This week I have been on a university trip organised by Further & Higher Travel to Krakow in Poland.
Unfortunately due to the risks of Corona Virus all of our educational trips were cancelled, however we did managed to still visit lots of tourist attractions; before they also closed towards the end of the week. We are feeling very lucky now as Poland have banned visits from other countries.
Krakow was beautiful, picturesque and clean. With so much to see and do we were able to fill our free time easily.
Our hotel was Hotel Pod Wawelem . The location of the hotel was great, it was along the river with lovely views. You could see the castle from the hotel and it was just a short walk to the main square where there was an abundance of shops and restaurants. Our room was modern, had tea and coffee facilities and the shower was powerful! Tea and a good shower are a must for me when travelling. The hotel also has a great restaurant with a range of meals and a rooftop bar with very reasonably priced drinks! One night we even ordered chips to take to our room, which was no problem at all.
Wieliczka Salt Mine:
Further and higher travel very kindly organised us a group trip to the Salt Mine as our other trips were cancelled.
We visited Wieliczka Salt Mine an amazing historic mine. Be warned though this is not for those with mobility issues! You have to walk down over 800 steps. The mines are difficult to describe as they are so beautiful and definitely have the wow factor. We went down 136 metres and explored so many rooms, chapels and saw many salt statues. The chandeliers are incredible and are made of salt. The tour was very informative and our tour guide was hilarious.
It is such a vast place, the tour guide explained that the mine actually goes down 300 metres over 9 floors which is deeper than the height of the eiffel tower. It is really difficult to comprehend how big the mines are. Amazingly it would take over a year to walk the whole area of the mine. There are a few shops at the mine which have some reasonably priced souvenirs – especially the bath salt! Once you have reached the end of your tour and its time to return to civilisation you have to go in a metal lift (basically a cage) which is an interesting experience; thankfully it is quick trip taking only around 45 seconds from bottom to top.
We already had a trip planned through the tour company to Auschwitz
This was a very emotional trip, but I was glad we visited and it was powerful to really understand more about what happened and the terrible conditions that people suffered in and the incredibly sad loss of lives. This is somewhere I would recommend visiting as having knowledge about history throughout the world is so important for future generations.
The rest of our trip we explored the local Krakow area. We went on a great little tour in an electric car where we were shown all the main sites including Hero Square, The Ghetto, Schindlers’ factory, churches and Wawel Royal Castle. We also went on a horse and carriage ride was also great fun and value, the ladies offered us 100 zloty off which made it worked out to be about £17.50 each for the 4 of us for a 40 minute tour.
There are a few bars/cafes I would recommend visiting:
Alcatraz bar and restaurant: You eat and drink in prison cells! We have seen photos of people in overalls but we presume these were not available due to Coronavirus.
Mr Vavelsky bar: This is also underground, there is a dragon statue in the ceiling. We enjoyed karaoke there with only the DJ and one other polish guy which was great fun haha! Later in the evening a bar crawl appeared of about 40 people so we left shortly after, the barman made us some special cocktails which weren’t on the menu which was cool!
Harry Potter cafe: Also underground you can buy all types of drinks and sweet treats in a themed cafe. I loved my drink which had dry ice in it, which was a great effect.
Overall we had a wonderful time full of laughter, drama and wonder! The organisation of the trip was superb. Of course a lot of thanks also goes to the university tutors too for managing the physical organisation of all 33 of us students. I’ll sure miss my university trips next year when I progress onto my next University training elsewhere.