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Płaszów Concentration Camp, Kraków

December 3, 2015 Posted by | Auschwitz, Recommendations, Tour Information | 2 Comments

Krakow Around Christmas

November 30, 2015 Posted by | Events, Recommendations | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Rugby World Cup at The Dorsz in Krakow

All the major games of the 2015 Rugby World Cup will be screened at The Dorsz in Krakow.

Fixtures and groups (All times UK)

Group A

Friday, 18 September 20:00, England v Fiji, Twickenham Stadium, London
Sunday, 20 September 14:30, Wales v Uruguay, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Wednesday, 23 September 16:45, Australia v Fiji, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Saturday, 26 September 20:00, England v Wales, Twickenham Stadium, London
Sunday, 27 September 12:00, Australia v Uruguay, Villa Park, Birmingham
Thursday, 1 October 16:45, Wales v Fiji, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Saturday, 3 October 20:00, England v Australia, Twickenham Stadium, London
Tuesday, 6 October 20:00, Uruguay v Fiji, Stadium mk, Milton Keynes
Saturday, 10 October 16:45, Australia v Wales, Twickenham Stadium, London
Saturday, 10 October 20:00, England v Uruguay, Manchester City Stadium, Manchester

Group B

Saturday, 19 September 16:45, South Africa v Japan, Brighton Community Stadium, Brighton
Sunday, 20 September 12:00, Samoa v United States, Brighton Community Stadium, Brighton
Wednesday, 23 September 14:30, Scotland v Japan, Kingsholm, Gloucester
Saturday, 26 September 16:45, South Africa v Samoa, Villa Park, Birmingham
Sunday, 27 September 14:30, Scotland v United States, Elland Road, Leeds
Saturday, 3 October 14:30, Samoa v Japan, Stadium mk, Milton Keynes
Saturday, 3 October 16:45, South Africa v Scotland, St. James’ Park, Newcastle
Wednesday, 7 October 16:45, South Africa v United States, Olympic Stadium, London
Saturday, 10 October 14:30, Samoa v Scotland, St. James’ Park, Newcastle
Saturday, 11 October 20:00, United States v Japan, Kingsholm, Gloucester

Group C

Saturday, 19 September 12:00, Tonga v Georgia, Kingsholm, Gloucester
Sunday, 20 September 16:45, New Zealand v Argentina, Wembley Stadium, London
Thursday, 24 September 20:00, New Zealand v Namibia, Olympic Stadium, London
Friday, 25 September 16:45, Argentina v Georgia, Kingsholm, Gloucester
Tuesday, 29 September 16:45, Tonga v Namibia, Sandy Park, Exeter
Friday, 2 October 20:00, New Zealand v Georgia, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Sunday, 4 October 14:30, Argentina v Tonga, Leicester City Stadium, Leicester
Wednesday, 7 October 20:00, Namibia v Georgia, Sandy Park, Exeter
Friday, 9 October 20:00, New Zealand v Tonga, St. James’ Park, Newcastle
Sunday, 11 October 12:00, Argentina v Namibia, Leicester City Stadium, Leicester

Group D

Saturday, 19 September 14:30, Ireland v Canada, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Saturday, 19 September 20:00, France v Italy, Twickenham Stadium, London
Wednesday, 23 September 20:00, France v Romania, Olympic Stadium, London
Saturday, 26 September 14:30, Italy v Canada, Elland Road, Leeds
Sunday, 27 September 16:45, Ireland v Romania, Wembley Stadium, London
Thursday, 1 October 20:00, France v Canada, Stadium mk, Milton Keynes
Sunday, 4 October 16:45, Ireland v Italy, Olympic Stadium, London
Tuesday, 6 October 16:45, Canada v Romania, Leicester City Stadium, Leicester
Sunday, 11 October 14:30, Italy v Romania, Sandy Park, Exeter
Sunday, 11 October 16:45, France v Ireland, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff

August 21, 2015 Posted by | News, Recommendations, Sport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Thank You Letter

Krakow Tours, Auschwitz recommendation

April 1, 2015 Posted by | Auschwitz, Krakow Travel Advice, Recommendations, Tour Information | , , | Leave a comment

A Polish Wedding….. All you need to know.

KRAKOW TOURS– Polish wedding season is almost upon us. More and more foreigners are marrying Poles or getting invited to Polish friend’s weddings and there are things these people need to know. In this definitive survival guide to Polish weddings I will cover every potential pitfall, misunderstanding and health risk I’ve uncovered. Comparisons are made with British Weddings, the rest of you will have to wing it.

1. Read your invitation carefully

In Poland it is quite possible to be invited to the wedding but not the wedding party. In fact it’s more common to be invited to the ceremony than to the party.

Many Poles are still attached to the quaint notion that the union of two people in holy matrimony is a significant event that people might want to witness rather than a slightly tedious prelude to a booze up. Shocking I know, but there it is. If your invitation mentions “ślub” that’s the tedious prelude part. If it mentions “ślub” and “wesele” put on your best drinking shoes and pat yourself on the back, you’re going to a party.

2. The missing groom

In a British wedding ceremony the groom arrives at the church first and waits at the altar with his best man for the bride to be escorted down the aisle by her father or nearest equivalent. It’s a tradition that allows for all kinds of hilarious church-based shenanigans such as the groom fainting from stress or the best man passing out from alcohol poisoning. It’s also frequently used as a dramatic device in the kind of movies where brides decide not to turn up at the last minute. In Poland the bride and groom arrive at the church at the same time and walk down the aisle together, sometimes in leg irons. If you’re waiting in the church and notice the groom is missing don’t get excited, he’s coming. Expectations of a thrilling ‘jilted-at-the-altar’ scenario are unlikely to be met.

3. Polish best man – the world’s easiest job

Expectations of the best man at a Polish wedding are not high. The ability to walk in a more-or-less straight line and hold some envelopes are sufficient qualifications. Polish best men do practically nothing. He walks behind the bride and groom down the aisle along with the bridesmaid and then sits down. That’s pretty much it. Best men are often also witnesses, but not always. In a British wedding it is the responsibility of the best man to bring the ring (note, only one ring) and hand it over at the appropriate moment, another tradition that provides limitless opportunities for humor. Not so in the Polish service – the rings are already there in a holy cubby hole of some kind.

If you’re ever asked to be best man at a Polish wedding do not hesitate. No responsibilities, no speeches (more on this later), a definite invitation to the party and a guaranteed woman to go with. You can’t lose.

4. Throwing money around and sealed brown envelopes

On exiting the church the happy couple are traditionally showered with handfuls of loose change. They are then expected to pick it all up. Starting out on married life groveling around on the pavement for pennies like bums is, apparently, lucky. If you ever find yourself in this position I suggest bringing an umbrella which you can smoothly invert to catch the bulk of the incoming coinage.

Immediately following this potentially painful and humiliating indoctrination into marital finances everybody lines up to pay their respects to the couple and hand them wads of cash. Three kisses on the cheek and flowers for the bride, a handshake and an envelope full of money to the groom. I’m told the going rate is about 200 zloty. The bride hands her flowers to her bridesmaid, who needs to have forearms like tree trunks, and the groom hands the envelopes full of money to the best man, who needs to have moderately large pockets (I told you this job was easy).

5. The salt and the bread

Off to the party, which might be in a wedding hall, a restaurant, or somebody’s back garden. On arrival everybody gets a drink and the bride and groom get salt and bread. Again, if you ever find yourself in this situation, don’t panic – it’s just symbolic, it doesn’t mean you’re only getting salt and bread for the rest of the evening. One or other of the parents who’s job it is to provide the bread and salt may make a short speech and start blubbing at this point.

6. Songs, songs, songs

Immediately following the salt and the bread business all Poles in the vicinity will break into song. The song is known as “Sto lat” (”100 years”) and is the same song you will hear sung at birthday parties, presidential inaugurations and, in extreme cases, the opening of a tin of sardines. Here are the words — you’re going to hear them a lot in the next few hours:

Sto lat, sto lat,
Niech żyje/żyją, żyje/żyją nam.
Sto lat, sto lat,
Niech żyje/żyją, żyje/żyją nam,
Jeszcze raz, jeszcze raz, niech żyje/żyją, żyje/żyją nam,
Niech żyje/żyją nam!

which translates roughly into English as:

A hundred years, a hundred years,
We want him/her/them to live.
A hundred years, a hundred years,
We want him/her/them to live,
Once again, once again, we want him/her/them to live,
We want him/her/them to live.

7. First dinner, first dance

Once the singing has died down everybody sits down to the first meal. Note my use of the word ‘first’ here. There may be additional singing in the form of traditional demands for the bride and groom to kiss like alien face-huggers, but there’s nothing important going on there that you need to worry about. Immediately following the first meal the newlyweds are invited to embarrass themselves horribly by performing the first dance.

8. A lot more dinners

I often advise people going to Polish weddings to beware of the amount of food they will be required to consume. “There will be a lot of food” I say “I mean, really a lot.” “Oh good” they say. I shake my head and hold my tongue. A few days later I see them again and they say “Why didn’t you tell us there would be so much!” “I did!” I say “I tried to warn you.” “My god” they say with the horror of recollection in their eyes “I didn’t know there was that much food…”

This is how it works. Immediately after the first toast you will sit down to an excellent meal of something roasted, with vegetables and potatoes and a side salad preceded by soup. You will eat this and then help yourself to the various cakes, cold meats, breads etc. scattered liberally about the table. At this point you will be completely stuffed and saying to yourself “Hey, that guy was right, there really was a lot of food, but I could handle it.” You will probably be quite satisfied with yourself and think me a moaning minnie with the food handling capacity of a small rodent. About an hour later the waiters will be bearing down on you with exactly the same thing all over again. An hour after that they will be back again. By now you’ll be feeling the fear. Fortunately there are only three or four more courses to go, each one the size of a hearty Sunday dinner. And then cake.

Do not attempt to eat everything served to you. You will die. You have to regard the food as symbolic. It’s a symbol of wealth and plenty, an overwhelming feast for the happy event, it’s not an actual meal.


9. The vodka situation

Vodka is a big deal at Polish weddings. Talk of who is going to buy the vodka and where they are going to get it begins at least six months before people start considering less significant details such as wedding dresses or who to marry. Presumably there was a time when vodka was in short supply or had to be manufactured in the woods because, as far as I can see, the entire problem can me solved in a ten minute trip to the local supermarket. However, I digress.

Assuming the vodka is there and, to be honest, the wedding would have been canceled if it wasn’t there are a few things you should know. Vodka is only drunk collectively. Glasses are filled, somebody proposes a toast, vodka is drunk, and glasses are refilled in readiness for the next toast. There’s no casual solitary sipping. It’s all or nothing every time. Sometimes it will be a special wedding vodka prepared according to a traditional recipe known only to 84-year-old uncle Bogdan. These are often sweet and pleasant tasting but can still kill an elephant at 20 paces. Do not be tempted to fill in the time between toasts with a beer or a glass of wine, that way lies very messy but dimly recalled madness.

10. Throwing bouquets and ties

The throwing of the bouquet will be familiar to British readers and it has the same function at a Polish wedding, except that it takes place at the party and not outside the church. The difference at a Polish wedding is that it is taken much more seriously. In the half an hour before the tossing of the bouquet is due you’ll notice a gradual but complete evacuation of the building by all unmarried females over the age of about 24. To be 25 or older and still in that circle around the bride is a powerful shame.

Unlike men at British weddings Polish men also get the chance to make utter fools of themselves scrambling after discarded clothing. The groom’s tie is the sought after item in this case. By this time of the night any male who is still able to stand, regardless of age, is considered a good catch.

11. Proper dancing

Dancing is also a big deal a Polish weddings. It’s the women’s vodka. The first time I went to a Polish wedding my girlfriend said “You know there will be dancing, don’t you?” “Well yes” I said “that’s normal.” I had in mind the vague individual flailing around that every self-respecting Brit regards as dancing. Not so. Proper dancing is expected. In pairs, with feet and everything. Dancing schools make a killing in Poland.

12. Midnight cake

The cake is cut and distributed to the groaning overstuffed guests at midnight. Or at some other random time. Then they wheel in an entire roasted cow just in case anybody is feeling peckish. Knocking off time will probably be sometime around 3 or 4 in the morning.

13. The two-day wedding

It is true that Polish weddings sometimes go on for two days. The second day is known as “poprawiny” and you’re most likely to come across it at a traditional village affair. At first the idea of a party that goes on for two days sounds quite appealing to the average Brit. By the fifth course of the first night the idea becomes less attractive. The first time I went to a two-day wedding I imagined a Bacchanalian blow-out that would literally go on for 48 hours. In fact the truth is less terrifying. On the first night everybody goes home in the early hours of the morning, sleeps for 10 hours, then comes back and does the whole thing all over again minus the tedious mucking about in church.

The second night is traditionally much more relaxed than the first. It’s a no-holds-barred party to celebrate the fact that the previous night’s party went well, or to rectify the fact if it didn’t. Boys are sorted from men.

Enjoy!

For a fantastic wedding photographer in Southern Poland have a look at Lukasz Lisiecki’s website.

March 11, 2015 Posted by | Events, Krakow Travel Advice, Recommendations, Tour Information | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Sunday Roast Dinner Arrives In Krakow

Traditional Sundays Dinner are now being served in The Dorsz every Sunday.

Krakow Restaurant

Sunday Roast Dinner in Krakow

Come and taste the Traditionally Roast lamb mint sauce, Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes, and seasonal vegetables. For dessert we serve our famous apple Crumble topped with custard.
Price for Sunday Dinner is 45zł – which includes glass of wine or pint of beer or The Dorsz Ale.
Bookings required, must be made before 9 PM every Friday.

February 2, 2015 Posted by | Recommendations | , , , , | Leave a comment

Eric Clapton to play Oświęcim (Auschwitz) Life Festival

Legendary British guitarist Eric Clapton will headline the fifth edition of a festival promoting peace and tolerance near the former Nazi German death camp of Auschwitz.

Eric CLAPTON

This June, Clapton will follow in the footsteps of artists such as Sting and Peter Gabriel, who have both performed at the event in previous years.

Launched in 2010 by radio journalist Darek Maciborek, the festival was designed to “break the spell” that surrounded the founders home town of Oswiecim, which was renamed Auschwitz during the Nazi occupation.

The network of death camps created in the vicinity of Oswiecim witnessed the deaths of over 1 million inmates, 90 percent of whom were Jewish. Other victims included Poles, Russians and members of Europes Roma community.

The 5th Oswiecim Life Festival runs from 25-28 June, and Cream and Yardbirds veteran Eric Clapton will play the MOSiR sports stadium in Oswiecim on 28 June.Other acts due to play include US outfit Soundgarden and eclectic New York combo Balkan Beat Box.

January 8, 2014 Posted by | Auschwitz, Events, News, Recommendations | , , , , | Leave a comment

Krakow’s Rynek (Main Square) is the worlds best

Lonely Planet travel guides have rated Krakows Main Market Square as the most beautiful in the world.

Krakows historic Rynek Glowny managed to beat off competition from Venices celebrated Piazza San Marco 2nd place and the Jamaa el Fna in Marrakesh 3rd in the top ten ranking.

The French wing of Lonely Planet noted that the Krakow site had “miraculously” survived the ravages of the Second World War, and that street performers and flower-sellers all do their bit in creating the magic of the square.

Lonely Planet enthused that among the most captivating times to visit the square is during the annual Nativity Scene Contest, which takes place on the first Thursday of every December. On that day, contestants line up their distinctive Christmas Cribs on the ledges of the Adam Mickiewicz monument.

Krakows Old Town was rebuilt from scratch after being burnt to the ground by Mongol invaders in the mid 13th Century, hence the citys grid layout. During the Nazi German occupation of the Second World War, the square was renamed Adolf Hitler Platz. However, on the architectural level, the city managed to escape the destruction experienced by many other Polish towns and cities.

Other squares picked in Lonely Planets top ten include the Old Town Square in Prague, Isfahans Imam Square and Moscows Red Square.

via Lonely Planet declares Krakow square worlds finest – National.

December 18, 2013 Posted by | News, Recommendations | , | 1 Comment

Krakow In Your Pocket

KIP cover

April 23, 2013 Posted by | Events, News, Recommendations, Tour Information | Leave a comment

Do the time warp again in Nowa Huta

Relics of the communist era abound in this Krakow ‘suburb’ and, as David Whitley finds, some are coming back into fashion.

Java is in a state of near panic. “No! No! Not the red light!” our driver shouts at the road ahead of him. If he has to stop now, he might never start again.

The journey so far has been noisy, juddering and punctuated by exhortations to the shambolic red box we’re trapped inside to not give up the ghost just yet. We’re in a model S (“some say it means sport, some say it means super, most say it means shit”) Trabant. It’s the iconic Communist-era car across much of eastern Europe, and this one was built in 1989, the year the Iron Curtain collapsed. The engine, however, appears to be somewhat older – perhaps belonging to a neglected lawnmower from the 1950s.

That might not be too wide of the mark, actually. It has a 200cc, two-stroke engine and spits fumes out of the back like a flatulent dragon. There’s no fuel gauge – you have to open the bonnet and dip a plastic ruler in to check the level. Java admits that he usually cheats and just shakes the car to see how heavy it is.

Driving it is the motoring equivalent of dragging a seriously wounded colleague to safety across a bullet-ridden battlefield. It’s no wonder that Java lets out an ecstatic, gallows humour-drenched “Yee-es!” every time he manages to successfully change gear.

Once ubiquitous throughout Poland, the Trabant’s role is now one of novelty. Java says you can’t even buy them dirt cheap any more – the prices are being inflated by vintage-car collectors. But for the purposes of today’s trip, our hobbling red box on wheels is perfect.

via Do the time warp again.

April 21, 2013 Posted by | Krakow Travel Advice, Recommendations, Tour Information | , , , , | Leave a comment

Krakow: Small but perfectly formed

KRAKOW TOURS: A little internet access can be a dangerous thing. This became apparent while planning a trip to Poland’s second-largest city, Krakow. I email my father a link to a restaurant’s website with the message: “I booked us a table here on Saturday night.”

Three minutes later he replies: “I hope everyone likes pike stew.”

They don’t. I’m embarking on a weekend with a few fussy eaters and keeping the menu at this Polish TV chef-run restaurant a secret is proving difficult. I found rave reviews online, the same place my father is now accessing the menu and gagging about pike stew. Therein lies the rub of travel in our online age: you can take and you can give but you can’t please everyone.

We plan Krakow with military precision involving numerous emails before flights and apartments are booked. In the weeks before take-off, I copy and paste articles into my smartphone’s notepad. I email myself the names of bars and directions to the train station.

via Krakow: Small but perfectly formed for a long weekend – Travel News | Ireland & World Travel Advice & Tips | The Irish Tim – Sat, Apr 06, 2013.

April 7, 2013 Posted by | Krakow Travel Advice, Recommendations | , , | Leave a comment

The Man Who Volunteered For Auschwitz

Reports by a Pole who got himself imprisoned in Auschwitz during WW II to see what conditions were like inside the Nazi death camp have won the prestigious THE PROSE award in the US.

Captain Witold Pilecki’s reports, published by the independent Aquila Polonica publishing house in the United States, received the award from the Association of American Publishers, which brings together over 300 large American publishing houses.

Pilecki’s reports, ‘The Auschwitz Volunteer: Beyond Bravery’, was awarded in the ‘biographies and autobiographies’ category.

The book has also been named Editor’s Choice by the New York Times.

Captain Pilecki’s reports have been translated by Jarek Garliński, the son of the historian and Auschwitz prisoner Józef Garliński.

The 400-page book has an introduction by the renowned historian Norman Davies and a foreword by Michael Schudrich, Chief Rabbi of Poland.

In September 1940 Witold Pilecki volunteered to be captured and imprisoned in Auschwitz to bring out the story of German atrocities.

In 1943 he escaped from the camp, reached Warsaw and a year later fought in the Warsaw Rising. After the war he went to Italy and joined the Second Corps but was subsequently sent by the Polish intelligence to Poland as a spy.

However, he was captured and executed by the communist authorities in 1948.

He was rehabilitated in 1990 and in 2008 received posthumously the Order of the White Eagle, the highest Polish state distinction.

LINKED BLOGS

A Diamond amongst heroes

February 24, 2013 Posted by | Auschwitz, News, Recommendations | , , , | Leave a comment

Oskar Schindler’s Factory Photo Gallery

Oskar Schindler was a German industrialist who, after witnessing with horror the liquidation of the Jewish ghetto in Kraków in March 1943, began employing Jewish workers in his enamel factory at 4 Lipowa St., which supplied metal goods deemed necessary to the war effort to the German army. Schindler managed to save more than 1,200 Jews from the death camps at great risk and expense to himself. Steven Spielberg’s movie “Schindler’s List” was filmed almost entirely in Kraków. More information on Oskar Schindler can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oskar_Schindler

I didn’t take too many pictures at the museum as it was incredibly dark inside and really didn’t lend itself to photography layout wise, but what few I did are displayed in this small sub-gallery.

via Oskar Schindler’s Factory Photo Gallery by Helen Betts at pbase.com.

February 21, 2013 Posted by | Recommendations | | Leave a comment

Wieliczka Salt Mine – Poland

wieliczka salt mine

Wieliczka Salt Mine is probably the most amazing mine in the world.

A very popular destination, the mine is located just east of Krakow and has been the driving force behind the city’s former wealth and influence. The mine has been producing salt for 700 years and now stretches to over 200km of tunnels over 9 levels.

Guided tours are compulsory – these are run regularly in English as well as less often for other languages. The tours last at least two hours – up to three in the busiest times of year – and involves a 2km walk through the mine, beginning with a dizzying 378 step descent down one of the shafts to the third level.

The mine was carved out by hand and is a maze of tunnels and chambers. Some of the wooden pit props are so old that with the weight of the ground above have compressed to the hardness of stone. The whole area is eerily lit, with the salt crystal walls surprisingly dark. Narrow tunnels lead to huge chambers, some with other entrances way above accessed by catwalk. The pit props are at times like a work of art, holding up the ceiling like a vaulted cathedral. Statues line the route, all carved from salt in intricate detail as the tour take you deeper in to the mine.

The highlight of the tour is the Chapel of the Blessed Kinga, patron saint of Poland. One of several chapels set in the mine complex, the entire chamber was hewn by hand from solid rock salt. This underground temple took over 30 years to complete and involved the removal of of 20,000 tonnes of rock salt. Everything in the room is made of salt, including the chandeliers and altarpieces. The pulpit is carved as a mountain with a castle wall, while carved panels depict Christian scenes in great detail.

The Wieliczka Salt Mine is truly a unique place to visit – from the slow descent and maze of passageways to the huge vaulted chambers and speedy ascent in the lift. The Chapel of Blessed Kinga is truly stunning, a massive cathedral set a hundred metres underground.

via Wieliczka Salt Mine – Poland – Country Guide.

February 12, 2013 Posted by | Recommendations | , | Leave a comment

BBC Travel – Kazimierz: New life in Krakow’s Jewish quarter

Wander through Kazimierz, better known as the Jewish quarter of Krakow, Poland’s second largest city, and signs of the area’s cultural heritage are everywhere.

Szeroka - Kazimierz   www.krakowtours.co.uk

The Old Synagogue dominates Ulica Szeroka (Wide Street), where wooden tables from traditional Jewish restaurants spill out onto the pavement In the evenings while the sound of traditional Jewish klezmer music emanates from the bars and cafes of the surrounding alleys.

via BBC – Travel – New life in Krakow’s Jewish quarter : Cultural Activities, Poland.

February 7, 2013 Posted by | Krakow Travel Advice, Recommendations, Tour Information | , , , | Leave a comment

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