Krakow

Photopost from Krakow, where old women who only speak (presumably) Polish instinctively know you got lost in the industrial part of the city and send you on the right path with a smile and a blessing; where I got addicted to pierogi; where trains are nicer (and cheaper) than they are in most of the continent; where the tourism industry is developed enough for people to pester you at every corner, but new enough that the lady who sells raspberries by the railway station frowns and mutters under her breath (again, in Polish) when you try handing her 50 złoty.

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A note on Wieliczka Salt Mines:
wileThere is absolutely zero need to buy a tour from Krakow. These are usually 130 to 150 złoty per person for the bus ride and ticket, with the promise to save you from lengthy queues under the scorching sun. We jumped on a train from Krakow central station (7 złoty for the two of us) which took us to Wieliczka in 20 minutes, after which it’s a 5 minutes walk, tops, to the Salt Mines (and you can’t go wrong – there are signs everywhere). We lined up for our tickets (89 złoty each, plus 10 złoty for the right to take photos; the fee is not enforced but, you know, why steal 3 euros from a UNESCO site?). It took us all of 10 minutes to get to the front of the line, buy tickets, and be ready to start our tour (we chose the tourist route). And this was on a very, very busy Saturday afternoon in July.

Krakow Card, on the other hand, could be a good investment. Even if you don’t visit enough attractions to justify the expense (there are different options), waving a Krakow Card could get you into the Rynek Underground, St. Mary’s church, and Schindler’s Factory (three of the most popular attractions in the city) even after the infamous “Tickets Sold Out” sign has gone up (I assume because they have different pools of tickets). That’s what happened to us in all three places, anyway!

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