First Day in Bike Friendly Krakow

My train arrived at 6:30 from Vienna.  I was a bit confused on which way to exit out of the Krakow train station. The train station has a huge mall attached to it, but I was trying to bypass it and finally found overhead signs that said Old Town. I went in that direction.

Since I use Verizon in the US, I initiated my $10 (a day) Travel Pass which enables me to use the minutes and data of my US plan.  My husband wanted me to use the travel pass until I finally connected with my mom and sister.  I was fine with that because I wanted a way to call him just in case of an emergency, and it is nice to have the data available.

This was one of those times I was happy that I had my data because I was able to map where my hotel was and watch myself on Google maps as I was walking toward it.  I had gotten completely turned around and the hotel was quite a bit farther from Krakow Glowny than I thought it was.  I LOVED crossing Rynek Glowny in the early morning.  I was the only one in this square; it was so peaceful and beautiful this early in the morning.

The hotel I am staying in is Hotel Pod Wawelem.  This is a great, smallish hotel.  I really love the location. It is right by the river and next to the Wawel Castle.  The room was basic, but had everything I needed.  I arrived to the hotel at about 8:00.  I knew they wouldn’t check me in; I just wanted them to hold my bag.  The guy at the desk was extremely helpful and stored my bag. I had noticed some bikes locked up outside so I asked him if it were possible to rent a bike.  To my surprise he said yes, but I didn’t have to rent it.  They are free to use for guests, I just needed to leave a deposit. I had forgotten to go to an ATM before I arrived at the hotel so I didn’t have any Polish zloty, but thankfully the desk took euros as the deposit.

I had a busy schedule today.  There was so much I wanted to see today.  First I wanted to go see the grounds of Plasnow Concentration Camp. Then climb Krakus Mound since I would be so close to it anyway.  Then head over to Schindler’s Factory Museum. I then crossed over the Most Kotlarski Bridge. Then headed West along the river. I rode by Galeria Kazimierz and decided to stop in there.  It was a normal mall with cinema and a grocery store.  I decided to grab some food at the grocery store for lunch. I then continued West a little further until I reached the Jewish Quarter of town. I parked my bike on Dajwor Road, and decided to walk this park of town.  I wanted to walk by all the synagogues in this area; I believe there were about 6 synagogues within three blocks.  They were all so beautiful. I then grabbed my bike and rode by Plac Nowy.  I then went to Corpus Christi Basilica, the Church on the Rock, then Wawel Castle.

After my action packed morning/afternoon, I went back to the hotel and checked in.  I took a break for about an hour, then decided to head back out again.  I used the bike once again, and decided to head back up to Rynek Glowny.  What a change the square made from early morning to late afternoon!!  The whole square was packed with people and cafes.  It was fun to ride a bike through the large square.  I found a bike rack and locked up my bike to walk around.

Rynek Glowny

Rynek Glowny is the central square in Krakow.  It is quite huge.  St. Mary’s Basilica and the Cloth Hall dominate the square.

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St. Mary’s Basilica. 

I visited St. Mary’s Basilica. I decided to sit for the 18:30 mass. Those wanting to attend mass enter the doors in the front of the Basilica, then tourists can come in on the South entrance and pay a fee.

Then I walked around the square. I enjoyed watching the entertainment provided on the square; a lot of entertainers entertaining kids.  The Church of St. Wojciech was a beautiful, small building on the south side of the Cloth Hall.

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The Exterior of the Cloth Hall.  There are shops along the bottom of the building.
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The Interior of the Cloth Hall is an open market.  The stalls sell similar items.  I loved how colorful everything was.

The Cloth Hall is so beautiful on the outside! I loved walked in and finding that it was filled with shops.  The items sold here were a lot of wood items, like chess games, jewelry boxes; gems; souvenir plates and mugs; stuffed animals; lace items; scarves.  There seemed to be a lot of the same items being sold in all the booths, but it was still fun to look around.

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Town Hall Tower.  This is on the South side of the Cloth Hall.

I then rode my bike back to the hotel.  The Square of the Grand Army of Napoleon (right outside the hotel) is very active at night.  A lot of skateboarders and people out for strolls.  Many people are still biking along the river path.

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