seats with adjustable headrests from Prague to Krakow

How to Take the České dráhy Train from Prague to Krakow

Tips for taking the České dráhy train from Prague to Krakow

Being from the USA, it is not often that I have to take trains.  As such, having to navigate train stations in a foreign country, knowing which tickets to buy, and what services are included can be challenging.  This is what I found out about taking the České dráhy train from Prague to Krakow .

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Christmas market and cloth hall in Krakow's Old Town

Krakow’s Old Town

I arrived in Krakow from Prague via a seven-hour train ride.  I followed the signage from the train station to Krakow’s Old Town which took me through the mall, up to an exit through a Christmas market, down into a tunnel beneath a street and then into a lovely park dusted in a light snow.  The walk through the park to one of the many streets that lead the square was quite soothing after a long day.

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View from Bridge of Love

Krakow’s Jewish Quarter

While it is easy to simply google “free walking tours in Krakow”, I recently came across an app called freetour.com.  It is great!  I typed in Krakow and found a walking tour of Krakow’s Jewish Quarter and one of Krakow’s Old Town.

Today I joined the tour for Krakow’s Jewish Quarter.  The English-speaking tour met at in front of St. Mary’s Basilica in Old Town at 2:30pm.  Given it was winter time and dark very early, the tour was two hours rather than the advertised two and half hours.  That was fine with me.

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Pacski - Krakow Street Food

Krakow Street Food

After I travel a while, I get tired of eating every meal at a restaurant, particularly in Europe where the service is slow.  I recognize it is slow to allow diners to enjoy their meal, but when I am on my own, sitting around is not my first choice.  I’d rather be exploring.  As such for the few days I was in Poland, I seeked out some Krakow street food.

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remnants of barracks at Auschwitz

Six Hour Tour of Auschwitz

When visiting Krakow, seeing Auschwitz is a must.  Auschwitz, a complex of 48 concentration and extermination camps, was operated by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland during World War II.  The complex includes Auschwitz I, Auschwitz II-Birkenau, and Auschwitz III-Monowitz along with several subcamps.

Auschwitz was the largest Nazi German concentration and death camp.  Between the years 1940 and 1945 when Auschwitz operated, the Nazis deported at least 1.3 million people to the camp, including 1,000,000 Jews, 150,000 Poles, 23,000 gypsies, 15,000 Soviet POWs, and 25,000 prisoners of other ethnicities.  Of these prisoners, 1,100,000 died.  90% were Jewish.  Most were killed in gas chambers, but many also died from illnesses and starvation.

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Chapel of St. Kinga in Wieliczka Salt Mine

The Wieliczka Salt Mine

Ever since I heard about the Wieliczka Salt Mine from my friend Ron, I have wanted to visit it.  I am fascinated by mines and Wieliczka Salt Mine is definitely the most unique mine I’ve seen.

Tour Options

While preparing to visit the mine, I reviewed its website and was surprised to find there are a variety of tours from which to choose.  I ruled out the 30-minute Graduation Tower visit that includes breathing a brine mist above ground as well as the Pilgrim Tour that concentrates on praying throughout the 2.5-hour mine tour.

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Slovak National Theatre in Bratislava

An Afternoon in Bratislava

History of Bratislava

Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, was founded by the Celts in the 2nd century BC.  Being close to the Austria Hungarian border, Bratislava was subject to many power struggles.  Bratislava served as capital of Hungary from 1574-1784 during the Ottoman rule before the Austro-Hungary Monarchy reigned.

In the early 1900’s the Czechs and Slovaks declared the creation of Czechoslovakia and Bratislava became a part of this country.  After World War II, Czechoslovakia fell under communist rule.  The new country Slovakia was created in 1993.

Bratislava, with a population of 450,00, is Slovakia’s largest city.  It occupies both banks of the Danube River.  The city’s lovely Old Town, that is easily walkable, is on the north side of the river.

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Things to Do In and Around Ljubljana, Slovenia

Things to Do In and Around Ljubljana

Ljubljana, Slovenia’s capital with a population of 270,000, seems smaller than its actual size.  Its central walking zone is compact and nearby the Ljubljanica River that bisects the city.  Many bridges cross the river while cafes line its banks.

We were only in Ljubljana for a half-day, and it definitely deserves a whole one or more.  But we were able to see several of the sights on our short walking tour before we relaxed at a riverside café. Continue reading “Things to Do In and Around Ljubljana, Slovenia”