In the summer of 2008, I was blessed with the opportunity to visit Krakow, Poland for seven days. It was my first flight and my travelling companions were nineteen members of my church and youth group. Since it was my first flight, I was apprehensive of what to do or expect. As the trip progressed, I began to formulate a list of things that someone should—or perhaps never should—do upon visiting Poland.
First of all: No one has ever lived until they have gallantly suffered through forty-five minutes of Polish rap. As we arrived in Poland, we were escorted to taxis that carried us to our Hostel. The taxi’s radio blared the finest rap music the Polish language had to offer. Definitely an experience all travelers to Poland will not want to miss!
Two: If you perform music at nighttime, be sure to be packed up and silent before 11 p.m. Our youth group preformed a skit set to music every day in the main market of Krakow, the Rynek G?Ã³wny. We were informed of the rule ‘no public music after eleven each evening’. This rule leads us up to the next thing that you will not want to do.
Three: If spoken to, by a Polish Police officer, in Polish; no not reply to him by saying “We don’t understand or speak any Polish” in Polish. You will appear very ignorant, along with your entire group looking stupid. Also, the officers will not believe you and will assume that you have been drinking.
Four: When hungry in Krakow, Poland—go find something to eat! A wide arrange of wonderful Polish cuisine is available not only in the Rynek, but also at malls and the Wal-Mart of Poland—the Carrefour. Also, if worse comes to worse McDonalds, KFC, and subway are available for the American-minded foodie.
Five: While touring Krakow, do not be afraid to visit the surrounding cities for touring as well. Located in the Rynek itself are the sight-seeing wonders of the Cloth Hall, St. Mary’s Basilica, and St. Adalbert’s Church. In Wawel, a small city close to Krakow, you can visit the Gothic Wawel Castel. Inside the Castle gates stands the Castle, along with its Cathedral, and the entrance to the Dragon’s Den—the best-known limestone cave in Poland.
Six: If visiting the Dragon’s Den, be sure to take multiple embarrassing pictures of your friends as they descend the stairwell leading into the Dragon’s Den and attempt to scale the slippery rocks on the cavern floor. Also, take time out of your schedule to watch the solid iron dragon, that greets you as you exit the cave. Every few minutes, he breaths out a stream of fire—just don’t get too close!
Seven: Hint; if it smells like vegetables, even if it looks like a bread roll, it most likely is filled with vegetables. On the return flight, our group was served lunch, as expected. As the food trays came by, filled with what appeared to be bread rolls; I could not help but notice that I smelled the strong odor of cooked vegetables, or perhaps veggie soup. Once served our meal, we all realized that what we had been given was a vegetarian sub filled to near-explosion with green, veggie paste.
Eighth, and finally: Be sure to keep a journal of your travels and experiences to share with family and friends later on.
I hope at least some of this has helped you—it would have certainly helped me if I had known all of this before I left home!
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