Poland Wrap-up Part II: Transportation and Accomodations

Still thinking about planning a trip to Poland? My last post gave some itinerary help. Today is about some other logistics to account for as you start putting the wheels in motion. The other two big things to figure out when putting a trip together is transportation and accommodations. Here’s what we did, and learned along the way.

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Poland Wrap-up Part I: Make Your Own Poland Itinerary

Poland was an amazing country to visit, and truly one of my favorite trips I’ve taken during my three years living in Europe. But you know what the funny thing is? The trip almost didn’t happen. I have always wanted to visit Poland because when I look at my varied European ancestry, I’m more Polish than anything else. I’ve always wanted to step foot in Poland and connect to my roots on some level. But each year, for some reason the trip seemed daunting to plan, so we kept putting it off. Until Michael just put his foot down and booked round trip airfare to Krakow, knowing that this commitment would motivate us to pull it together.

If you’re interested in going to Poland but are in the same boat, I want to encourage you to put your reservations aside and plan a trip! The hardest part for me was putting together an itinerary that captured the highlights of this large country. Here are some ideas to help give you a head start.

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Now that You're in Krakow...Get up and Go!

Bon lundi! 

I just got finished gushing about how much I loved Krakow and now this week I’m going to tell you the day trips you should take outside of Krakow. I know, I know, I sound like a hot mess who can’t make up her mind. But really it plays out very consistently in my mind. You see, you need to tack on two more days to however long you were planning to spend in Krakow to allow for time to see the nearby area. And by making Krakow your base to explore, you get to come back to the city in the late afternoon in time for dinner and some drinks in Kazimierz

The two popular day trips to do from Krakow are the Wieliczka Salt Mine and Auschwitz. Clearly both sites are very different from each other. They are about an hour drive apart and while you can squeeze both into one day, I was glad we had the time to split the two up and visit one a day. I’ll be sharing about each this week. After all, both made my 10 most memorable experiences in Poland list so I have to expand a little on what made each of these worth leaving beautiful Krakow for! 

Krakow is such a joy to explore...but this week we're going to leave and see what else is nearby!

On another note, you may have noticed last week that I have switched to Disqus for commenting. Sorry if I lost any comments in the process or if it created confusion. I love hearing from you and hope that this change will allow for more discussion and conversation! Let me know what you think :-)

Poland: Guest Post by Cynthia of Adventurings

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.

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All Hype or Just Right? Krakow, Poland

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.

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Starting This Week: Spotlight on Poland

Bon lundi!

Last spring I went on a trip I had wanted to go on for so long when at last Michael and I finally made it happen. It was a 16-day trip all around Poland. We had an incredible adventure which ranked as one of the highlights of 2014, yet I haven't said much about the trip other than my initial thoughts in my 10 Most Memorable Experiences in Poland post.

That's going to change this week. You see, when we told people that we were going on our big trip of the year to Poland, one of a few possible reactions followed. Surprise. "16 days?"  Shock. "Poland??" And more clarifying questions ensued, usually boiling down to: 1. Why Poland? and 2. What's in Poland?

Today I can cover the why. I have Polish ancestry on both sides of my family, and I've always been interested to visit the country for personal reasons as a way to connect on some level with family roots. (And Michael is questionably Polish - he keeps telling me he is, but no one can tell me who in the family was from Poland. But I'll share Poland with him, regardless.) That and I've always had an interest in history, especially surrounding WWII. I felt the need to see Auschwitz just once in my lifetime, initially  for its historical significance and later on more so once I found out a portion of my family died in similar camps. All of this made me want to set foot in and explore Poland, but it took awhile to sit down and figure out how to best spend our time in such a large country. 

These next few weeks I hope to answer the second question on what there is to see and experience in Poland. I think this country is massively underrated as a travel destination, but has so much to offer curious tourists. So stay tuned for more on this wonderful country but be warned...you just might be inspired to consider it as a travel destination before the secret really gets out to the masses! 

Coming this week - some of my favorite spots in the city I fell absolutely in love with - Krakow! I especially enjoyed its cool Kazimierz district filled with fun evening spots like this one called Singer.

Have you ever been to Poland? What attracted you to travel there?

Canvas-Worthy Europe, 2014 edition

Last Wednesday I shared my round-up of my favorite photos taken in Paris in 2014. Now it’s time to see the year in review through a collection of my canvas-worthy contenders from our European travels outside of Paris. Here’s where I traveled to during the year!

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The 10 Most Memorable Experiences in Poland

I just got back from a two-week trip traveling throughout Poland. Yup, you read that correctly. Poland. I've gotten many quizzical looks, and even questioning natives asking why I chose Poland for a long vacation. The short answer is I have always wanted to go due to my largely Polish ancestry. That, coupled with my mounting desire to explore more of Eastern Europe after I fell in love with Prague (my only prior experience in the general area), led Michael and I to book a 16-night adventure in this country. These ten moments/places/things left an impact on me and convinced me that Poland is such an underrated destination for tourists. So when are you planning to visit Poland?!

Here are the top ten things (in no particular order) that stood out to me on my trip:

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Happy Again

Bon lundi!

I'm just back from a two week trip through Poland that I can't wait to share with you. This street art I spotted in Krakow's Jewish neighborhood of Kazimierz resonated with me as I started to explore this country. I've been touched learning more about Poland's dark and tumultuous past, primarily the horrible tragedies experienced during World War II and the bleak times that followed with communism. Yet Poland has emerged with resilience, hope, and determination to move forward.

I look forward to sharing some of my experiences in this underrated tourist destination!