Well our overnight train from BudaPest to Krakow was a success! Sort of… Mum was terrified of the gypsies, so every time she needed the washroom she would wake me up. Before you say, ‘what gypsies??,’ let me tell you what happened. We checked into our little bunker and the conductor comes around to check our tickets. He points out the not one, but THREE locks on the door. He told us to lock all three and never leave the door unlocked. Rambling on, he struck the fear of god into my mum because he said it’s possible that gypsies will jump on the train in the middle of the night to look for a place to sleep, often trying door knobs of unsuspecting passengers. Needless to say, I got maybe a few hours of sleep that night.
Not so fresh faced and awake at an ungodly hour arriving into Krakow, we were less than enthused to get our day started. It was just after 7am when we pulled into the station in Krakow. Our AirBnb would not be ready for us until noon. I had purchased us tickets for the Hop on Hop off bus tour so we decided to make our way to the information booth to figure out where we could pick it up. We checked our luggage at the station so we wouldn’t have to lug it around. It was just our luck that the bus stop at the train station was just recently closed. The closest point of pick up for our tour was near Wawel Castle. It figures. Ugh.
So we walked through the mall to get outside. Thankfully there was a map just outside so I took a look to get our bearings. Oddly enough the map was upside down, so Dad thought we should be walking straight ahead but I knew we had to walk in the direction behind us. He didn’t believe me, so I took him back to the mall where I just so happened to catch a post with Wawel Castle and an arrow pointing in the direction I told him we needed to walk in. To this very day, he believes we should have gone straight. I tried to show him on the map where he would have lead us but ooooooh no, Dad was right. *insert eye roll here*
Anyway, it was half raining half snowing and it was miserable. I felt bad for my mum having to walk all this way in the cold. But we did eventually arrive at the pick up point and thankfully a bus was right there waiting. So a bunch of us jumped on and waited for the tour to start. Once the tour got started, I knew we needed to get the hell off this bus. First of all, there was a filing cabinet — yes, a filing cabinet — in the middle of the bus bolted to the floor. The drawers kept opening a slamming shut as he turned along the streets. Second, he refused to turn the heat on in the bus. The windows were covered in condensation and all of us were freezing. It was colder inside this bus than it was outside! And third, the driver was an absolute ass. Luckily the bus stopped back at Wawel Castle where literally everyone on board got off the bus and started to yell at the guy who checked us in 30 minutes prior. One lady was absolutely livid. She demanded to have her money back immediately. The guy was an ass too, he could have cared less what she was saying. He kept telling her she’d have to call the number on the website and put her complaint in with them. I’m not even exaggerating when I tell you that everyone got off the bus and left. We warned people who were waiting to board not to get on that bus.
It was an awful start to our time in Krakow, and I felt so guilty. I’m just so glad it was my money that was wasted and not my parents’. I have never had such a horrible experience with the Hop on Hop off company!! Later that day, once we had checked into our apartment, I sent off a complaint to the company.
But moving on from that terrible situation, we decided to grab some early lunch and to warm up. I was so cold at this point, walking hurt. So we found a little place on the main drag. Our apartment was just a few doors down, so we were close when the time came to check in. We had the best location, just steps from Main Square! It was fantastic! After lunch, we met Anna, our AirBnb host. She was spectacular. We got checked in and she showed us the apartment. She then offered to drive us back to the train station to get our bags. She was on her way to work and said it would be no problem at all. It was just so nice! Especially after such a terrible morning!
We got our bags from the station and grabbed a taxi back. At this point we just wanted to relax a bit! Having dropped our bags off at the apartment, we ran back down to the store to get some groceries for the few days we were here. Afterwards we gave ourselves a bit of a rest and then made our way to the Main Square to check out…. you guessed it, the Christmas Markets! Yes! They were still open! Ha ha! The square was buzzing full of people celebrating the festive season. All the different aromas hanging in the air…I love these markets! We decided we’d go traditional for dinner…we had pierogi! And they were amazing! We stuffed ourselves silly and it was so good. We called it an early night. We had an early day tomorrow as we were going to Auschwitz – Birkenau.
I had told mum and dad that I wanted to get here before when I was living in England. But my first Euro-Blitz didn’t allow for it due to time constraints. I told them that if they didn’t feel comfortable going, that I would go on my own. They weren’t turned off by going to Auschwitz, they actually wanted to go. Mum thought it was important to go because it should never be forgotten, and it was a way she could learn more and pay her respects. Before leaving Canada, I had looked into various ways of getting to the camps. It was on here actually, through another blogger, I had learned of Viator. She recommended them, so I booked a tour through them to see the camps. It is the easiest way to be honest. To drive there ourselves and figure all that out would have been too much! I am so glad the blogging world was there to help!
So stay tuned for our full day at Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Until next time…