Sometimes when someone starts telling you about where they’re from, they make bold claims. Sometimes they turn out to be true, and other times you discover that person’s perception is clouded by their love of their home town. My biggest bold claim, which I invite you to fact check, is that New Jersey is home to the best bagels in the world.
Even knowing a person’s propensity to elevate their home town, you can imagine my surprise when one of Michael’s Polish coworkers once proclaimed:
“Poland has the best beaches of Europe.” Read More
Warsaw. I knew I couldn’t plan a trip around Poland without hitting the capital city. Yet as I mentioned before, it seemed to be unpopular with a majority of tourists who didn’t like its modern feel. In fact, it seemed to be unpopular with some of the Poles as well. On our last night in Krakow, upon hearing what our next destination was, our bartender proclaimed Warsaw to be “the most hated city in Poland.” And further elaborated that it was a place where “the uneducated live like kings.” So with that last vote of confidence, we left picture-perfect Krakow to see what Warsaw had in store for us.
At first look, I could see why there’s a lack of love for Warsaw. It was modern and shiny, busy and bustling, befitting of an international capital. Many of its visitors whether Polish or otherwise come for business. Those who come for pleasure seem to dismiss it in favor of smaller, more manageable cities. Read More
In the "Simply Sara Eats" series, I recount the my favorite food and drink discoveries.
We ate a lot of good food throughout Poland. Krakow stands out in my mind as it was our first destination in Poland, and our first taste of Polish cuisine of the trip. Warsaw though was another force to be reckoned with. We may not have eaten as much native food in the capital, but we took advantage of its international influences. The food here gets the distinction as some of the most memorable of the entire trip, and surprised us in many ways. (If you told me how much hummus I would eat in Warsaw, I would have never believed you! But more on that in a minute...) Without further ado, here’s the best-of list: Read More
One unexpected thing that occurred as a result of our trip to Poland was the blogging friendships that arose from bonding over this country. It’s how I met Cynthia, who I introduced previously with her guest post on backpacking through Poland. And today I have other bloggers to highlight - Karolina and Patryk, a Polish couple traveling the world.
I had the opportunity to write a post on their blog about what surprised me about their country during my travels. And today I’m excited to introduce them as they share a native’s view on what Poland’s hidden gems are. Here’s the inside scoop, as told by Karolina and Patryk: Read More
I’ve come to learn that in any trip of considerable length one needs some built-in downtime to recharge and relax. Maybe it’s a sign that I’m not the crazy hardcore sightseer I was in my early 20’s. Or maybe it reflects the slow shift my travel tendencies have made towards visiting every possible museum to sampling all the noteworthy local food and drink spots.
At any rate, in our 16-day trip through Poland, Toruń was the halfway point. And after running around Krakow and Warsaw, a change of pace was certainly welcomed and needed. Luckily Toruń was next on the itinerary. It is a medieval town that boasts two things besides overall cuteness: being Copernicus' hometown, and for producing gingerbread. What better place for my science-minded hubby and his foodie wife to explore? Read More
I've really hesitated about sharing the other day trip I took from Krakow. There’s nothing cheery or uplifting about this trip, and a bunch of people were surprised that I would go to such a location while on vacation. I hope to share my trip sensitively and respectfully because I can’t write about my time in Poland and leave this bit out.
It’s one of the reasons I came to Poland in the first place.
I’ve always been interested in WWII history, especially the facets of the war surrounding the Holocaust. When I learned in school about the horrible events that happened, I was intrigued because I had so many questions. How could this happen? How could there be so much evil in one’s heart to do this to another human being? The scale of the operation, the swiftness with which everything was carried out, and the hate behind it just left me questioning how this mass murder of European Jews (along with other minorities) could happen in a blink of an eye.
The way these events played out in my mind when I initially learned about them went like this: Germany was reeling from the heavy loss of WWI, a new party came to power, and as it gained momentum its radical, hateful ideology somehow came out of nowhere and took hold. Now, later on, I’ve realized from my travels in Europe that the discrimination of Jews didn’t just come about in the 1930’s. I've stood in Nuremberg’s main square and enjoyed its famous Christmas market in the shadow of the Frauenkirche. A church that was built from the rubble of the synagogue that stood there, seized and demolished in order to create this square. I’ve been to Prague and have seen the old Jewish cemetery, its tombstones piled up on top of each other because the Jews were contained to a very limited area in the city. I know now that the manifestation of this hatred was a long time in the making - centuries of discrimination built up to the Holocaust. Read More
When looking into what to do in Krakow, Poland, one day trip kept coming up as a must-see: a visit to the Wieliczka Salt Mine. I had never heard of walking through a salt mine as a tourist attraction, but was intrigued by it’s well-known reputation and shiny UNESCO status. Read More
I'd like to introduce you to one of my blogger friends, Cynthia! We first became acquainted by writing about our trips to Poland, and today she's going to share some of the highlights from her grand trip through the country to offer another perspective. Be sure to check out her blog - but I'll let her introduce herself properly:
Ahoj! I'm Cynthia and I blog over at Adventurings about my expat adventures living in the Czech Republic and my travels that have fortunately come with living life abroad.
This year, I was brainstorming with my fiancé and travel partner about where the heck to go for our big summer trip. Just for fun, I threw out there: "What if we took a several week long backpacking trip to Poland? To really see the country and not just a few of its most famous cities." It seemed logical: I have Polish ancestry and would really love to spend more time in the "homeland" but also, the country neighbors the one I've been living in for two years, so it seemed only right to get to know this little pocket of the European continent a little better. Read More
Krakow. Whenever I heard about fellow travelers’ experiences in Poland, this city was one of the first words off their lips, or off the proverbial lips of blogs. Krakow was a clear favorite of many and given these high praises I wondered how it would all hold up in person. I had created high expectations and wondered if they would be met. And perhaps part of me wanted my opinion to differ. After all, had all these people set aside two weeks to travel around Poland? Surely I would prefer less touristy city like Wroclaw.
There is certainly more to Poland than just the city of Krakow and the country deserves more time of a traveler to experience its diversity. Yet I’m going to admit it - I utterly fell in love with Krakow. It’s a must-visit on any Poland itinerary, and if I were to formally draw up a top 10 of Europe list, Krakow would make the cut.
Let me try to back my opinion up - if the food alone doesn't convince you, here are some things I did and saw that made me join the ranks with many others declaring Krakow a Polish favorite. Read More