Kraków

After a 7 hour bus ride from Warsaw we arrived at the main station in Kraków. It was dark and cold so we decided against trying to figure out public transport and opted for a taxi. We arrived at our hostel which had really good vibes, the staff were friendly and everyone staying there was really nice. We locked our bags up in our 14 person dorm and headed out for dinner. The location of our hostel was perfect as it was a 1 minute walk from the main square. We ended up deciding to have Indian because I have an obsession with garlic naan bread and we were also craving a curry. It was a cheap dinner and absolutely delicious but very spicy. We were pretty tired after our long day of sitting on a bus (lol hard life), so we went back to the hostel and had a drink at the bar then headed for bed. We had a pretty bad sleep as a result of three boys that obviously had never heard of hostel courtesy, coming in the room at 12am, 2am and 4am and turning the lights on every time, talking loudly as if no one was asleep. The next day we woke up at 7am to watch the AFL grand final. We went to a pub in the main square that was surprisingly full of Aussies and serving beer (to Sams great pleasure). The game itself was quiet a let down but it was nice being surrounded by familiar accents. After the game we went for a bit of an explore around town, it is a beautiful place and hardly any of it was affected by WWII as the nazis occupied the area. That afternoon Sam wasn’t feeling too well with a really high temperature and a bad headache so we had an afternoon nap. Once he was rested enough we went and got a sandwich and had a drink at a bar on the square. That night we did the pub crawl that was put on by our hostel. The first hour was unlimited free alcohol of any kind, we played “slappy cup” – I’d love to explain it to you but I never really got my head around the rules – and another game called vodka roulette which is just a whole bunch of shots full of either water or vodka and you spin the bottle… I’m sure you can imagine how that ended. We went to three bars and that’s all I really remember.

The beautiful Main Square.
The beautiful Main Square.

The next day we went to Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration camp. Seeing this place was the main reason that we traveled through Poland. It’s a chilling site and I found it hard to actually comprehend the amount of innocent people that were treated in such a horrifying way. A lot of the area was burnt and destroyed by the nazis as the camps were being liberated and they attempted to hide the evidence of the genocide that they had committed, but there are still remains of the terrible history that will forever be a memory of the inhumane ways that people were treated. The tour went for 7hours including transport, so by the time we got back it was dark and we were both still processing the concentration camp. We ate dinner quietly, occasionally discussing the horrible things we had seen, both agreeing it was so hard to imagine such cruelty and appreciating how lucky we were to not have been born in a time of such brutality.

The memorial plaque at Birkenau.
The memorial plaque at Birkenau.
"Death Gate" at Birkenau.
“Death Gate” at Birkenau.

We went back to the hostel and had a few drinks with some people we’d met the night before and then headed to bed. The next day we packed our bags and headed for the bus stop, next stop – Budapest, Hungary. Xx

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Kraków

Berlin

So after missing our overnight bus to Berlin from Amsterdam, we finally arrived at 7pm to our hostel. After two trains to reach our hostel, we were greeted by a rude receptionist who pointed us in the direction of our room. This so called room reminded me of a war hospital, first of all it was in the basement, it had no natural lighting… Actually it had no lighting other than a tiny lamp next to our squeaky bunks and to top it off it had 2 showers between 24 people.. Great. The room was cold and damp. Displeased with where we were going to be resting our heads we headed out to meet one of our friends from home. He took us to the most delicious burger place… Definitely the tastiest burger I’ve eaten in Europe (and the only burger.. But stil).

Yummm
Yummm

Having been to Berlin once before, I wasn’t keen to go to the club I had already been to, and seeing as Berlin has some of the best nightlife in the world, we were spoilt for choice. We decided to try Watergate but soon discovered it was closed on Sunday’s. Instead of giving up, we asked two locals walking by where we should go out. After looking us up and down, they announced that we weren’t dressd for Berghain (one of the hardest clubs to get into in Europe apparently), so they suggested a place called Sysophis which wasn’t too far by taxi. With no other leads, we decided to take their word and jump in a cab. On arrival we were greeted by an odd character that, instead of asking for our IDs, simply asked how old we were. He proceeded to look us up and down, once he was convinced we were the type of people that could “handle” the club he told us to be nice to his people (whatever that is supposed to mean). He took all of our phones and put stickers on the camera lenses (no photos in this place as it’s super underground).

We walked through to a place that I find hard to put into words, and seeing as I could not take photos to attempt an explanation I will have to try my best to paint a picture for you (nothing I say will do this place justice). Let’s just say I spent the first hour trying to think of ways to explain this place to my friends back home. The majority of this “place” (for lack of a better word) was open air, there was a lake, an open fire, hammocks, random objects hanging from trees, lampshades made of curtains, lights… So many disco lights and the people that inhabited this place were a species of their own. There was two indoor rooms playing repetitive beats, with so much smoke that visibility was non existant. There were people asleep, noses touching, next to speakers bigger than my bedroom door (probably one of the reasons photos are prohibited). This place had shops and couches and beds, let’s just say everything that was in the place was there primarily to give those with altered states of mind the best time possible. Anyway, after leaving as the sun was rising, I felt like we had been given a good taste of the Berlin underground scene.

We slept all day and night and decided that we needed to leave our dungeon room and see some more of what Berlin had to offer. We jumped on a train and had a look at the Berlin wall, the artwork was amazing. We went to one of the coolest sneaker stores and had a look a few of the cute little boutique stores that line the streets of Warscheur (the station right near the Berlin wall). We went to Alexanderplatz and saw the cute Oktoberfest themed market that offered all kind of German delicacies.

Berlin Wall!
Berlin Wall!
Alexanderplatz markets
Alexanderplatz markets

After that we ate lunch and went back to our hostel to pack our bags and head to the bus stop. We felt like we needed another two days to really experience Berlin, but we didn’t have that kind of time especially after missing a full day as s result of the bus that we missed… Oops. Maybe next trip to Europe we will allow more time, because it seems like an amazing city with many hidden treasures. Next stop is Warsaw, Poland. Xx

Berlin

Warsaw

We arrived in Warsaw at 5am on a bus that had no reclining seats and little-to-no leg room. We had been travelling for around 10 hours and as soon as I had started the inevitable head-bobbing that accompanies your body’s ache for sleep it was time to get out. It was 5 degrees and pitch black. We decided to follow the crowd as we were too tired to think about finding our own way to any sort of transport. Once the cold had woken me sufficiently enough to be able to tackle the journey, I snagged some wifi and put our hostel into the best app in the world – Google maps. It was one train away (thank god). Once we got off at our stop it was still dark, I directed us to our hostel to discover it was in a gated neighbourhood (yay). We got through the gate as an old man was leaving. We rang the bell for our hostel but as we had suspected, no one was answering – it was 5.40am after all. We waited outside until 7am when we decided to retreat to a cafe on the corner. It had delicious coffee and speedy wifi so we were happy. At 9 we went and checked in, and to our delight our private room was ready! We slept for a a few hours and then decided to go for a walk. Warsaw wasn’t what I expected – in saying that, I don’t really know what I expected. It was never really on our list of travel destinations but we figured we would check it out as we had a few days to spare. I’m glad we did, we walked through the beautiful Park Łazienkowski which had a floating castle and a species of bird that looked almost cartoon-like.

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We headed back for some late lunch and discovered that Poland provides value for money. The €4 margarita I ordered was unfinishable.

Bloody huge!
Bloody huge!

That night we decided to take full advantage of our private room and watch 2 movies with plenty of snacks. The next day we woke up for a not-so-free walking tour through tthe old town. The old town is the kind of beautiful you’d see on a post card. however the beauty of the town was tainted when we found out that most of it was only about 40 years old – if that. Sadly 85% of Warsaw was wiped out by Nazi Germany in WWII, so the whole town is an exact recreation of what was destroyed; which is pretty impressive in itself.

The beautiful not-so-old Old Town
The beautiful not-so-old Old Town

We ended the tour with a shot of Polish vodka (vodka was invented in Poland – the earliest record of this harsh spirit is in the 15th century). After the tour we had some traditional Polish food for lunch which consisted of meat dumplings with gravy and spinach dumplings with butter… They were nothing to write home about… So I won’t.

Here's a picture though...
Here’s a picture though…

We then caught the tram back towards our hostel and did a little bit of shopping (couldn’t resist Sephora much to Sams distain). We decided to cook pesto pasta for dinner and have a quiet night because tomorrow we are off to Kraków – where the hostel we booked emailed me warning that it is a party hostel and to reconsider if that is not our vibe. Can’t wait! Xx

Warsaw