Poland

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Warsaw

  • Old town and Warsaw Castle – see how the city rebuilt itself after WWII; walk along the city’s main attractions such as the gothic St John’s Cathedral, the neo-classical Royal Route and the magnificent Lazienki Park
    • Warsaw is a fascinating city with an inspiring history. During WWII, Germany flattened over 95% of the city. Following the war, the city was rebuilt using paintings of the land and cityscapes from centuries before. Though less than 80 years ago Warsaw was destroyed, it looks as it has for hundreds of years.
  • Dawne Smaki for dinner- this is as Polish as it gets. The restaurant offered an authentic assortment of meats, cheeses, dumplings, and perogies. Polish dancers performed an interactive show and encouraged the visitors to join in. Following the meal, the restaurant provided a complementary taste of Polish made vodka. The friendly staff was helpful with translation.
    • Keep in mind that Poland does not use the Euro as their currency. They use a Polish zloty, which is incredibly weak compared to the dollar. A beer is less than $1 in most Polish bars, and a person can order a prime rib steak for about $18 at a 5 star Polish restaurant.
  • Polish Your Cooking – during this cooking class you will learn the culinary secrets which have been handed down from generation to generation; be ready for a feast of a lifetime you’ll eat your own prepared meal during the class
    • Polish food is a bit unfamiliar to most Americans. Taking a cooking class was helpful to understanding exactly what I was eating when I ordered out at restaurants.
  • Saxon Garden – it was inspired by Versailles, built in the 18th century under the order of the Saxon King August II. Its style was later changed to an English appearance. In 1727 it became one of the world’s first parks open to the public.
    • Renting bikes in the Saxon Gardin is a nice reprieve from the hustle and bustle of city life in Warsaw.

Krakow

  • Architecture – Krakow is a treasure trove of gothic and renaissance architecture; walk along some of the city’s main highlights such as the Wawel Cathedral on Wawel Hill, Mariacki Church and the Town Hall
    • sink in the hustle of narrow, intimate streets filled with shops, cafés, galleries and restaurants to discover Krakow
  • Kaziemierz – Krakow’s Jewish Quarter – learn about the district that housed Krakow’s Jewish population for over 500 years, and visit some of the oldest synagogues and monuments in the country, plus some of the best restaurants and nightlife in Krakow
    • A tour of the Jewish quarter is a good precursor to visiting Auschwitz. Being in the location of the familiar historical tragedy evokes emotions that cannot be felt by simply looking at photos. The film Schindler’s List, among other Holocaust based productions, were filmed in the streets of the Jewish quarters and ghettos that still remain today.
  • Auschwitz concentration camp – take a guided tour of the largest, most notorious German concentration camp and uncover the grim history of Auschwitz and its holocaust victims
    • The city of Auschwitz is located about an hour outside of the city of Krakow. This is the site where millions of Jews, Poles, and other minorities were sent to their deaths. Many think of Auschwitz as one large site used for the extermination of Jews; however, Auschwitz is a large city that contained over fifty large and small labor, concentration, and extermination camps. The two most familiar camps are Auschwitz I and Auschwitz-Birkenau. Both are drastically different and should be seen in tandem.
  • Wieliczka Salt Mines – take a breathtaking underground tour of one of the world’s oldest operating salt mines and see its various altars, statues and works of art carved out of salt
    • Upon first though, visiting salt mines sounds more like misery than fun. However, the Wieliczka Salt Mines are like no other. Under the catacombs hundreds of feet below the ground, small cathedrals, statues, and other artwork are carved out of the salt rock. Be prepared to pay a few dollars  if you want to use your phone to take photos.

 

 


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