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As a former flight attendant, I've visited all European countries except Albania and Poland. Poland is Europe's 5th largest country. Aside for Lech Walesa, Copernicus, the Pope and ten years of Polish jokes I never understood, I knew nothing of this land. However, my interest peaked as it will soon be hot on the tourist trail and because my Chicago husband's family is from here. He accompanied me with an expression of delight in discovering his roots. I visited become educated and enriched by something new. We flew from Atlanta via JFK and Warsaw to Krakow for only 4 days. No rest for the weary with a head spinning itinerary. I favor to visit cities in the off season to mingle with the locals. It offers a far more authentic and intimate atmosphere.
On airport arrival, we're cheerfully greeted by Pavel who will be our driver throughout. He holds a pleasant sign "Suza Davis ".I say, "Hi, I'm Suzy from Atlanta." I chuckled when he responded, "Yes, downstairs of USA." We checked into Hotel Amadeus, a 16th century posh inn in the center throb of town center. Prince Charles once bedded inside our room, I'm told http://www.londonescortsevas.co.uk/.
We set out to search for dinner. The illuminated Old Town was stunning and filled with so many young adults, it made me feel elderly. 150,000 students reside in this university town. Krakow is Europe's premier party scene where they stay out until the birds sing. This historic district holds highest concentration of bars and restaurants in the world. We suddenly discovered Pierogi Garden, home of the freshest Polish dumplings. They were stuffed with sauerkraut, lamb, beef, berries, chocolate and even peanut butter. There have been 6 kinds of soups, all with beets which I abhor. Following a dozen dumplings, I had a melted ewe's milk cheese pancake that has been beyond delicious.
Poland experienced countless invasions throughout its history. After being ravaged by the Germans and then the Russians, it finally achieved independence in 1989 with the collapse of Soviet communism. Krakow was wired for destruction near the end of WWII by the Germans. They planned to blow it down once the Russians took over, fortunately the war ended hours before the program was carried out.
Today it remains one of many few cities remaining in its original form. With a population now of 780,000, it's morphed in to a trendy international capital. Vibrant and modern yet somehow retains its traditional culture with regal architecture. It's in Krakow where one finds the spirit of the brand new Poland.
On day 2, we were greeted by Anna who was strikingly beautiful. We began in the web of cobbled streets in Old Town which was intended for walking. It had been a maze of museums, chapels, galleries, cafes and hole in the wall pubs. Even yet in winter there clearly was entertainment with street dancers, mimes, accordion players and on one corner, I watched a knight in armor break-dancing.
We entered Market Square, Europe's largest medieval square where little has changed since 1257. It's crowned by the Bell Tower in which a bugler plays at the the surface of the hour. It drives the residents crazy at night. A must see is Cloth Hall where fishmongers, cloth merchants and bakers have sold their wares because the 14th century. Now it's a fabulous arcade of handicraft stalls.
We walked to the well preserved Jewish Quarter that will be now edgy with artistic character. Poland once held Europe's largest concentration of Jews at 3.5 million. Poland's kings during the center ages noted they certainly were being expelled elsewhere and invited them into augment the economy. Here they thrived until the holocaust and forced communism after WWII. These day there are only 180 left. We viewed the ghettos where Spielberg's famed movie was filmed and looked over the river to see Schindler's factory.