We joked when we got off the bus with our luggage, carry-ons, and backpacks that we felt more disgusting in that moment than our 12+ flight from America. We lugged our five bags up four flights of stairs to our AirBnb, where we opened the door to a cozy little room, with a bed perched on on step with an open window overlooking the street below. We settled in and headed straight for Pierogarnia Krakowiacy for a classic polish dinner; Janine got the “Ruskin” with potatoes cottage cheese and onion, while I got the mozzarella & dried tomatoes. We were shocked when we realized how inexpensive a plate full of dumplings was. From then on, we felt like royalty since discovering we were “rich” in Krakow. We explored more around Old Town, and ended up getting raspberry hot wine which was too strong for my liking, so we had to treat the drink like a shot. We got into a great conversation so continued the night with two bags of lays chips and another bottle of wine, and then lounged around in our Airbnb, laughing, while FaceTiming our friends.
In the morning, we lazily woke up with the sun greeting us, streaming through the windows. We visited the hall of souvenir shops and trinkets, getting mementos for our friends and families. Janine and I kept noticing dragon stuffed animals as souvenirs, so we made it our mission to investigate this city’s mascot. Our hunt brought us to The Wawel Royal Castle, where the dragon resides. After we took selfies with the fire-breathing dragon statue, we purchased cotton candy from a nearby cart, and couldn’t stop gawking at the immensity of it. It was almost half the size of Janine alone. We sat in the grass peacefully, eating our strawberry sugared candy (that is, until a spider was on my jeans and I ran in circles for a solid minute). But we enjoyed the sun on our faces and the beautiful blue-skied day and weather.
We stopped at an ice cream shop, which wasn’t as grand as we presumed from the window display. They conceived a good marketing illusion. Either way, still yummy and was only 4 plz ,which equivalents to about $1 USD. Janine got bubble gum flavor and I got Oreo. Next was The Pinball Machine Museum, which was actually an underground room filled with a variety of people and pinball machines alike. One of their rules was “no tilting” the pinball machines.
The Jewish quarter held streets worn with age, yet still upheld their character. There were hole-in-the-wall shops that had illustrations, jewelry, and lots of vintage clothing shops.
The Tatra Mountains were the highlight of the trip. Going up was the easy part—going down was another story. The snow had turned to ice, and Janine and I were only in Nike shoes with very little traction on the bottom to grip the surface. Because of the slippery ice, Janine and I fell on our a$$es about a million times. Each time we fell was a setback for our downward journey, but an addition to the hilarious adventure we were on. You would think it would be easy to escape—but even my composed self couldn’t handle the steep slopes and deceptive ice. Our bus ride back to Krakow held cotton candy clouds and I couldn’t hold back the slight smile on my face.
Next day we visited the Salt Mines, and within 5 minutes of getting off the bus we bought tickets to the tour, bought a pretzel for our breakfast, used the restrooms, and went inside. The tour reminded me of my childhood when I would go to Ruby Falls in Tennessee with my Maw Maw & Paw Paw. We descended 135 meters (443 feet) deep and saw the churches, as well as salty spaghettis and cauliflower that were carved out of salt. When we entered the very first room, the walls were lined with wooden logs, and Janine commented that it reminded her of the Lincoln Logs we would play with as children. Some kid from the tour immediately went straight to the wall and began to lick it, assuming it was part of the salt cave. Our tour guide held back a laugh as she remarked, “This is wood, not salt. Please do not lick the walls yet—I repeat—NOT salt yet.” I cringed because I imagined a mouthful of splinters for him. Yikes. Our guide was really elaborate and informational, explaining that the word salary comes from the word salt, as it was used as currency way back when.
Our bus ride back home was tiring as we leaned against the window with the sun warming our faces. As soon as we got back, we napped for what was supposed to be a half hour, but ended up being longer than intended. Then went to a bakery and nibbled on cheesecake while Janine and I both journaled a bit. I ended up sketching the Tatra mountains. We ended the night with wine, pizza, and salad at a unique place called Pino. The entire trip was nothing but spectacular. We even visited Auschwitz one day, but that will be a blog post for itself entirely, as there were many emotions and it was difficult to relay my thoughts properly.
Yet, everything was spectacular, and if you find yourself in Krakow at any point, I highly recommend.
Cheers to an amazing weekend,