05.10.2008 - 07.10.2008 14 °C
Matt typing - Krystal drinking!
Sunday the 5th of October
After a much much needed sleep we all awoke nice and refreshed and ready to tackle the city of Prague. Our first impressions of Prague were a little ordinary as our transfer from the airport to out hostel took us through the ''Getto'' area so to speak and it left a sour taste in our mouths. But as they say never judge a book by its cover and this was soon rectified as we wandered through the streets early Sunday morning.
The beauty of not heading out on Saturday night is that you get out early while everyone else is sleeping off their previous evening hangovers! First we headed to the banks of the Vltava River and took in some views of the famous Charles Bridge. Once satisfied, we headed to Prague Castle and its surrounding grounds and spent a couple of hours strolling around and enjoying the views, the buildings, and the sunshine. From there we headed to a little tourist hot spot called 'Golden Lane' This has got to be one of the worst things I have ever paid for! Even with our fake Student Cards we were headless that we dipped into our pockets for this place. To give you an idea of what this place was like picture this. Think of a lane about 30 metres long, five metres wide, filled side to side with souvenier stores and you get my point! Another moment where the local government traps the unfamilar tourist!
From here we headed back to the river and walked across Charles Bridge and made our way to the main High Street of Prague. Walked up the street towards to the National Musuem then onto a Catherdral before making our way back our hostel to call it a day. We made a quick stop at the railway station to arrange tickets for the next day then we headed to a local supermarket to pick up a couple of pre dinner drinks. From there we headed out for our final dinner with Jeremy and Fliss then headed back home, said our goodbyes to our fellow travellers and hit the sack.
Monday the 6th of October
With some time to kill before our train to Krakow we walked back to Charles Bridge and took some nice photos without the 10,000 tourists flocking there like the day before. Once happy with ourselves we picked up our packs and headed to the train station for our 2pm trip to Krakow, Poland. Not a great deal else to write really. 7 hours on the train, bored, Krystal smashing me in cards, and then arriving about 9:30pm tired and ready for bed. We made it the hostel about 10:30 which I would have to say is by far the best one we have ever stayed in anywhere so far and plonked into bed for some rest!
Tuesday the 7th of October
We decided that 2 days was going to be enough for us here so today was going to be full on to ensure we got through everything we wanted to do. Tomorrow was already taken with our trip to Auschwitz. First thing on the agenda was a visit to the Wieliczka Salt Mines about 15Kms South East of Krakow. After some bus confusion we found a couple of other travellers who were just as confused as us and the 4 of us shared a taxi to the site. Now I have been given some different opinions about this place, most good and only one negative. The negative one coming from a friend of ours who is Polish herself. We should have listened to the local girl and avoided this place. Very very gimmicked up and totally made for tourists with random stops in gift shops and being herded around like some cattle in a field. I must admit the Catherdral (Chapel of Saint Kinga) in the middle of the mine totally made from salt was impressive and the actual size of the place is huge (total length of 300km and maximum of 327m under ground) but other than that the only good thing that come from this visit was the lift back up to the surface! Oh and also we learnt that the word salery originates from Latin where its meaning is payment is salt. Good for the trivia quiz night I guess?????
Krystal typing now - Matt's turn for drinking!
After the salt mines we wandered into the main part of the old town to have a little look around. Checked out the main square which is a tad on the big side! Rynek Glowny is meant to be biggest town square in Europe. There is also a fairly big castle, but we both decided that over the past year we have both been castled out so decided to give it a miss. We both decided to head out of the main part of town and check out the orginal Jewish quarters. We crossed the river and made our way to Schindler's factory - for anyone who doesn't recongise this, it's the factory from the Steven Speilberg's true story of Schindler's List. We found the site, but there were quite a few factories there, all of which seemed to be in use, and all seemed to be quite run down. We wandered around for a little trying to figure out which one was Schindler's, bumped into another traveller and teamed up and found it. The Polish are in the process of creating a muesum out the front, due to open 2009 - we were too early! But we were both more than happy to have seen the factory ourselves.
After checking out the factory we decided to go have a drink with the guy we had just met, found out he happened to know a fair bit about the area. We crossed over The Most Krakusa Bridge back to the main part of town, and he explained this was the same bridge that the Nazis made all the Krakow Jews cross over to re settle in the ghetto to be seperated from the rest of society.
Had our drink, and then we headed off to purchase our train tickets to Berlin. Had some nice polish dinner and then made our way back to our hostel to update our blog! So there you have it, you are up to date!
Auschwitz tomorrow - something that we have both wanted to see first hand to fully understand.
Love Krystal and Matt