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Finally going to Poland

After about 3 years of asking questions and advice, we are finally going to Poland. Yeah. We booked our tickets this past Saturday for next July 6. We being 2 couples (family). We will visit Kraków, Wroclaw, GDANSK, and Warsaw for 14 nights. Then onto Croatia for 3 weeks to visit family. With all the connections, it ended up being 6 flights, add in the other 4 family members meeting us in Croatia and I am so happy the flights and hotels are all booked.

Again, thanks to everyone who answered past questions. I will start the day-to-day planning after the New Year and will probably have many more questions. P.S. It is amazing how your mood changes when you have a trip in the works to look forward to.

Posted by
4686 posts

Sounds good! I visited all of those places (except Warsaw) a few years ago by train, and I included a stop for a night in the lovely town of Torun (south of Gdansk). Not sure you can fit it in, but put Torun on your list!

Posted by
1418 posts

We will visit Malbork and Czestochowa definitely. We have decided to travel by train and/or bus and have already emailed Andrew Durham about some private tours. 2 weeks sounds sufficient but when you start listing everything/place you want to see, it gets filled up quick. We kept going back and forth between Wroclaw or Poznan. Wroclaw won out. We have 6 nights in Kraków, 2 Wroclaw, 3 GDANSK, and 4 Warsaw. (Just realized it is 15 nights, even better) We just don't like to rush. Will be looking over past trips reports for inspiration.

Posted by
2089 posts

My 2015 trip to Poland was quite a revelation--visited on a bit of a whim and was completely captivated by the lovely people, beautiful cities, fabulous food and their dramatic and tragic history. I started in Krakow for 4 days, train to Warsaw for 4 days and a long day trip via train to Gdansk. I've got a trip report buried somewhere in that forum. It's definitely a country I will need to return to.

Posted by
6148 posts

Six nights in Kraków is really a lot unless you're planning on a lot of side trips. The old town is quite compact. Even at the slowest pace possible, you'll see everything in 2.5-3 "full" days max (just the city itself, not anything outside the city). If you're going to use a private tour guide/driver, then have him/her take you to see the UNESCO wooden churches outside the city (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1053). And maybe even Zalipie if you want to see a colorful traditional village (http://unusualplaces.org/zalipie-the-most-beautiful-village-in-poland/).

Posted by
1418 posts

Agnes, yes I know 6 days is a long time but we have long list - Auschitwitz, Shindler factory, cloth hall, St. Mary's alter, Wawel castle, museums, day trip to Częstochowa, tour of Pope John Paul's life, a cooking class, salt mine, Shrine of Divine Mercy, Rynek underground, Mass at various churches, Polish Folklore dinner, Czartoryski Museum,stained glass museum, ethnographic musuem, etc. I just purchased Rick's updated snapshot guide and am reading, as well as the Internet. I think we will be okay.

Posted by
1418 posts

Christa, I did read your report. I will re-read it again.

Posted by
199 posts

So happy for you, Barbara! My husband and I visited many of the same places summer of 2016. Enjoy your planning. It will be a wonderful trip!

Posted by
6148 posts

It sounds like you have a lot of good plans for Krakow. Maybe 6 days isn't so long after all :-)

Posted by
1418 posts

Thanks, another great website to check out. I am a secretary at a small school in Brooklyn and the last two years we had quite a few Polish families register. You are correct, they are lovely, happy people, as are their children. They said they will help me plan. I also have one teacher from near Kraków and a Priest I know from Malbork. Combine these people with all the posters here and I am guaranteed a fabulous trip.

Posted by
13930 posts

You may be shortchanging Gdansk. Of the 3 cities I visited, it was by far my favorite. I had 3.5 days and meant to use one of them for a day trip to Malbork - but I never left the city and sadly didn't get to the WWII Museum. The Solidarity Museum needs at least 3 hours and is one of the best museums I've ever visited.

Posted by
1418 posts

Chani, I understand what you are saying, I heard wonderful things about GDANSK; but after consulting my travel planning team (me) we decided we wanted the extra day in Warsaw. no matter how many days we alot to our travel, it is never enough for some cities. I am confident our trip will be fabulous.

Posted by
12091 posts

Hi,

I would suggest keeping in mind the war destruction experienced by both Gdansk and Wroclaw (then Danzig and Breslau, both province capitals). Breslau was pretty much destroyed (one of the worst in Germany) since it was declared a fortress, put under siege, and suffered as such in 1945, so the Wroclaw you see is basically a rebuilt city. Danzig suffered less destruction relative to Breslau. The old town in Gdansk esp the churches has its architecture going back to the Middle Ages. You'll easily recognise that as you gaze at these tall edifices.

Posted by
1418 posts

Thanks for the info Fred. I have read a little about Poland and will read more after the holidays. My husband is the big reader in the family so he will hit the library in January.

Posted by
12091 posts

@ Barbara....If you are interested in pursuing more reading on modern Polish history, I heartily recommend the books by the British historian, Norman Davies, mostly likely the leading authority in English on Polish history, any of his works. He's fluent in German (certainly a must), Russian, and Polish, obviously, his specialty.

Posted by
2070 posts

I love your itinerary! You will love having six nights in Krakow. It was my favorite in Poland, just edging out Gdansk. The trains are extremely efficient and punctual, and Poland is very inexpensive. Great place to visit!

Posted by
1418 posts

Thanks Fred, will look into his books. Yes Carol I think it will be fabulous. I worked on our itinerary for a few weeks, reading about different cities, comparing what to see, connections, and what interests us. I am trying to concentrate on the Holidays before I go full on planning mode.

Posted by
12091 posts

@ Barbara...You're welcome. If you want additional information on how the tragic diplomatic history of Poland from 1944 to 1947 emerged and the role of the US, I suggest the relevant pages in Henry Kissinger's, "Diplomacy" (1994), ie, a critical analysis, readable and insightful.

Posted by
1418 posts

Will google it and read the particulars and see if it will fit into one of our days as someplace we would like to see. Since the others I am traveling with let me do all the planning, they trust my judgement. Thank you for the tip.

Posted by
1418 posts

Thank you for the link. I signed up for their email newsletter so I will have up-to-date information next summer.

Posted by
1921 posts

Hey, Barbara. I hope you have a great trip! I think Krakow can easily consume 6 days. I imagine you are already fully planned, but I just want to mention that the highlight in Krakow for me (total Cold War history buff that I am) was the Crazy Guides Communist Deluxe tour. It was a blast to ride around town in an old East German Trabant, to explore a model Soviet industrial/housing development, and to eat in a milk cafeteria (which offered some of the best food I had in Poland). Hope you have a great time on your trip!

Posted by
1418 posts

Dave, I have not fully planned our trip yet. I am purposely holding off until March because if I start too early and become obsessed I finish too early. Does that make sense? Anyway, I was going to look into those tours because my husband grew up in Yugoslavia and is old enough to remember the communist regime. Granted, they weren't as strict as others countries, but strict enough. When we were in Berlin at the DDR museum, he kept pointing out similar items from his childhood, like the school uniforms, ID cards, belonging to the Pioneers (similar to our boy/Girl Scouts) etc. I definitely think it would interest him.

Posted by
1418 posts

I did read about the crooked forest in an Atlas Obscura newsletter. I don't know if we will be able to fit it in distance wise because it is out of the way. We will not have a car so it makes it difficult.

Posted by
1921 posts

Hey, Barbara... sorry about responding so late to your response to my post, but part of the Crazy Guides tour is going to a flat that is still set up as it existed in the 1970's. Included in the flat are old Communist products... there may be things with which your husband would be familiar (though Tito was kind of his own man... not sure how much he relied on products from other Communist countries). You will love, love, love your trip to Poland no matter what you do! Have fun!

Posted by
1418 posts

I have been reading and researching different tours, sights, restaurants, etc and writing everything down to compare. I usually don’t refine our itinerary until 2 months before and then start reserving spots. I still have to work out some transportation questions. Will add your recommendation to my list.

Posted by
1878 posts

Please share any insights about transportation--my wife and I are also going to Poland with three nights in Gdansk and four in Krakow. The train between the two is a long haul, and I am not sure between that and flying on LOT. We'll visit Wroclaw in transit between Krakow and Goerlitz, Germany, or we might trim a day elsewhere to spend a night in Wroclaw. I know trains are cheapish and it's worth paying for first class, that's not much more expensive. I have read/heard they are sometimes crowded and you sometimes have to ask for a nonsmoking car. The Polish rail site is confusing, it gives you English menus up to a point but when you go to buy it's a Polish menu with tons of options which you would have to type into Google translator one by one. Any tips you figure out, please let me know!

Posted by
1418 posts

Our trip is a little different but I will try and help

Fly into Kraków
Kraków to Wroclaw we are hiring private driver with a stop at czestochowa
Wroclaw to GDANSK we will take the train. From our train experiences in other countries, we will purchase our tickets when we arrive in Wroclaw, we are staying 2 nights.
GDANSK to Warsaw we will take train, again we will purchase tickets when we arrive in GDANSK, 3 nights.

I was looking on the train website but it is a little confusing, but then I realized it is too early. Tickets are only sold 30 days out it seems. I always want to purchase ahead of time, my husband laughs then says ok, you can do it. Most times when we purchase on sight we have never had a bus or train sold out.

I found an interesting website while looking for a perogi cooking class called eataway. You enter the city you are interested in and local people have dinners set up in their home. So, for a very reasonable price, you can eat with a local in their home and enjoy a home cooked meal.