Coming in to Poland, I had no idea which city to visit first, so I opted for Krakow. However I still didn’t know what Krakow had to offer. Worst yet, I was coming into a new country having done zero research and not knowing where I was headed.
The one reason why I came to Krakow was to visit the Auschwitz memorial and museum. Everything else, I thought, would be an added bonus.
But Krakow had a different plan for me. Instead of the relaxing stay I had in mind, the city kept throwing curve balls at me each chance it got.
Google Map Fail
When I arrived at Krakow central station, Kraków Glówny, I had zero idea how to get to my hostel.
Worst yet, trusty Google Maps was telling me that the fastest way was to take 2 trains to get there, which would add an additional 1.5 hours to my already very long journey. Weirdly enough, walking would only take 45 minutes…..so I decided to walk.
Have you ever tried to walk 45 minutes with your full backpack and front-pack on you? Let me tell you, IT FREAKING SUCKS!!!
After an extenuating 45 minutes of walk, I get to the hostel battered and bruised (more like sweaty and probably smelly). The girl at the reception looks at me and wonders why I’m so tired, so I tell her my ordeal.
Oh, you should have taken the 19 tram. It leaves you at the door.
“Fuck you”, I thought to myself.
I Got Left Behind
On my first day, I decided to do a free city tour which I thought would be nice. If you’ve been following my Eurotrip so far you know that the anthem of this part of my travels has been rain. So yes, it started to pour in the middle of the tour.
Worst yet, with my almost military haircut (courtesy of Prague), I got cold right away and I kept thinking that I would get sick.
The Jewish Quarter city tour was good, with lots of information about the history of Jews in Poland and the importance and impact they have had in Polish society.
I was starting to enjoy this tour despite the rain until…..I lost the group.
Yep! I lost an entire group of 20 people.
I got left behind.
I waited for everyone to leave to snap a few photos at one particular site. After all, I had been doing this and catching up the entire morning, so no big deal I thought.
But when I went to meet the group……no one.
I ran from one end of the street to the next……nobody. I could not see anyone in sight.
I tried to see where the Spanish group was headed, and somehow I lost them too.
So my entire morning could be summed up to walking under the rain, losing an entire group of people, and only getting half of the information about the city I wanted to get.
…And Then My Notebook Broke
Later on that night while checking my e-mails, I notice that the little light on my laptop isn’t on despite my notebook being plugged in.
I play around with the charger. Put it in, pull it out, in, then out. It was almost sensual…..but nothing. The light wouldn’t turn on.
So I use the Nintendo approach and shake the shit out of it. Finally it turns on.
Relieved, I go to sleep.
As I wake up the next morning, my notebook is dead.
How is that possible? I left it charging all night!
Damn charger gave up on me.
So I spent the next two days hopping from mall to mall looking for a charger, or an adaptor, but nothing. Between malls and repair shops, I must have done at least 10 stores, and I could not find that motherfucker! I guess that’s what happens when you purchase a knock-off…
So I resignedly purchased another notebook, this time a better one.
There went at least 10 days of costs in one single purchase.
A Boring Trip to Wieliczka Salt Mines
While researching what to see while in Krakow, I kept falling on articles about these salt mines, located about 20 minutes outside of town. It got me curious and as I had never been to a mine before, I decided to go pay it a visit.
Once I got there, I was smacked in the face with a 84 PLN entrance fee, and an additional 10 PLN if you want to take pictures. Paying €22 ($34 CAD / $25 USD) as an entrance fee on any given day is expensive, no matter what you’re going to see. At this price, I was expecting the tour of my life!
And I was disappointed…
The salt mines failed at capturing my awe. Even though most of the rooms are extremely well maintained and the mine itself is fun to see, it still did not make a case for the steep charge to go see it.
What’s more, at the start of the tour the guide told it would take about 3 hours to go through the entire mine. One hour and a half later, we were done.
Let’s just say that if I had to go back, I wouldn’t. The city of Krakow offers much in terms of sites and museums to avoid having to come all the way to Wieliczka.
Visit to Auschwitz
After having to stretch my Krakow visit due to my laptop ordeal, the day finally came to do the one thing I had set to do in Krakow: visit the Auschwitz museum and memorial.
About 20 minutes after the bus left Kraków Glówny, the skies get really dark and it starts POURING outside. It was raining so hard I could barely see the road, and I’m not even sure how the driver was managing.
Here we go again, I thought. It figures, I’ve had the shittiest luck so far in here.
I was worried. It was my last day in the city and had gotten up extremely early to make sure I make the 10AM free entrance without a reservation. I did not want to have to pay to join a tour group.
This was the one thing I wanted to see in the city, if not in Poland. The thought of walking outside for hours under the rain was unappealing, but I was already here, so what was I to do.
The bus pulls over at the entrance, and the skies cleared. The sun comes out and the temperature gets warm. It was in fact one of the nicest days I’ve experienced since arriving to Europe.
So I guess all is well that ends well. I was happy I was able to enjoy my visit to the memorial, even though it was an emotional day as expected.
Have you ever had such bad luck in some of your trips? What do you make of all this?