I’ve arrived in Krakow at the crack of dawn and and I was still feeling a bit hazy from lack of sleep inside the bus. It took more or less nine hours from Vienna to Krakow, and I was just too giddy to sleep right away even though I was very tired from my day tour in Vienna. Who could sleep comfortably inside a bus though? Haha!
Arriving at the Krakow (Kraków) Dworzec Autobusowy MDA, I opted to use Uber to take me to the city center right where I made a booking for a couple of nights, after exchanging about 100 euros at the station for some Polish złoty. Just a little FYI – although Poland is a European Union member, they still use their own currency.
As mentioned above, I’ve booked two nights at the Ametyst Hostel and let me tell you that it is absolutely my favorite hostel during my whole trip. For one, the guy at the reception allowed me to check-in right away, thank goodness because I still need a couple or more hour of sleep. I stayed at a six-mixed dorm room and everything was just perfect! I’ve got my own locker, the bed was warm and comfy and it doesn’t feel cramp at all and their bathrooms are always clean! And the most wonderful thing about it is that, it is just five minutes away from the main square! Like seriously, it’s smack dab in the heart of the city! I just know that I’d definitely go back to Krakow and will stay with them again!
After getting some sleep for a few hours and feeling refreshed, I embarked on my very first winter in Poland! Haha!
Eros Bendato’ (Eros Bound) or The Head is the work of Polish artist Igor Mitoraj (1944 – 2014). This sculpture in the western corner of the market square is a popular meeting place and is one of the most popular landmarks in the city.
After the Wawel Cathedral, St. Mary’s Basilica is the most important church in Krakow. It’s construction was started in late 13th century on the foundations of a former Romanesque church. The new temple was consecrated around the year 1320. Over the centuries, the church underwent numerous reconstructions of both its exterior and interior.
I think I went back to the hostel past 11, I still need to wake up early the following day for the Auschwitz-Birkenau tour I availed via Klook!
Krakow will always have a special place in my heart. Ugh. Writing this part of the trip made me emotional for some reason. I hope to come back here real soon.
Let me tell you that for the most part of this trip, I’ve availed the service of FlixBus to take me from point A to point B and vice versa. Now, here’s a little peek of my day trip in Vienna before heading to Krakow, Poland.
Like Prague, Vienna isn’t on my original itinerary but since it’s just “nearby,” I thought that I might as well get a look of this beautiful and historical city which also happens to be the main location of one of my most favorite films of all time – Before Sunrise.
I had to leave my luggage at the Vienna West Station and only took a string bag, some granola bars and bought my one day transpo ticket to explore Vienna for the whole day. (Which I was not able to to use extensively by the way!)
After spending Christmas in Berlin, I headed straight to Prague and took the bus via Flixbus from Berlin Central Bus Station to Prague (ÚAN Florenc Bus Station) which is about four and half hours only. It was still midday when I made it to the capital city of the beautiful country of the Czech Republic. I always tell anyone that Prague is my most favorite part of my trip in Europe. It’s so unforgettable for me too because just when I was about to board the train on my way to my hostel, I suddenly got a very upset stomach. It felt like a full-blown diarrhea to be honest, and I was almost beside myself during that several minutes train ride, and when I got to the station, I couldn’t seem to find a water closet! I felt like my sweat was dripping all over my body despite of the cold and had goosebumps all over my body – lol, ya know that feeling? Ugh. It was horrible. I was even contemplating of paying a hundred euros to any establishment that would allow me to use their WC hahaha! ‘Kept on checking Google maps and I’ve realized that it would take me 20 more minutes of walking to get to the hostel ( I never considered a tram ride because I’m not confident that there won’t be any accident.) It was really horrifying, but looking back – it’s actually something that made my trip even more exciting! Lol.
So I was able to make it to my beautiful hostel, the Czech Inn. I absolutely loved this hostel! It’s very cozy, cheap and the staff are amazing! And after calming myself upon my hurried check-in, I’ve realized that it was only a minute walk to Krymska Station ( a tram station) which could practically take you anywhere in Prague.) They also offer a buffet breakfast for 6 euro, (not sure if they do for lunch and dinner too, though) and I’d say it’s pretty much worth it. I wouldn’t mind staying with them again next time.
I never planned anything on my trip here in this beautiful city. I mean, I’ve read a few things about it on the net and since it’s only a few hours from Berlin, I might as well visit it right? Little did I know that I would fall in love with the fairy tale vibe of the city with its cobblestone streets, palaces, cathedral and its beautiful people! Walking through the Charles Bridge, seeing the grandeur of the Prague Castle, the St. Vitus Cathedral, the John Lennon Wall, the Jewish Museum, and watching a lively concert in the Old Town Square. I was so glad that I never passed the chance to visit this city. Strolling around it felt like being given a gift during that holiday. It was definitely a very worthy stop and a must-see city when you go visit Europe.
I was very excited to finally set foot in Europe and with Berlin being one of my must-visit cities before I die. Haha! I’m really beyond thrilled! The immigration officials weren’t as stern as I expected them to be, due to the horror stories I’ve read and heard from some people. They just asked the purpose of my trip, the countries I’ll be visiting and it took less than a minute I think and I finally got my entry in Germany!
After planning this trip for almost a year, you would think that I was able to cover all of the bases already but no – my Qatar Airways flight landed in Berlin Tegel Airport around 10 – or past 10 in the evening. Lo and behold, most if not all of the stores are already closed! And stupid me was expecting there will be stores open 24 hours where I could buy a SIM card! I even bought a new phone for this trip! LOL. So my only option was to asked the airport staff on how to go about getting to my hostel for my four days in the city! There were buses that will take you anywhere in the cities, and tram too. I mean, this is Germany after all, but I was still totally clueless since I’ve not internet to Google where I am – so I just checked my accommodations booking and prayed to the gods that I got off the right station. Apparently I did not. Haha. I was literally lost and walking aimlessly. And there are only a few people out and about. Remember, this was winter time and I think it’s already past eleven in the evening.
Thank goodness though, because I bumped into Norah – a local from Berlin who helped me find my hostel. She’s truly a godsend because I was just getting really cold by the time I bumped into her. I told her the whole thing of me not able to get a new SIM card at the airport and I just showed her my booking and she took me to my hostel right then and there.
I had my Berlin accommodation at the St. Christopher Inn Berlin-Mitte. They were very gracious and the hostel was actually kind of nice for a solo traveler like myself. One of the guy manning the reception asked me where I was from and I told her that I’m from the Philippines and he smiled and said that his mom is Filipina! Instant connection! LOL. I absolutely loved the location of the hostel! It’s perfect because it ‘s all walking distance to all the tourist traps!!! I swear, I never had to use any transportation system within my 4 days in Berlin.
The following day was not as eventful as I’d like it to be because I was still getting used to the cold! I just went our first to familiarize myself – saw the Berlin Cathedral where I went in for a mass on Day 3, Altes Museum, Humboldt University, Alexanderplatz etc… It was just me being very fascinated and I still cannot believe that I made it here! For some people, this may just be nothing but from someone like me who grew up in the country – this is definitely a whole new world! A feat by itself!
Here are some of the pictures I took on my first foray in Berlin.