Poland has been unexpectedly awesome, because we knew nothing about the place and it was never on our radar. Cheap flights and no set itinerary can sometimes lead you to the best places.
Our train to Krakow was stressful, for all the reasons I’ve described in previous posts. I’m not really sure why we haven’t learnt our lesson but every time we get on a train with our luggage my anxiety levels raise just enough to guarantee I end up swearing like a parent who forgets their children can repeat what you say word for word.
Polish trains I have to say are not the best, they have air con but it was never on even with a 38 degree day going on. People attempting to escape the intense heat of the cabins means lots of bodies in the hallway, which makes it very stressful when trying to get off the train with all your luggage and children. People were lovely though, especially the guy in our carriage who helped Rohan out when he struggled to understand that the man selling food and giving Rohan a thumbs up was actually telling him “1 zsloty more.”
We really liked Krakow, our apartment was lovely and it was really easy to walk around and see everything. Checking into the apartment was the easiest experience we’ve had so far, we were given the code so we could just show up. Everything worked, it was clean and quiet and just perfect for us. Krakow isn’t as keen on the playgrounds as other Polish cities, we only managed to find one that was free in a shopping centre and one other one outside. There were lots of paid play centres but with 3 kids it became a bit too expensive for us.
The train to Wroclaw was not as stressful, we upgraded to the next service and still didn’t get any air conditioning. On the plus side, the intense heat enforced nap time and the kids slept most of the trip. We only had to share our cabin with one other person and she passed out as well. Upgrading meant we got free water this time, which is a bonus.
We had five days in an apartment not in the best location. It didn’t matter so much though because I managed to land myself a virus and was bed bound for the week. Fortunately the apartment had a playground, frequented a lot by Rohan and the kids. The McDonalds across the road may have been frequented a little bit too.
We moved closer into town for a further 4 days and this apartment has been fantastic. At first I wondered why “secure building” would be heavily emphasised in the description, until we saw a drug deal and a domestic on the walk from the station to our apartment. We can see the drug deals taking place each afternoon from our apartment balcony, which doesn’t really phase me to be honest. Our days in Sydney living next to “Jimmy” the drug dealer, who was eventually sent to prison for murder, desensitised me I guess. But I am grateful for the security guard none the less.
The gnomes in Wroclaw have been the highlight for the kids. Spotting them first became a very intense sport for us (ok me) and it meant the kids were well occupied when we were exploring the city. Amelie was the overall winner with an awesome spotting of gnomes above us hanging from poles.
Cathedral Island was interesting and because we went fairly early there wasn’t many people and even a breeze to keep us cool. The tour group in one of the Churches and the man trying to hand religious cards to the kids (so we then had to give him money) took the shine off the experience a little bit.
We found Wroclaw to have a few expat families, Rohan even had a chat to a fellow Aussie in the playground who gave some tips which was appreciated. The kids really enjoyed playing with the kids in Wroclaw, they were very friendly and managed, despite the language barrier, to prove that chasing each other is a universally awesome game.
Onwards to Stockholm now, but only for the day. We have an overnight cruise from Stockholm to Turku planned and then bus trip to Helsinki for a few days and then ferry to Tallinn, Estonia. Can’t wait!