Krakow is known as one of the most attractive tourist places in Poland. Such big city with rich historic background simply can’t be unattractive (:
As it often happens the Market square is a central part of a city. A huge space where marketing goes since ancient times. Nowadays it’s mostly a huge souvenir market for tourists. There are two main parts: permanent part under the roof and temporary street part with constantly changing pavilions.
In Krakow it turned out that the winter here is not as nice as in Western Europe. It was around 10-12 degrees below zero. Herbal tea from street shops helped a lot. We took a ginger tea, but it tastes not like a tea with a bit of ginger, but more like a ginger drink which makes you feel warm (especially your throat from the inside :) ).
Besides squares and beautiful architecture there are many museums in Krakow. The most interesting is Schindler’s Factory in Krakow (exactly the Schindler there is a movie about). Unfortunately I wasn’t lucky enough and came there only at 17.00, while at Monday it works just till 14.00. Moreover it was quite a walk by a fronen street. So I had to come here on the next day (:
Krakow also has Wawel castle with interesting history. It was almost constantly in the process of demolition and reconstruction during all 700 years of its existence. Huge fire in 1499, then another one a hundred years later (in 1595). Then 14 years later the King leaves the castle (though coronation is still held in the castle). Then is was looted in 1655 and burned by Sweden in 1702. After Sweden there were Austrian who used the castle as barracks. Only in the beginning of last century is was bought back by Polish government and they started the reconstruction.
Recently the Pope was Saint John Paul II who was a Pole. Therefore in Wawel Castle you can find a statue of him. Just in front of The Royal Archcathedral Basilica of Saints Stanislaus and Wenceslaus on the Wawel Hill.
It gets dark quite fast here. Once the sun completely gone, just one blink and it’s dark. Though it’s about the same during the Russian winter.
There is a nice view from a hill where Wawel is located.
I had a chance to see how Polish celebrate New Year. In Europe the main even is Christmas, and the New Year is more like a side celebration. Though still it's widely celebrated. But once clock showed 12:00 and the New Year finally came most of people start to slightly go home. However even here I saw a couple of street fights. Drunk people behave like drunk everywhere and they are the ones who like to have a fight. Strangers even made a shower from champagne to cool down one extremely hot guy. Which might be not really clever in the middle of winter when the temperature is below zero. It's not Thailand or Singapore in the end where people have a tradition to water each other during New Year.
At the January 1st everybody rests. So probably you can do some sightseeing without entering inside. Therefore almost the ideal place to go was Tyniec abbey ("almost" as there was a museum, which of course was closed). And a couple of castles nearby.
They have a lot of different castles here. Every castle has its own history. Some of them now function as hotel. Like this one:
Nearby there there is a real desert. Though it’s not that nearby. Around 150km, which is a bit far for us. Especially in winter (: