Do you know that Poland is the 9th largest country in Europe? And that Nicolas Copernicus was a Polish?
After Zakopane, I found myself in Krakow, Poland where according to the myth, was the place where the Wawel Dragon was slayed (slew?) by Krakus, a Polish prince. In fact, according to the legend, Wawel Castle was said to be built on top of the slain dragon’s lair and you can actually explore the dragon’s cave.
The Wawel Castle and the Cathedral is located at the same area. The Wawel Cathedral is a unique one in that unlike other cathedrals, it was built in many different styles from Renaissance to Gothic. It was in fact made up of a few cathedrals. One of them has a roof that is actually covered in real gold. The tour guides usually refer to this as the bigos of cathedral as it resembles the Polish traditional food, bigos! To clear your confusion, bigos was made by throwing different ingredients together to form some sort of stew. My tour guide, who is from the Krakow Free Walking Tour, told us that no one knows what the hell is in a bigos, only that it taste great and no one cares.
While you are at Wawel Castle/Cathedral, you might want to go down to visit the Wawel Dragon’s statue. There would usually be kids climbing up and a down the dragon but that’s not the real sight. The real sight is that the dragon actually ‘breathes’ fire every few minutes.
No trip to Krakow would be complete for a devoted Christian without visiting the place where Pope John Paul II once resides. You can’t actually go into the house. You can only look at a picture of him stuck at the window. The Pope would often wave to his people from that very same window.
Fact : Pope John Paul II was the first Polish to ever become the Pope.
It was said that if you can only visit one church in Krakow, you should visit St. Francis’s Basilica. It housed the famous stained glass window designed by Stanisław Wyspiański ,‘God in the Act of Creation’. Arguably one of the greatest modern stained glass window in the world, it certainly has its charm.
While you are in Krakow, you might want to check out this accommodation in Pradnik Valley Lodge. You can book it from AirBnB. It is my favourite AirBnB so far. Newly renovated, it cost only 11 pounds at the time of writing. The host is a very friendly guy and if he is not there, you can get the keys from his grandparents who live next door. The place is huge and during summer, you can have barbeque outside and you can also get fresh strawberries from the small farm outside the house. You can check it out here.