We were in Poland from 9/9 thru 9/28. I posted already with our experience and thoughts in regards to mask wearing and other COVID prevention measures as well as the availability of COVID tests for return. I usually plan quite extensively for trips. This one I planned in about 3 weeks with tremendous help from acraven, Carlos and CW Social, and probably others I'm forgetting. I will just provide the a brief outline of the itinerary and details where interesting or helpful. In short, we had a wonderful time and found the Polish people to be quite friendly and kind.
We flew into Krakow. I decided to get zloty at an ATM in town to avoid any bank fees. We took the train to the main train station which was easy EXCEPT, I thought I had purchased tickets from the machine with a CC and it turned out that my "ticket" was in fact a receipt that the transaction was declined. This was discovered, of course, by the train employee who then tried to help me with the onboard machine. Turned out I needed a CC with a PIN associated with it. None of our 4 cards has an associated PIN. The employee stood by the machine with me for a while as I tried card after card. When she left, a man came over and handed me 40 zloty (that's $10!) He told me it was no big deal and we should enjoy our time in Krakow. I told him I didn't know if the train personnel was even coming back to collect from me, he said then use it for some fun on him! So. . .either get cash at the airport or make sure to have a CC with a PIN (for the whole rest of the trip, the only time we needed a PIN was for city buses in Krakow and the train to the Warsaw airport. We used cash for those)
Also, in regard to money, we had no issues with any quick attempts at charging us in USD, we were always offered a choice. At the popular donut place in old town, the employee may have tried to cheat me or just made a mistake. It struck me as suspicious. I gave her 20 zloty and I got change for 10. When I pointed this out, she fixed the error.
We stayed 4 nights at the Hotel Wielopole. The location was fabulous about .7 miles from the train station and just on the edge of the old town. It was very clean, the staff was nice, the room was quite small and the beds a bit too soft. There is an ATM next door that did not charge fees on my credit union ATM card.
Miod Malina, nice wine, nicely prepared and presented food, a little pricier than others
Hamsa, Jewish Quarter, LOVED this place, wonderful, well priced food, friendly wait staff
Morskie Oko, great outdoor location, good wine list, food was pretty good, helpful waiter
Polskie Smaki, crazy cheap, HORRIBLE wine, get beer, some of the food wasn't to our taste, but we had plenty we liked.
My husband took a mini bus to Auschwitz. It seemed like the tour experience was a bit different from what RS and acraven described. My impression was that it may have been due to COVID. He would have liked to do some photography, but it was too difficult with the group. When he was at Auschwitz, I went to the folk/ethnographic museum in the Jewish quarter. It was just what I was looking for and it's free on Sunday (and sparsely visited) I went back to Hamsa for a small lunch and walked around the two Jewish cemeteries. Other activities in Krakow were the Castle Complex, RS walking tours of Old Town and the Jewish Quarter (Kazimierz) and MANY churches. Favorite churches were the Franciscan Church with Art Nouveau painting, St. Peter and Paul, with statues of all the apostles, and St. Mary's Basilica, but we go into every church we see. We spent considerable time at Schindler's factory, partly due to trying to avoid unmasked people in tight quarters, a few with deep coughs. UGG. We got a little turned around after getting off the bus on the way to the factory. An older gentleman saw me struggling with my navigation and tried to help. When we couldn't communicate other than "Schindler" he walked us a few blocks to get us on track.