Krakow and Prague

Krakow and Prague seem like just a blur now.  Coming off our great visit to the Baltic States, we spent 2 nights in each place.  In Krakow, we had the worst hotel fiasco of the trip.  The weekend that we visited, Krakow was hosting the Coca-Cola music festival, so all of the budget accommodations and campgrounds were packed with young Poles.  (Our 4 hour 2nd class train ride from Warsaw to Krakow was standing room only, but it was pretty jovial as our car was filled with young people on their way to dance the weekend away.)  Apparently the hostel that we thought that we’d booked (and arrived at tired and sweaty) only had an “advisement” from us, and the next night in a different hotel the room that we were going to stay in got flooded.

Despite the fates not willing us a comfortable night in Krakow, we did get our dose of Eastern European cooking.  Goulash, Pirogues, Kielbasa, Saurkraut: if it was meat or cream related we probably ate it!  Another highlight of Krakow was our trip out to Nowa Huta, a Socialist Realist neighborhood a 20 minute tram ride from the center.  We were expecting ugly cement architecture, dark alleys and imposing statues of Lenin and Stalin.  Well, the Lenin statue has been moved to a museum, and the neighborhood, though built from cement, was full of life on the Sunday afternoon that we visited.  The center square abuts a pedestrian only street full of trees that was hosting a free classical concert.  Young skaters with Justin Bieber haircuts and funny English on their t-shirts mixed with grandparents and families that had brought their own chairs to sit and listen to the music.  I appreciate beautiful architecture as much as any traveler, but at heart I’m a man of the people!

Talking about architecture, Prague is one of the most beautiful cities that we’ve ever visited.  While some places have nice old cities next to a new city, or pretty centers, all of Prague is stunning.  By the time we reached Prague we were a bit travel weary, but it was impossible not to walk our feet off seeing the different corners of the city.  And you have to walk to work up a thirst for all of the Czech beer!  If you have kids who are new to traveling or just want to see one part of Europe, it would be hard to go wrong with Prague.

Onto the west!

–Gabe

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