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Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Travel Tuesday: Why Visit Poland?

My dearest fellow travellers, 

We all know that once you start visiting new places, discovering new countries, it's hard to come back to a static life in front of the computer with an 8+ hours a day shift. We want more, we thirst for more, we sometimes fall in love with a place and... we might even become expats, immigrate. I choose Poland and it was an odd choice to make, according to my friends. I never saw it as such, I always saw Poland as an opportunity, a lovely place filled with history and remarkable stories; beautiful architecture and fattening dishes that go well with the local vodka ;) Each time one of my friends would ask why I choose Poland, Krakow, I would invite them to come and see with their own eyes. That's also why I write about Poland in this blog - I write about Poland as I wish everyone knew it at least as I do: up close and personal.
Mural in Warsaw
When people ask me why they should visit Poland I start telling them about it's beauty and you could get me talking for hours without end... so I'll try my best to be very brief and to the point today. I'll even use bullet points to try and keep it simple. Fingers crossed! So without further delay, I give you my #twistedredladybug reasons why you should visit Poland:
1) The Second World War history steps - starting with a painful (But necessary, #lestweforget !) tour of Auschwitz and Birkenau, followed by a visit to the Schindler Museum on Lipowa 4 in Krakow & a walking Jewish tour of Kazimierz. If you get to Warsaw make sure you are there on the 1st of August, when all the city stands still for one minute, at the hour when the Warsaw Uprising started.
Inside the Wieliczka Salt Mine
2) The wonderfully refreshing Salt Mines - Wieliczka Salt Mine is part of the UNESCO world heritage sites so it's a must! But you should also visit Bochnia - it's bigger, less crowded and you can do a boat tour on the inner salted lake ;)
3) The capital - Warsaw - is ways a good idea even for a day trip. We love doing That, as there is a pendolino train that connects Krakow to Warsaw and goes further on to Gdansk and Gdynia and Sopot (The tri-city at the seaside). If you are a fan of music you can go pay your respects to Chopin's heart, placed in one if the churches in Warsaw Old Town or visit the Chopin Museum. If you love history you will thoroughly enjoy the Warsaw Uprising Museum. Even if you don't like that... there are still plenty of shopping malls of nice cafes and restaurants that you might try ;)
Zakopane, Poland
4) The mountains - being in Poland and not visiting the mountains would be a waste... of course you might try Zakopane but during the season you might find it rather crowded... but that's not the only place you should visit. The Tatra's have spectacular views and places one could climb - if you are into climbing... well they are a must! 
5) The Eagle Nest Trail - a trail of castles that are mostly ruins but nevertheless impressive and majestic in their size and form. They have lovely stories to tell about the Polish history and not only. "Discover Cracow" team does a mean your that takes one full day, starting in Krakow, and takes you to see some if the prettiest ones, like: Ogrodzieniec, Bobolice and Ojcow.
Ogrodzieniec Ruins, Poland 
6) The castles and palaces throughout the country - it would be wrong of me not to mention the majestic Malbork Castle. The structure is the largest brick structure in Europe! It was destroyed partially during the Second World War but it had major renovation since then. There are guided tours available in English and you can surely make a day trip from Gdansk/Gdnia/Sopot. 
7) Krakow's Main Market Square - I may sound impartial, considering that I live in Krakow for over 6 years now... but who cafes! It's one of the most beautiful main squares in the world and it's the biggest one in Europe! It also holds the location of the first bookstore open in Europe as well.
8) The amazingly warm and friendly people - people who say otherwise have no clue what they speak of. In my 6 years in Poland I never felt threatened or misguided or offended in any way. People are nice and helpful and If you try to speak the language they will be ever more grateful - they know how hard their language is and they feel proud that one tries to study and speak it. 
9) The fattening dishes that go well with the local vodka - Oh! Don't get me started on that topic... It's all about meat, fat, potatoes and salads. And amazing soups, be it hot (like Rosol - chicken broth, Zurek - cream soup with eggs, sausage, potatoes and sometimes mushrooms) or cold (like the summer soups made out of strawberry or apple with cinnamon). Trying pierogi is a must! - my fave are with meat, fried, with pieces of bacon (boczek) on top. I generally prefer the fried ones than the boiled.
Boiled pork knuckle @ Pod Sukiennice, Krakow, Poland 
10) The holidays, the celebrations and the festivities - one things for sure, Polish people like good parties and long celebrations. Just take for example last month, June - June is the celebration month for Krakow. The city days combined with the Dragon Parade, Lajkonik (simbol of the city) Parade, Wianki Festival, The Air Show Picnic along with other smaller celebrations, sums up to the whole month filled with fireworks display, good music and amazing atmosphere. 
Now don't you go thinking I have only 10 reasons why you should visit Poland. Oh, no! I just don't want to overwhelm you... yet! I'll keep more mysteries for when you'll decide to come. If you do decide to come, please feel free to contact me via the Facebook Page. I would be more than happy to help you with tips and tricks about Poland ;) you just need to make up your mind - not "if" but "when" ;) hope to hear from you soon!

Yours sincerely,
The Twisted Red Ladybug That Loves Her Poland