The mood in Vin was still quite quiet but no surprise really as yesterday, was a heavy and emotional day. We both wanted to visit Auschwitz but neither of us really expected it to have such an overwhelming impact. Nothing you see or read can ever prepare you for the shock and guess we are still in despair and disbelief of scale of the mass execution.
In a slow and somber pace we had breakfast followed by a shower before packing up and setting off to Krakow. As we turned the corner, we passed the barbed wired wall of Auschwitz I and the Auschwitz cross. A deep breath as tears just streamed down my cheeks. A little further down the road, half a dozen houses located in front of the concentration camp wall. A few old people pottering in their garden…I guess life still goes on, but I am not sure I could live next to such a horrid place.
Once out of Oswiecim, Craig turned on the stereo and picked a few light hearted tunes. He could see I was really struggling to switch off from Auschwitz. After about 15 minutes he pulled in to a Lidl, parked up and gave me one huge cuddle. When the tears stopped he ordered Mac n Tosh to jump all over me and bombard me kisses…they were only too happy to oblige!
A quick whistle stop shop of the Lidl before joining the motorway to Krakow. The countryside was beautiful with plenty trees and farmland and nothing like you image so close to a major city. The sun was shining bright and today, was set to be a scorcher. A great day for visiting Krakow. Half an hour on the motorway and time to pay the toll. Our first toll in Poland but given the straight run, lack of traffic and the brilliant road surface, it seemed a bargain at £3.
We arrived at Adam Camping and parked up on patch number 12. We immediately recognised half the motorhomes from Oswiecim, so nice to see some familiar faces. Like a lot of the campsites in Poland camp Adam is located in the ground of a hotel. Aptly named Hotel Eve! I checked in at the reception and paid 96 plz (£18) before wandering back to Vin via the shower blocks and toilets for a quick toot.
Craig had pulled out the canopy, sorted out the chairs and table and made a nice cuppa with a few biscuits by the time I had got back. Mac n Tosh were under Vin busy digging holes. We sat in the sun and relaxed. As we looked most people were sunning themselves. Slouched in chairs, sprawled on the lawn or sat on their motorhome step. A group of lads in the corner playing their guitars and enjoying a simple jamming session. The mood was just right and for once, we sat and chilled.
Mid afternoon and it was toasty. Too hot to bake in the sun, so we grabbed the bikes and went for a cycle. We followed the river for a couple of kilometres until we spotted the castle. Over the bridge and off we went in to the city. We cycled around and around just wandering from one interesting place to the next. Including a nice refreshing orange sorbet at the annual ‘Honey Fair’ with a traditional folk dancing and singing festival. It was a glorious day and a glorious city.
It was a Sunday afternoon and the streets were full of tourists or local people meeting friends and strolling in high spirits to the little bistros scattered around the small alleys. The aroma of traditional Jewish fair and the relaxing sound of violin signalled we were in the Jewish quarters. Once the ghetto and now a hive of busy eateries and modern bars.
We mostly I tootled around the Castle and Jewish quarters, zig zagging through the cobbled streets. Wandering back and forth to synagogs, churches and interesting buildings in between peering in the store windows. I got thirsty, so Craig nipped in to the shop for a drink and returned with a can of elderflower cider. As most of you know, I am not a drinker. I have the occasional shandy or small glass of wine but its rare, so to have a cider in the afternoon, well its not me. But it was hot and the elderflower was yum. Needless to say, we wiggled our way back to Vin…and yip, I nearly fell off the bike, twice.
We arrived back to find we had new neighbours, Simy and John from England. We got talking and the next minute we were all sat down enjoying a drink. The drinks flowed, the conversations flowed and all in all it was a damn fine evening. Hiccup!
The following day more of the same but this time in the rain (so not many photo’s). Krakow didn’t seem to have the same ambiance and buzz in the damp drizzle but the city still looked fab with plenty to see. The streets and alleys are packed with shops, bars and restaurants and you could spend hours just wandering around. However, today we focused on the old town with its busy square and myriad of streets shooting off at every angle. We bounced from church to museum admiring the architecture, listening to the choirs and the town bugler. Every hour from the cathedral the sound of the bugle bellowed across the square, a tradition stemming back to 13th century.
Damp and cold it was time for something to eat, so we opted for a fine dining experience. A greasy kebab on a park bench surrounded by drunks. It was delightful and so pleased Craig hasn’t lost his charm when it comes to treating me. For a bit of romance, we even got to share the two quid kebab! Well, thats not technically true because Craig’s cunning plan to douce the kebab in flaming hot chilli sauce meant I couldn’t eat it. Instead I just burnt my gob and coughed my guts up. So I sat in the park with my gob open, panting like idiot to cool it down, yanking at the dogs to stop them from eating piles of vomit whilst surrounded by zombie drunks.
More bobbling around on the bike over cobbled alleys and streets to toot at the medieval city. We took it in turns to nip in buildings whilst the other stayed with the dogs. Soon the buildings closed for the day and Krakow nightlife came alive. We cycled around as the party got started before heading back to Vin and just in time, it pickled it down.
Our Bumble Verdict: Charming medieval city with lots to do and see from castles, churches, old towns, ghettos, squares and buzzing nightlife.
Our sleepy spot: Krakow, Hotel Eve grounds with great camping facilities and only 15 minutes cycle in to the city centre.
Paid Camping GPS position Krakow N050.046635, E019.902797
Route: Oswiecim to Krakow