Wawel Castle, Auschwitz Tour and Salt Mine! / Poland 2023

Another early start thanks to my own confusion, led to a peaceful castle visit in the rain, followed by a day trip to Auschwitz and the Salt Mine, before exploring Krakow in the evening. 

Click here to watch the vlog or see below. 

Waking up bright an early at 6am was not quite what I wanted, but something I had to do, as I had booked a long day trip. I headed down to breakfast when I was ready and was amazed. It was one of the best breakfast buffet's I've seen in years. It took me back to the days I went to all inclusive hotels abroad as a child. It was delicious and I even got enough food to take with my for lunch!

I ended up walking down to my pick up point in the pouring rain, only to realise the second I got there that they messaged me the previous morning to rearrange and delay pick up by one hour. I was devastated. The option was to either walk back to the hotel, having just raced down as I was running a little late, or to go explore a little of the city. I decided to walk to Wawel Castle and whilst it wasn't the traditional castle I expected at the top, it was beautiful in it's own right. It was almost like a walled village, around some archaic architecture. I also loved having it all to myself, because it was so early and miserable. 
I then went back to the hotel pick up point and spent 10 minutes drying my socks and shoes in the bathroom. I was shocked to learn my old faithful trainers had 4 massive holes and of course, my feet were soaked! 

I then got picked up perfectly on time and our first stop was Auschwitz. It wasn't anything like I expected and it was very much described as a museum. I was really impressed with the technology available. Each group had an individual guide, with around 15 people in a group. As it involved a lot of walking and being outside, we each had a head set, whilst the guide had a microphone, so we could hear really well throughout. 
It was pretty sombre walking around. You were allowed to take pictures and videos outside, but only pictures inside and some of the exhibits were no pictures at all. I didn't actually feel it was appropriate to even take pictures the majority of the time. I still don't think I'll ever be able to comprehend the scale of the events that took place there. 
I didn't realise there were 2 different sites, so we went to the second and the guide re-joined us. It was very fast paced and I didn't get the chance to truly take it all unfortunately. It was insightful to see the train tracks where so many families came expecting a better life, only to be quickly executed moments later. I can't even imagine the thoughts going through their heads. So much of the ground is unrecognisable, with the barracks now having just the chimneys remain. 
After a long drive to the next village, we had a lunch break and I spent time walking around, lost and confused, before meeting again for our Salt Mine tour. It wasn't really something I was interested in, and more of an add on to the morning trip, but it was good in parts. I loved the underground lakes, before I learnt they were man made. Apparently, it's impossible to die because of the salt content which makes you float. There was some incredible wood and salt designs, including monuments, statues, churches and match halls. I even visited the deepest restaurant in the world!
When we got back to the city, I walked into Krakow city centre and took in all the Christmas lights. I was surprised they still had them up, but it was beautiful. I loved the outdoor areas of all the restaurants. 
I ended up calling at The Spaghetti. It was the most delicious spaghetti carbonara I have ever eaten. Sadly, I didn't like any of the desserts which was the only downside, but I stopped by a shop on the way back to grab some chocolate instead.