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Discover Krakow – Top 8 Things to Do – 2017

Discover Krakow

Craving a city break but not sure where to go? Krakow in Poland is a great choice. Krakow has plenty to offer, from its beautiful sight-seeing attractions and tours to a variety of popular restaurants and bars. Accommodation in Krakow is really good, whether you’re looking to stay in a more relaxed environment or opt for a luxurious city break stay, there’s plenty of hotels to choose from.

I visited Krakow on a solo travel adventure for three nights, and during my trip, I visited the major attractions which included; The Main Market, St. Mary’s Basilica, Wawel Cathedral and Castle, Kazimierz – former Jewish district, Auschwitz, Salt Mine and more.

The great thing about this city, is that the majority of popular attractions and those that I wanted to visit, were all within walking distance – resulting in not having to use public transport or Taxis.

In this article, I’ll be covering the top places you should visit if you decide to book a trip to Krakow, Poland.

Discover Krakow – Top X Things to Do

1 – The Main Market

Krakow’s main market square (Rynek) has plenty to offer. There’s beautiful surroundings and buildings that will make you want to explore more of the local areas and find the hidden gems of Krakow.

The Main Market in Krakow, is stunning both in the day and at night, with all the lights lit up and restaurants with outside seating with fires on. No better way to enjoy Krakow at night dining at the 200 metre square.

Fact: Did you know, Rynek is one of the largest medieval squares in Europe and is surrounded by townhouses with unique names with interesting history behind them.

2 – St. Mary’s Basilica

When you visit Old Town, St Mary’s Basilica is beautifully situated at The Main Market. The church has stunning architecture both on the inside and outside. If you’re into gothic style buildings, you’ll love this. To enter the church, you’ll need a ticket. The cost of tickets is 10/8/5zł (kids under 8 go free). Tickets can be purchased in a separate building across from the tourist entrance.

Fact: St. Mary’s Basilica was rebuilt in Gothic style after Tartar raids in the 13th century which ended up leaving the original church in heaps of ruins.

3 – Cloth Hall

The Cloth Hall is at the centre of Krakow’s Main Market Square. Inside the small shopping mall, you’ll find various handicrafts and local products. It’s worth visiting as the prices are quite reasonable!

Fact: Back in the old days, the merchant stalls in Cloth Hall sold wax, spices, leather and silk. They also sold lead and salt from the nearby mines such as Wieliczka.

4 – Wawel Cathedral and Castle

If you visit Poland, Wawel Cathedral is a must. It’s by far one of the most important buildings. Situated on the hill is Wawel’s Cathedral and Castle. A step inside is definitely recommended to get the full experience.

Wawel Castle and Cathedral

There are also various other buildings close by, which are worth a visit after taking a short break at the cafe located right near the Cathedral.

5 – Wawel Dragon

Located right near the Wista riverbank below Wawel Castle is The Wawel Dragon, a sculpture by artist Bronisław Chromy. The Wawel Dragon is believed to be a Polish traditional legend.

if you’re visiting Wawel Castle then a visit to the Dragon is a must, especially since it’s just below the castle near the riverbank. If you visit at the right time or wait a short while, you’ll catch the Wawel Dragon breath fire.

6 – Kazimierz – former Jewish district

History lover? You’ll enjoy a visit to the Kazimierz – former Jewish district. There’s lots of history behind this place and it’s quite interesting. Whether you read up about it or take a tour, it should definitely be on your list to visit whilst staying in Krakow.

Kazimierz is also known for its cafe culture and the nightlife. If you visit, I’d recommend grabbing a Zapiekanka there. They are very tasty!

Zapiekanka in Krakow

7 – Auschwitz

Whilst very touching, it’s a must if you visit Krakow. You’ll really understand what it was like, and learn more in person than watching documentaries. I visited on a Tuesday and the weather wasn’t great at all, which made the experience more dramatic and touching.

Auschwitz Krakow

It’s very busy, even during the week. If you decide to go, I would highly recommend booking a tour or purchasing a ticket in advance. My tour guide was very knowledgeable and gave a lot of details about the concentration camp and the horrendous things that went on during the devastating times.

8 – Salt Mine

The Salt Mine was a good experience, even after walking down 800 steps…don’t worry – there’s a lift to bring you back up to the surface.

Located in Wieliczka, The Salt Mine is famous for its pits, chambers and everything else within its depths. The sculptures inside the mine have all been carved by hand from salt blocks. – They are very cool!

There is a lot of walking involved in this tour, and they usually last two hours, sometimes three, so make sure to wear comfortable clothing!

For the best experience, I would recommend booking in advance to ensure you get enough time to visit the whole mine as it gets quite busy at times and visitors are always guided in groups.

 

 

 

 

 

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Your Guide to the Rock of Gibraltar Macaques

Rock of Gibraltar

As part of my travel to Sotogrande, Spain, we flew into Gibraltar and then walked for about 5 minutes to enter Spain.

Upon arrival, I saw the Rock of Gibraltar and immediately began to get excited, I literally wanted to get off the plane and go up the rock right away.

Gibraltar Airport with the Rock in sight
Gibraltar Airport ft. The Rock of Gibraltar

After sorting our luggage out, we decided to head up the Gibraltar Rock which is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea.

There are three different ways you can visit the rock, you can hop on the Gibraltar cable car, go for a hike, or get a Taxi/Bus tour.

Of course, the hike is always great fun, but not everyone’s option.  We found the most cost effective and least time-consuming route was to get a taxi tour bus from Casemont square. It’s £25 (€30) per person and this covers your transport and all fees including the St Michael’s Cave ticket. They’ll also drop you off to where you need to go next depending on location.

St Michael’s Cave:

St Michael’s Cave has been a point of interest to all visitors to Gibraltar since the Romans. Many believe that St Michael’s Cave was originally linked to the continent of Africa by a subterranean passage believed to be over 15 miles long under the Strait of Gibraltar. Due to this, the very well known Rock of Gibraltar macaques was said to have come to rock via the undersea passage.

Believe it or not, during the Second World War, St Michael’s Cave was actually prepared as an emergency hospital but was never used in the end.

There is plenty to see in this cave and upon entrance, you’ll see various seats and enough space to fulfil a capacity of 600 people. The Cathedral Cave has been in use as a theatre for concerts, ballet and drama ever since the early sixties.

The home of Gibraltar macaques

The Rock of Gibraltar is the home to around 300 Barbary macaques, they are the only population outside of Northern Africa and the only population of wild monkeys in Europe. Being a monkey lover, I had taken a ridiculous amount of pictures of them.

The Gibraltar macaques can be found at the top of the rock and some halfway down the rock – but those aren’t as friendly and don’t get on too well with tourists.

You’ll have to be cautious of them as some are quite friendly but others can be quite aggressive and may attack if you get too close. I witnessed a father and his son edge forward to the below macaque and in return, it showed its teeth and moved forward as a way to warn them to back off.



Booking.com

Whilst these endangered monkeys are looked after and fed fresh fruit on a daily basis, they are known to approach and sometimes climb onto people, mainly as they are used to human interaction, but remember, they are still wild animals and may bite if frightened or annoyed. Be careful.

 

Rock of Gibraltar Vicious Macaque
This one wasn’t too happy to see tourists.

Whereas others, are quite friendly and don’t mind if you touch them.

Rock of Gibraltar Macaque
Rock of Gibraltar Macaque

The diets of these macaques mainly consist of plants and insects. The lifespan of a male is around 25 years, while females live up to 30 years. According to our tour guide, 50% of baby macaques don’t survive due to the parents fighting other macaques and animals with them on their back.

A macaque carrying a baby on its back
A macaque carrying a baby on its back

The only animal they are afraid of is snakes.

Gibraltarians that have purchased private property on the Rock of Gibraltar are said to have plastic snakes placed around their house to keep the macaques away.

Below are a few more pictures of the Gibraltar macaques.

This one is my favourite.

To see more pictures and follow my journey of travelling the world, make sure to follow on Instagram.

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Germany Travel Itinerary 2017

Germany Travel Itinerary 2017

As part of my goal to visit 25 countries before turning 25, Germany was one of many on my list.

I booked a trip to Germany with a friend of mine for a long weekend break to go for a few hikes and visit some interesting places.

One of which I have finally ticked off my bucket list.

📷 @garethgoesplaces

That of course, is Germany’s longest suspension bridge. 100 metres high and 300 metres long, the experience of walking across this was amazing. The views were incredible.

Planning the Germany trip itinerary was a challenge. We had two full days to ourselves in order to visit as much as we could. There were so many places I’d have loved to go but due to the distances and how long we were there for, we had to decide on the main attractions local to where we wanted to go.

However, we managed to visit quite a few for the time we were there for.

Here’s what the itinerary looked like for our Germany trip.

Tip: When planning an itinerary, I always tend to use Google Maps and it’s suggested 
driving times, walking times and other various transport times, whilst taking into 
account breaks for lunch, drinks and photo opportunities. Sometimes it’s so much 
cheaper to walk to another location rather than using a Taxi or another means of 
transport. We walked an hour to get to another town rather than spending €20 on Taxi 
fares there and back, best thing of all, we came across plenty of spots for photos.

Day 1: Buch, Morz, Hängeseilbrücke Geierlay, Mörsdorf

After arriving at Frankfurt Hahn, early in the morning, arriving 20 minutes ahead of schedule thanks to Ryan Air, we managed to get off and hop in a taxi to our Airbnb destination, Beller Weg, Buch, Germany.

The location of our Airbnb had its ups and downs, it was an amazing location surrounded by various hiking routes, but with its positives, came a few negatives, one being the majority of the town’s shops were closed – thankfully, we had eaten at the airport before leaving.

After exploring our temporary home town, we began our trek out to Germany’s longest suspension bridge, Hängeseilbrücke Geierlay.

This was a nightmare at first.

We decided to follow the route displayed on my friend’s phone, taking us through a small forest and many fields only to come to several electric fences with overgrown fields and trees blocking our route.

Come to think of it, maybe the farmers didn’t appreciate it and decided to block it off!

So, after an hour or two of trying different routes to get over and around these obstacles, we decided to come back to the Airbnb and grab a glass of water and fill up some bottles. We didn’t think of taking any drinks with us! – Stupid, I know.

After downing several glasses of water, we set out again, for the second time, following a new route on my phone. We eventually got there passing through a few towns, saving us €40 to get to our destination. (Props to Google Maps!)

Although it took us 2 hours to get to this location via walking on the side of the roads, taking short cuts and passing through a farm we come across so many amazing photo opportunities which I couldn’t miss out on.

Morz: Time for a drink

During our walk, we had drunk almost all of our water.

We needed more.

I noticed on Google Maps there was a local hotel restaurant open in Morz, so we decided to stop there for a quick drink and a short rest – carrying a load of camera equipment and a tripod throughout the day was a little tough but it was totally worth it.

Morz is a beautiful small village and it’s the first one we came across that actually had a restaurant which was open. We timed our trip right and got some brilliant weather, this worked in our favour and gave us a bit of a base tan!

After stopping off for a quick refreshment, we began to set off again and continue our walk to the bridge.

An hour later, we arrived.

We could see the bridge from the road we walked along.

The view of the Geierlay
bridge during the hike to get there!

It was amazing, we literally couldn’t wait to get closer and step a foot on the bridge and walk across.

Thankfully, just before the short scenic walk to get on the bridge, there was a little food van, I decided to go for the currywurst and a bottle of beer. Very refreshing!

Hängeseilbrücke Geierlay: The Bridge!

The main reason we decided to come to Germany – the suspension bridge!

We arrived here shortly after 3pm, at that time, it was very busy!

Trying to get a clear shot of the bridge without people was impossible, so, we ended up exploring around the bridge and stayed till around six o’clock and at that time, we managed to get a load of shots with hardly anyone on the bridge!

The wait was worth it.

📷 @garethgoesplaces

Believe it or not, we didn’t actually leave the bridge until around 8pm.

At that time, we were getting hungry but we didn’t plan it out too well and erm, let’s just say, we didn’t make it in time to a restaurant.

We just wanted to explore, explore and explore.

Thanks to our Airbnb host, Rebekkah, she saved us some Pizza in the oven.

Lifesaver.

After finding a quicker route home, through almost a pitch black highway, we got back and loaded up the oven with some delicious pizza slices.

Day 2: Burg Balduinseck, Mastershausen, Bell, Kastellaun

Although we got back very late and had a very early morning, we didn’t let that stop us from waking up early to make the most of our day.

We knew the bakery was closed the day before, but we decided to give it a shot and see if it’d be open.

We were very lucky.

The bakery was closed – but a mini bakery van had just turned up along the way.

Packed full of mouth-watering pastries, I had a hard time choosing what to pick! Eventually, I choose a few pastries and they were absolutely amazing. I couldn’t tell you how good they were, you’d have to try them yourself. Any pastry lover will understand what I mean.

After a breakfast, we began our short walk to Burg Balduinseck. A castle ruin just a short thirty-minute walk from Buch.

Burg Balduinseck

Burg Balduinseck

Once we arrived, I was straight up the steps and exploring, climbing some parts to get a better view and find out more about this Ruin in Buch, Rhein-Hunsrück.

Before castle Balduinseck was described as neglected in 1711 and in 1780 as decayed, it actually looked a quite nice! For those interested, the castle is 300 metres above sea level and was originally created around 1325.

Burg Balduinseck

Whilst there wasn’t too much to do at this location, it was quite interesting to explore the surrounding areas and read about the ruin and what had looked like beforehand.

The Forest Hike

Once we had taken enough pictures of the ruin and spent a while exploring the surrounding areas, we set off on a hike through the local forest heading towards Kastellaun – the main town which had shops, restaurants, bars, night clubs – literally everything Buch didn’t have!

It took us just over three hours, passing through various photo opportunities in the forest and some mysterious spots.

We also passed what seemed like a blocked off mine.

Still not entirely sure what the place was but it did look quite interesting and if it were possible to explore inside, I might have gone for a little wander.

The mine we came across during our hike through the forest

Continuing our journey, we came across a nice little area to sit down and relax before adventuring up a very steep hill for quite some time to reach the top of the forest and walk along the fields towards Bell.

Such a small beautiful town, Bell, was just a very short distance from Kastellaun.

We knew we were very close.

30 minutes or so later…

We arrived!

As soon as we walked further into the town, we nipped in a burger place and got some very scrumptious chilli cheese burger with chips. Perfect timing.

Coming to the end of the afternoon, we had stopped off at Neto – because, why not?

We grabbed some food for dinner and a few drinks to keep us going.

Passing through Kastellaun, one thing we noticed was the very tall ruined medieval castle.

It wasn’t too long till we were already up at the top of the castle.

Overlooking the town sitting on the edge of the castle walls – such beautiful views.

Overlooking the town sitting on the wall of Kastellaun C
Overlooking the town sitting on the wall of Kastellaun Castle

Sadly, we couldn’t spend all evening there as we still had to get back and sort dinner, pack and get some sleep before waking up at 4 in the morning…

Once we arrived back at the Airbnb, had some dinner and finished packing, we stayed outside in the garden chilling to some music and taking in the countryside vibes.

Before we knew it, we were then off on the plane jetting back to England.

Countries

This Bridge Will Make You Want to Travel to Germany

GermanyBridge

If you’re an adventurer like me, love heights and don’t mind a slight thrill-seeking trip then you’ll love this bridge in Germany.

That bridge is of-course, Germany’s longest suspension bridge, Geierlay.

This 360m long and 100m high bridge is located out in Germany’s beautiful countryside.

Photo of Geierlay, Germany’s longest suspension bridge. 📷 @garethgoesplaces

After an hour’s hike from Buch to Mörsdorf, passing through small beautiful towns we eventually arrived.

The paved walk towards the bridge was very nice, lots of scenery to take in and a great stroll. There’s also a little food van at the start of the paved walk way. They served very tasty warm food and had a variety of drinks available, at reasonable prices too.

I’d recommend the Curryverst sausage – that was lush!

📷 @garethgoesplaces

After admiring the beautiful scenery, we were very excited to begin the walk across the bridge.

We arrived around three in the afternoon, at that time, it was very busy – although really enjoyed the experience walking across the bridge with the slight sways, we ended up staying until 8pm so we could capture some shots when it was less busy.

It was worth it.

It had to be done… 📷 @garethgoesplaces

The untouched surroundings of the bridge made it much more exciting and breath-taking.

📷 @garethgoesplaces

It takes around six minutes to walk across the bridge, but for us, it was little longer due to taking pictures.

Come to think of it, we must have crossed the bridge at least 8 times… maybe more?

If you’re looking to travel to Germany any time soon, I’d highly recommend visiting this bridge.

Bridge Address:
Geierlay Visitor Center
Kastellaun Straße 23
56290 Mörsdorf

For our trip from London Stansted to Germany, Frankfurt Hahn with a return flight and an AirBnB , our total cost was £75. 

Crazy, right?

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