Berlin & Kraków

First episode about my late June trip with my brother.

Pictures are dispatched on 4 articles. Don’t miss some !

We went hiking in Poland and Slovakia. And as we decided to go there by train, there were plenty of side-trips on the way.

It started with a Friday night train from Paris to Berlin. About 12h30 of light sleep, but still enough to be in good shape to meet the German capital city and our host there.

Berlin

Time to understand the public transport prices and half an hour of S-Bahn after our arrival at the all new Hauptbahnhof, we met our host at a bakery at a corner. First thing, bread is maybe not as good as in France (pure chauvinism) but it’s cheap. We shared breakfast with Yvonne in her huge flat and then she took us for a tour in her neighborhood. She’s living 2 blocks away from Charlottenburg castle.

Schloss Charlottenburg

The castle as a great garden and is in the heart of the city. At first sight Berlin seems really green, and it was confirmed all day long.

A short bus ride later we were already at the Zoologischer Garten, but the Souvenir Church was under scafoldings. After hanging around the shopping streets around the KaDeWe we took the subway to the Alexander Platz.

Alexander Platz

The Marienkirche is at the foot of the television tower, one of the symbol of the city, with the Brandenburger Tor.

Marien Kirche

Fernsehturm

The Red Rathaus was the city hall of East-Berlin.

Rote Rathaus

And a few steps further is the cathedral : the Berliner Dom.

Berliner Dom

We didn’t get further to the center because another guest from Hong-Kong was coming at the same time. So we went waiting for her at the main station, where we arrived in the morning. There was a weird looking horse sculpture in front of it.

Hauptbahnhof

Walking south from the train station we found the political district, including the « washing machine » and the Reichstag.

Washing machine

The Reichstag

We continued to the Brandenburger Tor, the main tourist sightseeing. And hen walked along Unter den Linden, one of the main avenues, eating a currywurst on the way.

Brandenburger Tor

Rain stopped us and we didn’t saw much that day except a supermarket. But it’s usely something very enjoyable outside of your own country, whether at home it’s boring. In the evening we had some « german tapas », consisting in small amounts of various german dishes… It’s original, but I won’t say german food is made to be eaten in such small amounts.

The next morning, 24h after our arrival we left for Kraków, Poland. So this Sunday was a 10h (+40min delay) train trip. A bit boring at the end but rather interesting. You feel like your destination is at the end of the world. And you see the landscape changing, from the pine forest of east-Germany, through the abandoned fields after the polish border, the industrial Silesia and the Beskid mountains in the background…. Much more satisfying than a 2h Ryanair flight.

Kraków

Our friendly hosts, Maciek and Magda picked us directly at the train station and shared there meal with us. Fully advised on what to see in the city we spent the whole following day sightseeing.

And sure there is a lot to see. Arriving from the train station you enter the city center in a garden along a theater. The former city walls almost disappeared and are now replaced by a garden totally surrounding the historic center, Stare Miasto.

Theatre

We enter the center through the main gate, protected by a small fortress called the Barbakan.

Florianska gate

From here the main street, Florianska, leads directly to the main market square, the heart of the city. Still wet from the short shower we just received.

Market square

Beside St Mary's Basilika

Most of the monuments and old houses are around, or in the center, of the market square. Like the belfry. Unlike Berlin, almost every building in the center is centuries old.

The Belfry

South of the center is a small hill toped with a castle, the Wawel. It has a very nice courtyard and the cathedral of Kraków is also on the Wawel.

Wawel

A tower of the Wawel

Castle courtyard

Going down from the Wawel

Building

Out of the center is the Jewish district Kazimierz, a pleasant part of the city with a lot less tourists, because it’s just nice to walk around, but there are not many things to see. Or maybe we didn’t found !

Church on the right bank of the Vistule

Back to the main market square, the afternoon was a lot sunnier than the morning. And so I have much better pictures of the St Mary’s Basilica.

Every hour, on top of the left tower, a man plays trumpet in four direction to reminds the Tatars invasion from the 13th century. They’ll never forget.

St Mary's Basilika

The Belfry

St Mary's Basilika

And at the foot of the Basilica is a bicycle that will soon need new clothes ! (reminds me another one in Lund, Sweden last year)

Bike

We spent the evening with our host in a Georgian restaurant, eating some new unknown food with good georgian wine and then drinking maybe the fourth different beer brand of the trip and talking about our plans for the next days in the mountains.


The next morning we left Kraków already. By bus this time. Surely faster than train to reach Zakopane and the Tatras mountains …

Next episode : Tatras >>

PS : An amazing video about Berlin

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