Saturday, 9th August

We were up early ready for the trip to the next big city in Poland – Krakow. There was a heavy fog, but it cleared quickly to reveal a beautiful sunny day. A few pictures of the Palace of Culture and Science were appropriate as we packed the car to leave.

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Just outside of Warsaw was another building called Wilanow Palace that is highly recommended. We took the trip on the way to Krakow and we were not disappointed. The palace does cost to go in, so we were happy to take photos from the outside and walk the grounds. We even found a little church as we explored.

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Trying to enjoy the journey as much as the destination, we stop if we see something cool. Today’s trip had a few stops. The first was at a church in some little town. It was built in 1774 and had been restored quite a bit by the look of it, but on the back of the donations of the poor townsfolk. We managed to get a peek inside since there was a wedding being set up in there.

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The next stop was all about a cute church that ended up being about ice cream! There is a local delicacy called “lody” which is vanilla ice cream swirled with strawberry gelato into a cone. Delicious – and just what we needed to break up the trip. As we sat in a local park eating our ice creams, we saw a wedding about to start at the nearby church. The weird thing we noticed was that the bride and the bridal party had to WALK to the church! Strange, but kind of cool, since the locals all came out to cheer them on as they walked past.

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We eventually got to Krakow and checked into our hotel. The timing was good because it was getting later into the afternoon and it had cooled down to about 28 degrees. The hotel was only 15 minutes walk from the old town, so we headed off to take a quiet walk around.

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We did hit a slight hitch when we got inside the massive old town city gates… the Tour de Pologne was on. It’s a massive bicycle race similar to the Tour de France, but around Poland. The town square had a bike track set up through it and thousands of people had turned up for the race!

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However, while people were busy watching, we managed to sneak into the nearby sights and have a great look around. The following photos are of the Church of the Virgin Mary and Wawei Royal Castle – and a troupe of traditional dancers!

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Exhausted at the end of a long day, we sat down and had dinner at one of the many restaurants on the square and watched them pack up the spectacular. Afterwards we headed back to hotel and turned in.

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Friday, 8th August

Warsaw. Beautiful city and too much to do in one day – but we gave it a go.

Up early and out to try and beat the predicted rain for the day. It was overcast and a little drizzly, but not too bad. We saw so many things and took so many photos that I thought it would be easiest to group them together.

The first group of photos consists of random sites around Warsaw, including the Presidential Palace and the Palace of Culture and Science.

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On the way to the Old Town part of Warsaw we saw some amazing churches – both on the outside and inside.

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The first thing we noticed about the old town was the massive wall that surrounded it. This wall has survived medieval times and WWII although has been battered in places. The enormity and age of it is outstanding.

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The wall encircles the Old Town part of Warsaw with the Market Place in the centre. We stopped there and had a glass of wine, watching the children getting eaten by pigeons. We also laughed heartily at the tour group that had to all wear orange hats and were glad we didn’t enrol on THAT tour!

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After leaving the Old Town we walked back to our accommodation via the Warsaw Opera House which is also a very impressive building. I’m sure it would be spectacular on the inside as well, but we needed dinner not a show. 😉

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We finally made it back and had dinner at a great little restaurant with a non-smoking outdoor area – unheard of in Europe! I had a schnitzel the size of a dinner plate and we left feeling full and ready to turn in.

As we have said before, most of the photos are taken by Keith with the Canon camera, with Bec grabbing some awesome shots here and there as well. The main reason that Keith has the camera most of the time is because he can’t be trusted to behave when Bec has the camera….

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Thursday, 7th August

There are some days that we have the most beautiful drives through the most spectacular countryside… today was not one of them. With a 7 hour drive ahead of us (not including stopping for breaks), we opted for the highway. The drive on the highway is lot quicker, but very boring.

There were a couple of times that we detoured from the route just for something different. On one of those occasions, we found a little local church that was photo worthy. Nearby was a stork’s nest on top of a power pole by the road.

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Eventually we reached Warsaw and met with the person from whom we were renting the apartment for the next two nights. We got the run down and the keys and then had a look around at the view from the balcony, we were pretty happy with the location, right in the heart of the city on the 12th floor we had the most amazing views!

Tomorrow we’ll explore these locations in detail, but after the night shots, we went pretty much straight to bed.

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It’s been a long day without many events, but tomorrow will be jam packed!

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