POLAND PT. I - KRAKOW

I've always wanted to go to Poland.  Maybe that seems a bit random, an honestly, it kind of is.  Most people's responses upon finding out I was going to Poland was "Why Poland?"   Well, for starters, every photo I've ever seen from Poland has been stunning.  Like, really, really beautiful.  And the photographer wannabe in me has been aching to go photograph that beauty for myself.  Also, I've always really wanted to go to Auschwitz.  Depressing as that may be, I feel like it's an experience I needed to have.  And it was, but that's a whole other post.  So anyway, I finished at the Globe and had a couple weeks still in Europe, so I thought I would travel.  
Everyone who's done it has raved about traveling solo.  It's an experience that everyone should have, you learn a lot about other people/places and about yourself, do it while you're young and can, etc...  So I stuffed a few necessities in my little Primark backpack, booked the necessary things, and hopped on a plane to Poland.  First stop, Krakow.
Remember how I said every photo of Poland I'd seen was stunning?  Yeah, the photos didn't do it justice.  Krakow was absolutely gorgeous.  The main central market of the old town, Rynek Głowny, was one of the most amazing places.  There's a huge old building in the middle of the square that creates a kind of hall in which merchants sell things from ornately carved wooden boxes, to dolls, to scarves and hats, to fur rugs, to glassware and china.  Surrounding the square are multicoloured buildings all connected to each other in a rainbow of old ornate architecture.  The thing about Krakow that astounds me is how the city was absolutely in ruins after the end of World War II, and everything you see there now has been rebuilt and reconstructed in just the past 70-80 years.  The Old Town, for example, isn't actually all that old, but keeps the spirit of the original Old Town enough that you'd never realize unless you knew the history.
I spent two nights in Krakow, and met some other people around my age at my hostel.  We ended up spending my secon evening there going out and exploring some of the nightlife, popping into a couple bars and pubs.  It was a really great time and nice to meet some fellow native English speakers.  Pretty much everyone in Poland speaks English, but it's not the first language, so unless you initiate as such, all that you really hear or see is Polish.  I took it upon myself to learn some basic essential Polish words (hello, goodbye, yes, no, please, thank you), and I'm sure I butchered them completely.  As for spelling them out... Forget about it.  Polish looks nothing like it sounds, or vice versa.

As I said, I spent two nights and a rough total of two whole days in Krakow.  Also as I said, I visited Auschwitz whilst there. That post coming up next, and it's a bit intense...

** For some reason, some of these photos posted in much worse quality than they were taken/edited...  I blame Blogger.  If I can get around to fixing them, I will, because obviously less pixel-y is better.

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