We ❤️ Krakow

Wednesday 20th April – Monday 25th April 2022

Have just returned home after 5 fabulous days in Krakow – first trip to Poland for Steve and I. What a magical city – packed with history and architectural splendour, so much to see and do.

It was a trip away with our running club – the invincible Redway Runners. So in between the sightseeing and partying there really was some running (more for some than others) – honest!! We have absolutely loved spending time with our running buddies and making some new friends too … and it’s absolutely true what they say – “what happens on tour, stays on tour!”

Day 1

After a 3am start to the day, flight from Luton, train from airport into Krakow city and a walk to the hotel, we settled for a light lunch on the river after check in and a little ramble around the local area before a much needed afternoon snooze.

The quite amazing Father Bernatek’s bridge – adorned with sculptures of acrobats and lovers’ padlocks!

Headed into Krakow Main Square in the evening to meet up with the gang – drinks and dinner and not too late a night – such a great start to the trip.

He seemed to be having a good time!!

Day 2

How else would you want to start the day but with a 5km run along the river, all running at our own paces and a jolly good time was had by all. Explored a bit more of the area at the same time and then rewarded ourselves with coffee and delicious cakes (as you do)!

A little more sightseeing in the afternoon – Steve and I ventured to the Jewish cemetery and then into the Jewish Quarter – some fascinating history.

The Jewish Cemetry
Hamsa ‘hummus and happiness’ restaurant – became our favourite eating place of the holidayin the Jewish Quarter.

We spent some time in the Main Square (including the Rynek Underground Museum) before a walk up to the station to meet Alice, Ellen and James arriving from the Airport. Great to all be together. Tram back to the hotel and a quick turn around for them as meeting the RR gang back in the square. Another fun evening with dinner in the cellar.

Steve with our very friendly waiter.

Day 3

A sobering but essential day today as we set off early for our trip to Auschwitz and Birkenhau Concentration Camps. Nearly hit a problem when they required ID but they very kindly accepted what we had … including Jo’s cinema pass!

It goes without saying that to witness and learn in detail about this unmatched atrocity, so respectfully delivered by our guide, was something necessary and humbling.

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. George Santayana.

The sign above the entrance to the Auschwitz gates reads … “Work sets you free.” The people arrived with hope of resettlement.
The entrance to the gas chamber and the grim historical facts.
We moved on to the Birkenau camp and learnt of even more unbelievable atrocities.
For ever let this place be a cry of despair and a warning to humanity.

Finished Day 3 off with drinks in our hotel bar, dinner in Hamsa Restaurant in the Jewish Quarter and a quick night cap in a very lively Irish Bar.

Day 4

It’s Saturday … it’s 9 o’clock …. so it’s Parkrun. A little tricky getting there as a different course to usual being used and the taxi drivers didn’t have clue … or should I say we didn’t have a clue and couldn’t make ourselves understood. But after some stress and a lot of uphill walking we all arrived in time.

Krakow is known to be an easy and flat Parkrun but oh no … not today … they literally went from one extreme to the other. Due to an inline skating marathon on the usual route, we were banished to a forest and an incredibly steep hilly one at that. Stunning scenery but just ridiculous in terms of running … but we did laugh afterwards … well eventually!!

While most of the others went off to register for this evening’s 10k Krakow run, we sloped off for some different afternoon and evening activities.

Steve, Alice, Ellen and James bravely set off on a 3 hour bike ride around the city.

I on the other hand spent some Nobby No-Mates time exploring churches, castles and other historical must-sees.

I climbed up into the bell tower of this magnificent cathedral in the Wawel Royal Castle.
Art installation in Ghetto Heroes Square
Remaining ghetto walls – “Here they lived, suffered and died …”

And no holiday is complete without a boat trip and so it was the ‘Trusty Five” boarded at 8pm for a river night cruise … well rewarded by views.

Before retiring after our weary day, we headed up to the Main Square to cheer our friends off at the start of their 10k run. Also moved down to encourage them on again at the 7k marker. Great representation from the Redway Runners and superb running. Fooled by the quad bike tailing, I presumed my pals Sheila, Sue and Karen had dipped out and so we caught the tram home. But my heroes did make it all the way and within the allocated time (albeit alone and in darkness) … and rightly so are chuffed with their achievement … although questioning their sanity!

Day 5

Our final day started off with a 5k run with a small mixed paced group. Luckily Lee kept me company at the back while Steve and his faster chums looped to keep us in sight. Beautiful run around the city parks and up to Wawel Castle then along the river. Lee and I left them to it at 5k and slunk off for coffee. Steve and Michelle then joined us for breakfast at Hamsa – a Jerusalem breakfast (otherwise known as scrambled eggs on toast with salad).

Taking it easier today we even made time for a sauna and chill out for a couple of hours before meeting the ‘young ones’ in the Sky Bar for cocktails.

Alice, Ellen and James then headed off to the airport for their flight home. We stayed in the Jewish Quarter for a ‘big meet up’ and managed drinks outside for an hour, until the heavens opened. Wandered off in our different groups for dinner. We had the best time ever for our last night – the best company, lots of laughs, good food and wine … even singing!

Then Steve, Sue, Phil and I ‘wobbled’ home on the cobblestones to our hotel – The INX Design Hotel (thoroughly recommend) for a much needed last night’s slumber.

A quick last pic outside our hotel – farewell Krakow …. it’s been a blast!!

Well we won’t forget this trip in a hurry – have loved everything. A lot of teasing, a lot of laughs, a lot of walking, running and sightseeing … and Steve tried his hand at organising – but I believe Lee’s in charge now! Our very first Redway Runners tour – hope they’ll be more.

Cheers everyone x