The next couple of days were kind of a mess. From Bled I went back to Ljubljana to catch a bus to Salzburg. Apparently there’s only one bus and it leaves at 7:30 PM and arrives in Salzburg at around 11 PM. The bus got delayed. I dunno where it came from but it arrived at 8:30 PM. As a result, I arrived in Salzburg past midnight. I assumed the bus station would be in the city center. Turns out it was on the outskirts, more than 3 miles away. There’s a city bus to the city center, but it only runs until 11:30 PM. Damn, why didn’t I do any research. I really got caught off guard. Normally I would have walked, but it was raining and I didn’t bring a raincoat nor an umbrella. There wasn’t even a proper bus station, it was basically a huge parking lot. Spending the night wasn’t an option because there’s no shelter from the rain. I can’t even call a taxi service because the SIM card I bought only works in Slovenia. For the past couple of years it was easy to find prepaid SIM cards that worked in the entire EU. This year, for some reason I couldn’t find any in all the countries I have visited. Freaking greedy cellular networks found another way to make more money SMH. The other passengers had no problem because they had family or friends picking them up. I was about to ask the few remaining people if I could hitch a ride with them when an Italian dude approached me, asking if we could share a cab. Hallelujah. Since he was from Italy his cellular network had coverage so he was able to call a cab. It costs 20 euros, so I just had to give him 10. More than what I’d usually pay, but I had no choice. All the other passengers had left.
From the city center in Salzburg, there’s a free shuttle service to the festival grounds and it ran all night. The place where they dropped us off was still quite far from the campsite though. It was still raining so the ground was all muddy. It was also cold, I thought I had been walking for eternity. Eventually I reached the main entrance to the campsite and one of my friends met me there. It rained hard the next day and I got sick from being all cold and wet, I felt so miserable. Clearly it wasn’t how I expected it. It got all warm and sunny the next day though, and by the third day i started feeling better. On hindsight it was a lot of fun. I found the lineup lacking but I had so much fun especially at the camp site, I wouldn’t mind returning again next year… but I’d probably wait for the weather forecast first. heh.
I initially planned to stay in Salzburg to see the sights, but damn Austria is expensive. The weather was about to turn shitty again based on the forecast, so I just decided to meet up with another friend in Vienna. I stayed at his place for a couple of days, planning my next move. I’ve already been to the countries surrounding Austria, and I wasn’t keen on heading back to any of those countries yet. I’ve heard good things about Poland, and i heard it was a cheap place to visit too which made it even more enticing. It wasn’t next to Austria, but I’d just have to pass through the Czech Republic. On Flixbus there’s one bus heading to Krakow everyday with just one stop in either Prague or Brno. The entire trip would last about 8 hours which isn’t too bad. I eventually decided to split the trip and check out Brno first, just cause I’ve never been there.
From Brno, the bus to Krakow leaves at night. I arrived past midnight. Thankfully the hostel my friend recommended was very close to the bus station, it was only 15 minutes away by walking. It was quite safe since most of the time I just had to walk inside the shopping mall beside the bus station. Shops were closed but the mall remained open for passersby. The hostel was quite a bargain. They serve free breakfast, free dinner, and get this— they even offer free laundry service. And it only costs 50 Zlotys (about 12 Euros) a night to stay in the dorm room! Not surprising since everything is really cheap in Poland. I found it even cheaper than the Czech Republic! I bought a sim card the next day and I got 5 Gigs of data for only 5 Zloty. That’s just a little over a Euro which is insane!
The Old Town is only 2 minutes away from the hostel by walking— I just had to cross the street. This is great for sightseeing since practically all the famous attractions in Krakow are in the Old Town. The first attraction I saw was the Barbican— the only remaining gatehouse of the fortifications that once encircled the city. The market square is where most tourists converge. It’s not surprising since the surrounding buildings in this area are all remarkably beautiful. St. Mary’s Basilica stands out with its twin spires. The Sukiennice is also notable. If you’re looking for souvenirs, there are great finds inside and most are unbelievably cheap considering it’s at the heart of the touristy area.
Continue walking south and you’ll end up at the Wawel Castle. It has been the residence of the country’s royalty for centuries. It’s a huge complex and my jaw dropped when I caught a glimpse of the cathedral from afar— it’s that beautiful. The castle has an interesting mix of architectural styles from different periods. None of the pictures I took gave it justice. It’s free to roam around the castle grounds, but if you want to go inside some of the buildings you’d have to pay. The price would depend on which ones you want to check out. The cheapest ones only cost 7 Zloty, while the most expensive one costs 25 Zloty. That’s cheap, but it could pile up if you want to go inside several buildings. Entrance is free on certain days though. From April to October, entrance is free on Mondays from 9:30 AM to 1 PM. From November to March, entrance is free every Sunday from 10 AM to 4 PM.
Right next to the castle is the Vistula Boulevard, where lots of locals hang out. There are several restaurants and cafes by the Vistula River so it’s a great place to unwind after sightseeing.
For food, all the locals I’ve met were recommending Polish Dumplings. Those are real cheap and filling but I’m not really a fan. I’ve tried several varieties and I thought they were just okay.
Nightlife in Krakow is a lot of fun though. The fact that alcohol is real cheap pretty much guarantees a party atmosphere everywhere. I joined the official pub crawl since a friend was promoting it and i thought we got a pretty good deal. For only about 50 Zloty (around 13 USD) you get one hour of unlimited drinks at the first stop and free VIP entries with welcome shots at the other stops.
Krakow is definitely a must visit for anyone traveling around Europe. There are so many beautiful sights, and they are all relatively close to each other. Everything is also cheap too which is always a plus. The nightlife is awesome too, so you’re gonna have a blast if you’re looking to party. Krakow has something to offer for everyone, it would be a sin to skip this place if you’re anywhere near the area.