Warsaw, Poland: April 2-6
Our time in Warsaw was short, but still worth the stop. We stayed in a lovely apartment in the Old Town. During our day and half, we walked down The Royal Way, visited the History or Polish Jews museum, explored Old Town, and ate a few Polish meals. Warsaw was obliterated during WWII so everything has been rebuilt. They tried to rebuild it as it was and it looks very nice. There are a number of plazas and people hanging out in them. The nice thing was that it never felt overcrowded. The city is pretty spread out so there wasn’t the high concentration like we would see in Krakow. Overall, it a fascinating city that has a lot to explore.
Krakow, Poland: April 6-9
This was our final stop. We took a 3-hour train from Warsaw to Krakow. Upon arriving, we settled into our very basic Airbnb apartment in the Old Town, just two blocks from the main square. We had reserved a time for that evening to visit Schindler’s Factory so we slowly made our way there, walking through Kazimierz, the old Jew Ghetto, to get there. The museum was very comprehensive and well done. The content was focused on Jews in Krakow during the war. That evening, Brian and I had to go pick up our rental car from the airport so we could use it on Sunday to drive to Auschwitz. Vicki stayed with Avery and then we all settled in for the night.
Saturday was a full day of exploring. In the morning, Brian and I went for a run. Then we all headed to Wawel Castle, one of the main tourist sites in the city. There were lots of people. We went through the church and climbed the bell tower to see the views from higher up. It was hot out and everyone was feeling a bit drained so we left and went to Wodka Café where we tasted 12 different vodkas. We never knew there were so many flavored vodkas! Most of them were very good, especially the cherry and salted caramel. Now that we had recharged, we needed some food, but the burger place we first went to told us it would be a 45-minute wait! Crazy! The second burger place had a 30-minute wait! We made a plan. Vicki, Avery, and I would go sit down at a nearby beer hall while Brian ordered burgers. We had a drink while we waited and all was good.
That night, Brian and I did not sleep well. Around 4am, Brian took a Tylenol because he thought he might have a fever, and Avery did have a fever of 103 degrees. We had to cancel our trip to Auschwitz. Avery’s fever went down with some Motrin, but some of his behaviors were concerning me. Vicki and I went out in the morning to find a clinic to check him out. I really just wanted someone to listen to his chest and check for possible pneumonia. We went to 3 places and had no success with seeing a doctor. All for different reasons that I don’t care to go into. We went back to the apartment and Avery slept most of the day. His fever was controlled with Motrin every 6 hours and he didn’t really have other symptoms, so we were hoping he and Brian had the same short-term bug.
Brian and Avery stayed in the apartment most of the day and Vicki and I ventured out wandering through Kazimierz and more of Old Town. We all went out for our final dinner of the trip. We were constantly amazed with how busy the Old Town was. Tons and tons of tourists. Nevertheless, we found a good Italian restaurant and enjoyed the time together. Brian was starting to feel better and Avery found some energy as well.
We had an easy two flights back to Sofia, with Avery sleeping most of the trip. Then we enjoyed one more day of Grandma Vicki’s visit in Bulgaria before she was off back to Oregon.
As an overview, both Ukraine and Poland are excellent places to visit. Ukraine is unique and still under the radar for tourists. It has a lot more Eastern European feel than Bulgaria does, and we found that interesting. Poland was more touristy, but still very nice. There are a lot of great museums and so much history in that area. Poland is more expensive than Ukraine, but cheaper than Western Europe. It was nice to be able to travel for 10 days without blowing through our money, which usually outside of Bulgaria, doesn’t go very far!