Tourist information offices
Tourist information offices are good source of information of course. But they also provide very expensive day trips, as I find out. I spend some time in Krakow during my organized tour trough Eastern Europe and this offices was one of mandatory stop on our walking tour trough Old town. We wont to go to Auschwitz complex and ask for tour guide. They offer us some expensive tour guide (I think about 100 euros). So we just use a free tourist information maps and books.
We ware visit Auschwitz complex but we was travel by train to Oswiecim.
Unique Suggestions: Use a public transport and planing your trip according information that those offices provides.
Fun Alternatives: Create your own walking tour. Meet some locals.Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
- Budget Travel
- Arts and Culture
Krakow in a golf cart
You will see these golf carts parked around Krakow near the tourist sights. They offer city tours, but you have to look carefully as some of them are quite expensive and don't really go very far. Please remember, Krakow is NOT very big, you can easily walk.Related to:
- Historical Travel
Musicians Touting The Main Square Bars
This is one that's difficult to avoid if you're sitting having a beer, or three, on a sunny afternoon outside one of the Rynek Glowny bars. The first hint of decent weather and these guys will be out. They seem to have a monopoly on the pitch as they are the only ones I've seen doing the rounds and they stop off in front of each bar, play a few tunes, collect some money and then move on to the next. They seem to have quite a decent repertoire and so you're not subjected to the same renditions and they do take requests (if you contribute sufficiently).
You don't have to give them anything but you are a captive audience and so you feel obliged. They're happy enough with a couple of zloty from each person, which I suppose on a busy afternoon amounts to quite a lot but they are quite good and sunny days can be in short supply.
One thing I did discover is that the guy collecting the money seems to have a good memory for faces as there was one afternoon I'd lost track of time and had been at the same bar long enough for them to have come around a second time. The guy remembered that I'd already been caught and so winked and gave me a sort of "no problems" gesture.
Unique Suggestions: I suppose if you really wanted to avoid them you could finish your drinks and move to a bar where they've already been!Related to:
- Beer Tasting
COLD DRINKS - NOT SO FAST !
Many shops sell cold soft drinks across Krakow. They have the normal drink coolers like the one pictured here. They are filled in the normal way with top name brands that you recognise and the coolers keep them nice and cold. Just open the door and reach in a grab one.
Oops. The door will not open!
Yes, they are locked and you either have to have the staff switch a button or open it with a key and get it out for you. If you keep trying to open the door you may here someone starting to shout at you.
Find the person with the key/button/remote control. You have to learn to be slightly patient here, but yopu always get friendly service.
Fun Alternatives: There isn't one. Just be patient like I said before. They will be there in a second.Related to:
- Business Travel
- Family Travel
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
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BE CAREFUL F YOU ARE DRINKING !
Krakow and Poland as a whole have a fantastic variety of beers, vodkas and even wines to enjoy. Poles are also much heavier social drinkers than most countries in say Western Europe or North America. It is very easy to become totally inebriated quickly here and enjoy every minute of it. The problem is that Poland is a former communist country and they still have a large Police force who like to keep their streets clean and quiet. If you decide to act the fool and get stupidly drunk you will be thrown into jail. That’s just the start. They are required to telephone someone to notify them they have arrested you! “Hello is this DAO’s Mum? We have your son here in jail and he is dead drunk.” Not a good idea. And when they wake you in the morning you have to pay them a fine of 250 Zloty for your stay. Before they release you.
Take it easy. Beer here is much stronger than what you probably drink at home and you will be drinking vodka. You will. If you need to be loud, go into a night club, not in the streets.
Warn a good friend back home that the Polish Police may ring you. Do not let them ring your Mum! Also have 250 Zloty in a sock to pay for your stay at the jail. Breakfast is not includedRelated to:
- Wine Tasting
- Beer Tasting
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The Cloth Hall
Yes, I know that some people actually like this place! And yes, It does have attractive-looking bits and bobs.
Personally-speaking I think it is a waste of a stunning building located in the middle of the city's most valuable piece of real estate,
I assume the stall-holders pay hugely expensive rents and that's why everything is so expensive. There's plenty of little shops in the side streets where you can find these sort of souvenirs and also the proper market of Stary Kleparz (across the road from the Barbican). At these places you'll pay much less for exactly the same sort of stuff.Related to:
- Budget Travel
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The first think you need is to be able to IDENTIFY a toilet. You will see triangle and circles. Triangles for Men and Circles for the Ladies. Now you need to be able to find one – AND – manage to get there. And the worse part? You may have to pay. Many public toilets have attendants and you have to pay. Even bars and restaurants sometimes charge! My photo asking for money was taken inside a cheap bar. It may only be 1 or 2 Zloty, but why pay?
The other issue is access. Across the Old Town many toilets are in restaurants and bars that can only be accessed by able bodied people down cellar steps. The issue is made worse because you have to climb back up as well. Put a charge on top of that and it’s a real insult.
Keep a few Zloty coins with you just in case. You can always give them to the street performers. In bars/restaurants where there is no attendant don’t bother leaving any coins. If there are any coins, grab them and give them to the street performers. Men, you already know some other sneaky alternatives. If desperate just ask nicely or urgently for the toilet. People are nice and will let you. You can sort it out later. Please note: the word ‘toilet’ is not a rude word in Europe. You can write down ‘WC’ which would also be understood or a triangle/circle symbol.
*Always pack ‘wet-wipes’ so you never have to worry if they have paper.
Most of the good, clean and free toilets are in any large hotel lobby. I recommend you use them. McDonalds is always available, but I find they are usually nasty because of all the other tourists looking for non-pay toilets. Good restaurants are usually large enough for you to sneak into. If challenged make hand gestures like washing your hands. You could also order a beer and then use the toilets. Then you have a nice beer waiting upon your return to the table!
I have included a link on how to find the few disabled toilets in Krakow below. Even some of the luxury hotels have toilets up stairs with no lift.
DISABLED TOILETS IN KRAKOW
Krakow - a tourist trap all on its own...
Well, this might be a generalisation, but Krakow IS the most popular tourist destination in Poland. For good reason i guess. Walking through the Sukiennice (main market square) you're likely to hear more english than polish...
Unique Suggestions: Go in Winter... i know this sounds depressing (it does get bloody cold), but there are therefore bound to be less tourists wandering the streets, and it is much less congested... and of course, easier to find accommodation.
Fun Alternatives: Or, why not try Lublin? or Zakopane? Czestochowa? Gdansk? the list of alternatives is loooooong, and many other cities in Poland are just as beautiful as Krakow, with just as much history...Related to:
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Budget Travel
- Adventure Travel
Cafe Ariel: decent food, fake atmosphere
During my first trip to Poland, I had the chance to meet many people involved in the revitilization of the Jewish quarter, Kazimierz. While most of the stores and restaurants that have opened in Kazimierz do a good job of capturing the Jewish past, I was soon warned about Ariel, one of the restaurants on the main street. If you're looking for a Disney-like Jewish experience, then Ariel is the place to go. Jewish figurines, menorahs, and other trinkets practically explode inside, making the atmosphere feel forced and phony. The food is decent, but the high prices reflect the restaurant's purpose: to cater to unsuspecting foreign tourists who are looking for a good Jewish experience.
Unique Suggestions: Eat there on a night when a Klezmer band is playing. Again, it's over-the-top, but the music is fun at least.
Fun Alternatives: Skip Ariel and go next door to Alef, which is much more realistic and authentic. The two restaurants, which at one time fought over the name Ariel, have long been at odds with each other.
Taking a taxi
Taking a taxi always remember to take so called "Radio" Taxi. It’s the one that you can call for and has it’s phone number and a name of the company written on the side of the car and on the roof.
Don't ever take other then asociated Taxis! The private, not asociated ones are very expensive and the price is sometimes 10 times higher.
Some of my favourite companies’ numbers:
91-91 Radio Taxi
You'll find these guys around the city, or they'll find you actually... Common street hustlers looking for the rubes, so to speak. They will offer to take you anywhere you want to go, whether you'll actually get there may be another story. We had one offer to take us to the airport for 150 zl, a trip that actually costs about 8 zl for 2 people. I'll gve the guy credit, he was pretty funny, but I think, um...not.
Unique Suggestions: If you need a taxi, just go with a real, established company. If in doubt, ask your hotel to call one for you. the ones outside the KRK Baltice airport are pretty reliable, but buckle up, cause they drive like hell...whoohoo!
Fun Alternatives: Buses and trains are cheap and easy to find, and walking is free.
About toilets ;)
First thing about toilets in Krakow - most of them are toilets you have to pay at least 1 zloty. For me this price is still quite big, sometimes, lets say, in bus station, it is 2 zloty, the same as botle of beer in Lithuania :)
At Wawel castle there is toilets too - but quite strange thing - near the doors to toilet is written "Pay as you think is Ok". I had some smaller coins and payed about 0,7 zloty, but girl havent took them and said to pay 1 or more than 1 zloty. So...why when it is so not correct writing near doors?
Another way about toilets - in some places in Poland and Krakow the signs of "man" and "woman" toilets is different than usually. So, dont confuse yourself.
Unique Suggestions: "Problems" solving - 1) free toilets is inside bars, restaurants; 2) Pay girl 1 zloty or more :); 3.) dont confuse about different toilet signs "man", "woman" or go to toilets where signs looks usual to you.
Restaurant at Wawel Hill - avoid at ALL costs!
Avoid the restaurant situated just next to the ticket sales hall (not sure what the others are like)! The food is horrible, the portions are tiny, and not at all worth the visit! After having really great food and service in Krakow, this was a huge disappointment!!
Unique Suggestions: Either try another restaurant at Wawel Hill, or just not at all!
Fun Alternatives: Some great restaurants in Grodzka street, or around the main square.
AUSCHWITZ 2nd camp TIPS 7
Birkenau entrance ....we are waiting our bus that runs every hour in the afternoon and while we were sitting we saw arriving a jewish young guys with a huge beard and long ponytails in their comb...a weird hairstyle..!!!!
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AUSCHWITZ 2nd camp TIPS 4
Inside a Barrack..bunk beds on each side and theu have a stove in the middle with 2 chimney on each end
the barrack is 30m long and 10 wide made in wooden and looks pretty cold in winter with several cracks and holes where the cold gets in
After finding Sodispar online I was impressed by what they seemed to offer, and the price at which...more
This hotel was very pleasant. The rooms were comfortable, the staff friendly and english speaking....more
I had an excellent stay at Cracowdays in September 2011. I received an email from them less than an...more
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