The old capital, with a long history.

Kraków (Krakoof - aka Krakow or Cracow), in the south of Poland, is the old capital of Poland, replaced in 1596 with Warszawa (Varshava - aka Warsaw). In its centre is the old city, with the old city wall and castle. Outside that is the newer city, which includes, amongst other things, the old Jewish and Christian quarters, and beside them, the remains of the ghettos where the Jews were confined during World War II, before being sent to concentration camps. Only a fragment of the ghetto wall still remains - the rest was destroyed by the Nazis to hide the evidence.

Kraków is sometimes claimed to be the most beautiful city in Poland, but that is probably based only on the old city. The old city is pristine, and beautifully maintained. The new city has basically been left to rot, and is in a very poor state of disrepair. It is in such a bad state that most visitors choose never to leave the old city. We ventured outside, then quickly retreated back into the old city again. The old city is well worth a visit, and has enough to entertain for a couple of days or so - more if you visit the insides of Wawel. It is commonly used as a base for British stag dos, easily identifiable by their pushing, chanting, swaggering, and other drunken behaviour.

Time to prepare for the mountains. We made a quick coffee stop at the station, and were faced with communist remnant number 2, who gave us the worst cup of coffee ever, without a smile, barely acknowledging the existance of customers. From there to the ticket booth, where remnant number 3 told us "I'm not going to sell you tickets to Zakopane because the train goes from Warszawa, and it's reservation only". O...K... So we tried another booth; "sure, here's two tickets, with seat reservations - enjoy your trip". There we go.