• Berlins and Outs

    Wrocław, or Emma Tries to Convince You to Visit Poland

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Poland should be on your European itinerary. When I backpacked around Europe six years ago, Krakow was one of my favorite stops. I met awesome people there, learned a lot about the city’s history, and ate so many delicious pierogi. Why Poland? The thing that drew me to Poland in the first place was my mother’s family. If we talk ancestry in terms of percentages, I’m mostly English, but if we talk in terms of cultural heritage, I feel most connected to my Polish roots. I called my maternal grandparents, “bopshe” and “jaju” (Americanizations of the Polish babcia and dziadzio), we…

  • The Great European Adventure

    A Happy and Amusing Daytrip from Krakow

    My previous Krakow post was about taking a daytrip to Auschwitz. This post is a more cheerful daytrip you can take away from the city. Easily accessible by bus (take number 304 from Pawia St), the Wieliczka Salt Mine is a wonder to behold. English tours leave at least once an hour, and while they are a little pricey (73 zloty/23 USD), I did mention in the previous sentence that this place is “a wonder to behold.” The tour begins with everyone walking down 350 steps (don’t worry, you take an elevator back up) to help you understand what the salt miners did on a daily basis. Once you arrive…

  • The Great European Adventure

    Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum

    While I was in Krakow, I took a daytrip to Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum. I wasn’t planning to blog about this experience. When I visited Auschwitz, I tried to conduct myself respectfully, and to give the space the reverence it deserved. I hadn’t planned on taking photos, but after arriving, I felt comfortable doing so as a way to solidify the experience. I think photographing a site such as Auschwitz could actually be beneficial in light of Holocaust deniers and others who would have us believe that this piece of history isn’t worth remembering. The Holocaust happened, and there are millions of us with photographic evidence of this fact —…

  • The Great European Adventure,  Travel Tips

    8 Reasons Why Krakow Should Be on Your European Itinerary

    I loved the time I spent in Krakow and, in my previous post on this city, I mentioned that I think it has something to offer most travelers. Here are eight reasons your next European vacation should take you to Poland’s cultural capital. 1. The Price is Right Poland is not an expensive country. Currently, 1 Polish Zloty is equal to 0.32 United States Dollars, so if you’re from the US, the UK, or the Eurozone, your money can go far. You can easily eat dinner for under $10, and a six bed dorm room directly off the main square (conveniently named Main Market Square) will only set you back…

  • The Great European Adventure

    Krakow was a turning point

    I didn’t want to leave Berlin. Berlin was big and interesting, and there was so much to see — this was why I had left my plans open, why my travel dates were all tentative, so I could stay longer in places I loved. But I didn’t love Berlin. It was beautiful, and historical, and tasty, and I hadn’t even gone to any art museums yet! But that wasn’t why I wanted to stay. I wanted to stay because Berlin was safe. There’s nothing wrong with feeling safe; in fact, I hope that you feel safe while traveling. But I didn’t go to Europe to hide. I went to see…