Got back from Krakow in the early hours of this morning after spending an amazing four days there.
I stayed in the Hotel Kazimierz in the Kazimierz district and am so glad I chose that area - I found it much more atmospheric than round the "old town". It was within easy walking distance of everywhere.
The first day was spend exploring the old town - Rynek Glowy, the Cloth Hall, Wawel Castle, some of the churches and generally walking round and seeing the sights.
The next day was a trip to Auschwitz and Birkenau - the Auschwitz tour takes about 2 hours and is very informative (it's more of a museum-type set up). Then on to Birkenau (this lasts about an hour) which I found more moving - you could really imagine the horror there.
The next day I explored Plaszow - saw Hero Square, the remnants of the old ghetto walls and then onto Schindler's museum - this was much more than I expected. It's not just the history of Schindler and the factory, it's the history of the occupation of Krakow and the suffering of all the people there - I learnt so much from it. Then I did a bit of retail therapy in the Galeria Kazimierz (large shopping centre).
Yesterday was a general walk round Kazimierz again - the church on the rock, the new Jewish cemetery (very gothic, very moving and very poignant) and a lovely walk along the river in the Polish sunshine (the weather was great while we were there).
As for eating, I enjoyed the Pierogi (Polish dumplings), the Golonka (pork knuckle) and zapiekanki (Polish pizza) - and all very good value for money. Oh and I also enjoyed the vishnuka (I know it's spelt wrong but that's how it's pronounced) which was the cherry vodka which I had with sprite - delicious!!
In the evenings, time was spent at Plac Nowy in Kazimierz which is a great place to spend time and people watch. My favourite bar was the Singer Bar which is very atmospheric and a great place to spend an evening.
The only thing I didn't have time to do was visit the salt mines - but it's a good reason to return!!