I am travelling a lone. It is really a daunting thought going to a strange new country on your own and not knowing anyone but I have promised myself this trip now for 3 years and I'm finally going to do it. I cannot speak Polish so that maybe a downfall so I am hoping that I can meet some people who are english at least. Maybe you guys can tell me if there is any place where the English or American guys frequent so I can meet some friends to make my stay in Krakow a little less nerve racking.

Thanks for reading this.

30 Oct 2006 /  #2
I wouldn't be worried too much - Poland is a nice country with friendly people. In big cities like Krakow you shoudn't have much problems with communicating in English. If not, use your hands and sense of humor :). I'm sure you'll find some Americans or British near the main square, on Wawel castle, and near the universities (there are many of them in Krakow). If you go to a pub, you should be able to communicate easily with English - plus, I'm sure there will be some foreigners from other countries like Germany, Holland, France etc. too. Enjoy your stay!

30 Oct 2006 /  #3

I was there in July and going back end of Jan for my birthday, dont do the Auschwitz tour with a travel co, get the bus there and take your time much better it takes just over an hour to get there Birkenau is about a 5 minute walk from Auschwitz.

Most Polish speak English and there are English galour (stag parties hmmm not good) - lots of people from all nationalities, not sure how busy it will be in January probably not as it was July, but still you'll have a good time, get a good guide book before you go. food and drink excellent
krysia 23 | 3,058  
30 Oct 2006 /  #4
If you'll be renting a car watch out for other drivers, because the roads might not be that good if there's a lot of snow. They don't plow like in the US and might have road construction. So be careful. If not renting, make sure you know which bus or tramwaj to take.

Poles will gladly help you out, they like to have a chance to speak english and many are studying that language. Krakow has a lot of history, it was the first capital of Poland and has some of the oldest buildings in Europe. If you stay at a hotel, you will get information what to see and do and meet other foreigners. Once you're there is not scary, it's just the thought of going to a foreign country that scares you.
Matyjasz 2 | 1,544  
31 Oct 2006 /  #5
Krakow has a lot of history, it was the first capital of Poland and has some of the oldest buildings in Europe.

Correction, it was the second Capital of Poland. The first one was Gniezno.
krysia 23 | 3,058  
31 Oct 2006 /  #6
You are absolutely right. Forgot about those three brothers who formed Gniezno.
OP john095  
31 Oct 2006 /  #7
Thanks very much people you have made me feel a lot more at ease with traveling a lone to Krakow. I dont suppose anyone knows what the weather is sort of like in January. I know it will be cold but I just want to prepare properly for it.

FISZ 24 | 2,116  
31 Oct 2006 /  #8
Friggin cold :) I'll be there too....well, not in Krakow :) Dress warm!!
Matyjasz 2 | 1,544  
31 Oct 2006 /  #9
Actually, according to the legend, only one of them, Lech, was the founder of Gniezno. :)
2 Nov 2006 /  #10
John! We really like foreigners and most of young people speak English as many of us has already worked abroad:) Don't worry. I am sure you will have a good time here. Before your trip just write to me and I will let you know what the weather is and so on. If you have any question don't hesitate to contact me. I live 120 km from Krakow but I know this city very well and I will be glad to help u.
OP john095  
3 Nov 2006 /  #11 Kasia what does this mean?

3 Nov 2006 /  #12
Hi John :) It's my occupation :) I've got something like a hostel in Poland in my city - Szczyrk (in the south of Poland in the Beskidy mountains). In January you can just ski here and do a snowman as Szczyrk is a ski resort. :)
OP john095  
3 Nov 2006 /  #13
Hi Kasia,

Sorry silly me - New to Poland see. I guess you learn something every day. Alas I am not coming to Ski - I couldnt Ski to save my life. I am sort of doing my own pilgrimage to Auschwitz - Birkenau. While I am there I will be taking loads of photographs of both Auschwitz and of Krakow, I will be making a video and writing a travel log like diary to possibly make into a book which will follow my first book 'A Picture of Auschwitz'.

I will be spending 1 day at Auschwitz and 3 days in Krakow.
FISZ 24 | 2,116  
3 Nov 2006 /  #14 will be a memorable experience. I'm happy to have visited at least once. It will leave you silent for hrs after.
OP john095  
3 Nov 2006 /  #15

I do believe it probably will be a memorable experience and most probably a long lasting one. I have promised myself this trip now for 3 years and I cannot call it off again. January is a go. At some point in our lives I think (and this is only my oppinion mind so I hope no one thinks I'm ramming this down their throats) that we should visit a place like this and see for ourselves just how lucky we - of today - actually is. I'm sure Auschwitz - Birkenau will be a real education.

Thankyou for your comments FISZ it is very much appreciated.

3 Nov 2006 /  #16
I've already been eight times in Auschwitz... Just one time alone, 7 times with people from all over the world. And the reactions of everyone were always the same...It always makes that people start thinking about their lifes.

So now we are very lucky and we should be very happy (that is why I sometimes don't understand polish people who just complain and they don't like anything in their lifes!!!)

By the way John. In Cracow for sure you will visit Kazimierz. I recomend this place with photos took by (as I remember) english man: - I was there one year ago but I really liked this place and the author of these pictures. He did a good job.
OP john095  
3 Nov 2006 /  #17
Yes Kasia,

I am planning to visit there also and across the river to the ghetto place and to view schindlers factory. Like i said i will be taking pictures as well as video. Although I am not Jewish or have I any Jewish relatives my visit is a personal one. I cannot explain it. However I am looking forward to it though and to seeing and sampling Krakow life.

19 Dec 2006 /  #18
If you plan to visit Cracow I highly reccomend you to have a look at
Jewish guide and genealogy in Poland,Cracow and Auschwitz.
Very useful site with a lot of data. Even if you don't use those services it is worth to learn a bit before travel.

There is a graet Christmas market in the very center of the Market Square

This Sunday the Chabad Lubavitzer from Cracow were lightning Hannukah lamp on Szeroka street.
29 Dec 2006 /  #19
The Hotel Royal is a great place to stay. Directly across the street from Wawel castle and the reatuarant has great food also:]
kaka 1 | 142  
29 Dec 2006 /  #20
if you you are looking for something cheaper to stay then hotel, I know two very good hostels, 1 minute from, the market square. mama's hostel and flamingo hostel. over there for sure you will find lots of foreigners, mostly british, american and australians.

as for the bar, the best one is Pauza on FloriaƄska street. on the first floor. the problem with this bar is that it's hard to find it cuz there is no sign.. but it's really good.
23 Jan 2007 /  #21

I went to Aushwitz last summer with my irish boyfriend. I am polish myself but never had gone to aushwitz by myself prior( that is i had been to Aushwitz but on organises school trips). Now, here are a few tips i can give you which may come in handy.

There are two ways to get there from Krakow: by bus or by train. Do not take the train! We made that mistake and it took ages! It stopped at every little station, and it was not worth it .

Once you get there make sure you buy a group ticket for english speaking visitors. The entry is generally free, so you can walk around the place yourself but we found it much easier to have a guide. It costs around 5 pounds and includes a guide tour in aushwitz and birkenau( you get a bus free of charge from one camp to another).

Enjoy might not be the right word, but i am sure it will be an expierience of a lifetime.

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