We took a KLM Cityhopper (one of their smaller planes) and landed late at 11pm at Krakow Airport. For what we were told was a major Polish hub, the airport was on the smaller side and very quiet. Only a few cabs were waiting outside, so we opted to use Uber to get to our hotel which was a 15 minute drive away. It was so great being able to use use Uber throughout our trip so we didn't have to rely on our driver speaking English and they didn't have to try to discern what we were trying to say in their native tongue. After a good night's rest, we were up early to take in the town and find some grub!
It was early enough that most the shops and restaurants were still closed. What we ended up trying was a buffet/cafeteria style stop with a full bakery taking half the storefront. It was a delight! There were so many different spreads, relishes, egg salad-esk dishes and plenty of cured fish to go along with a variety of breads and pastries. After some coffee and foods, we finished up there and went to explore the area and Krakow Castle.
A siesta later, we headed back out to see more of the city. Very close to the hotel and calse, is a lush park. It was unseasonable warm which made wandering through to shaded park that much better! The afternoon was spent checking out some bakeries, cafes, local architecture and the Jewish Quarter which had been a ghetto. Although parts of history can be depressing, it is important to be aware of the events that have transpired and not to ignore the tough parts that have shaped the world.
Just before dusk we settled in to an off the beaten path bar type spot with view of a dwindling market for a snack and beverage to research our dinner options. Being that we really only had one full day, we opted to splurge on a great local meal and headed off to Pod Baranem a Michelin rated restaurant about a 10 minute walk from our hotel. Thankfully, they were able to get us in, and I encourage calling ahead for a reservation and business casual attire. Wow was that a treat! Our server was extremely informative, made excellent recommendations and took care of us without being intrusive. Even better, we tried many local specialties, including a bottle of wine, and spent the USD equivalent of about $100!
Although we adventured mostly around the main square and castle area because we only had one full day + jet lag, both of us want to return and venture out further from this hub. There are several important day trips that we want to hit when we can go back and stay longer. If you are looking in to staying in Krakow, I highly recommend Sheraton Grand Krakow for its location and views. The staff we encountered were always willing to assist and spoke English very well. The primary day trips that we will be fitting in next time we make it to Krakow are: Kopalnia soli Wieliczka (the salt mines) and of course Auschwitz as well as Oskar Schindler's Enamel Factory which we actually could have checked out if it weren't for the mid day nap.
We left our hotel before dawn to walk to the train station to continue the adventure!