A weekend in… Poland! Day Two, Krakow and the Trail of the Eagles’ Nest

So day two of our weekend trip technically starts the night before, with the most amazing dinner (probably one of the best I’ve had in Europe) at Restaurant Starka in Krakow. Our reservation wasn’t until 9pm (I essentially begged for a table over email!) – if you want to get into this restaurant, especially on a Saturday night, I thoroughly recommend making a reservation well in advance!

We arrived into Krakow at 7pm with the intention of checking into our hotel, relaxing, and changing, before heading out to dinner. But the best laid plans… Turned out that our hotel had given away our rooms (thanks Booking.com) so the poor girl manning the desk had to scour all nearby hotels for a place for us to stay. Two hours of frantic searching later and we finally found rooms at the Q Best Western.

Luckily it was only a short taxi ride back to Restaurant Starka, but we arrived tired, grumpy and feeling grotty (no time after all for a nap or a shower). But it was so worth it. Revived by a strawberry-infused vodka shot, we got down to the business of ordering. All of us apart from the vegetarian (!) shared a starter platter of homemade lard on toast (surprisingly, much nicer than it sounds!), Polish sausage (yum), herring dip and prunes wrapped in bacon – combined with some of the yummiest bread and garlic mayo ever. Suffice to say we were excited for what was to come. But nothing prepared us for the delicious 0.5kg of boneless pork knuckle that was to come for main course! It was like the best, juiciest, most succulent pork belly wrapped in 360-degrees of rich, crunchy, salty crackling. All kinds of perfect.

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Maybe not the prettiest food… but really delicious! Pork knuckle

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Home-infused vodka – pretty much any flavour you could want under the sun

We finished off the evening with a shot of home-infused black pepper vodka that just about blew our heads off. All in all, it was a great evening. Krakow was already showing itself to be a cool town.

The next morning, we strolled across the bridge to look at Wawel Castle. It was early on a Sunday morning, so unfortunately not much was open, but we enjoyed soaking up the atmosphere.

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Inside the grounds of Wawel Castle

The main site that we’d intended to see was Krakow’s Grand Square and the impressive Cloth Hall. It was a picture of the Cloth Hall that had inspired Tania to take this trip in the first place, so we owe it a lot! Krakow is a gorgeous city, full of medieval details – right down to the legend of the dragon that apparently had its lair within Wawel hill. Huge dragon bones hang outside the Cathedral in Wawel Castle, and myth states that if these bones ever fall, the end of the world is nigh. Any place with history that epic automatically earns a special place in my heart!

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The magnificent Cloth Hall

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The Krakow dragon

Also, any city that has a fire-breathing dragon with seven heads as a statue is alright with me.

From Krakow, we made our way back to the airport via the Trail of the Eagles’ Nests. The trail features at least 25 castles, varying from the 14th century to the Renaissance – and we found it hard to choose which ones to visit. Luckily, Tania had done her research. We stopped first at Ojców castle, a picturesque ruin in the woods. It was beautiful because of the setting, especially in the autumn with all the changing leaves. I loved that it appeared to have been reclaimed by the rock and the forest.

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Ojców castle

Next was Pieskow Skała, which Tania picked because it has a cool rock formation near by known as Hercules’ Bludgeon.

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Pieskow Skała

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Hercules’ Bludgeon

Then we moved on to Ogrodzieniec Castle – probably the most interesting of the three we visited. You could walk all the way around the castle, exploring all the rooms and taking in the awesome views. I managed to get some great inspiration for Potion Diaries #2!

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The ruins of Ogrodzieniec Castle

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From there, it was a drive to the airport and home – back to work again on Monday morning! A perfect weekend break away.

 

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