Sunday, March 11, 2012

Krakow, First Impressions

The flight from Dortmund to Krakow was a quick 2 hour hop on Easyjet. For those not familiar with budget airlines in Europe, Easyjet is a UK-based carrier with service to a number of cities in continental Europe for an ultra low price! This particular flight after all taxes cost just 25 euros per person! Mind you, that doesn't include luggage or any other fees they might tack on so keep that in mind if you plan a trip with them.

From the plane, there were some nice views of the Polish countryside.

Probably the easiest way to get to the city from Krakow Airport is to take the bus all the way to the main train station, Glowny Krakow, in the city center. The bus station is located just across from this huge sign - tickets can be purchased from the machine here; if you need help, any of the locals or even the bus driver can help you.

Looking back at the airport from the bus station while waiting for the bus. If this is your first time to Krakow, its not really necessary to exchange to Polish zloty at the airport as the exchange rates are quite poor. Once you reach the city center, particularly in the old town square, you should be able to find a number of exchange booths where you can get much better rates. Do keep in mind you'll need a little cash to buy the bus ticket though!

By the time we reached Krakow, it was pretty dark so there was nothing left for us to do except wander around town to take pretty night shots. Here's a shot of the famous Sukiennice Hall/Museum, once a thriving cloth market.

Nearby to its east is St Mary's basilica on the left and the Town Hall Tower to the south on the right side, reminding me somewhat of the architecture in the Old Town Square in Prague

Another shot of Sukiennice with the Town Hall Tower. The square is quite expansive, much like the Old Town Square in Prague with beautiful lighting giving an almost surreal, almost magical feel to the place!

As you wander a bit further south on Grodzka, you'll hit the Church of St Peter and Paul with its stunning statues standing guard outside.

At this point, you should almost be able to see one of the more famed landmarks of Krakow, Wawel Castle, home of the Polish Kings of old. Now there was actually a reason why we wandered all the way down to the castle at night other than to take beautiful night shots of the castle - of course, that was to grab a long awaited dinner at Pod Wawelem, definite must on a stop in Krakow.

On the way back to the hotel, I couldn't resist taking another shot of the Town Hall Tower and the interior of the Sukiennice building.

As Poland is the home of the poet of the piano Frederic Chopin, it is of little wonder why statues of the grand piano can be found all over the city - this was the first of many ^_^

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