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.
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.
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.
The Marienkirche is at the foot of the television tower, one of the symbol of the city, with the Brandenburger Tor.
The Red Rathaus was the city hall of East-Berlin.
And a few steps further is the cathedral : the 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.
Walking south from the train station we found the political district, including the « washing machine » and 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.
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.
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.
We enter the center through the main gate, protected by a small fortress called the Barbakan.
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.
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.
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.
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 !
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.
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 …
PS : An amazing video about Berlin