The best preserved secret in the world, Krakow and Zakapane, Poland

As a former flight attendant, I visited all European countries except Albania and Poland. Poland is the fifth largest country in Europe. I don't know anything about this land except Lech Walesa, Copernicus, the pope and the ten-year Polish joke I never understood. However, my interest has reached its peak because it will soon cause a sensation in the tourist resort, and because my Chicago husband's family is here. He accompanied me to discover his roots. I am going to accept the education and enrichment of new things. We flew from Atlanta via JFK and Warsaw to Krakow for only 4 days. The exhausted trip is a headache. I prefer to visit the city during the off-season and mingle with the locals. It provides a more authentic and intimate atmosphere.

Upon arriving at the airport, Pavel greeted us with enthusiasm and he will always be our driver. He held the welcome card "Suza Davis". I said, "Hey, I am Suzy from Atlanta." When he replied "Yes, downstairs in the United States," I laughed. We stayed at Hotel Amadeus, a 16th century luxury hotel in the heart of the city centre. I was told that Prince Charles had slept in our room.

Let's go to dinner. The illuminating old town is breathtaking and packed with many young people, which makes me feel older. 150,000 students live in this university town. Krakow is the most important meeting place in Europe, where they stay until the birds sing. This historic district has the most concentrated places in the world for bars and restaurants. We suddenly found Pierogi Garden, the hometown of Poland's freshest dumplings. They are stuffed with sauerkraut, lamb, beef, berries, chocolate and even peanut butter. There are 6 kinds of soups, I hate beets. After a dozen dumplings, I ate the melted ewe cheese cheese pancakes, which was delicious.

Poland has experienced countless invasions throughout history. After being devastated by the Germans and then the Russians, it finally gained independence in 1989 with the collapse of Soviet communism. Krakow was destroyed by the Germans at the end of the Second World War. They plan to blow up the Russians after they take over, but fortunately the war ended hours before the plan was implemented.

Today, it is still one of the few cities to retain its original form. Today it has a population of 780,000 and has grown into a fashionable international capital. Vibrant and modern, but still retains the traditional culture of palatial architecture. In Krakow, people can find the spirit of New Poland.

On the second day, we were welcomed by Anna, she was very beautiful. We started with a cobbled street network in the old town, which is a walk. It is a maze of museums, churches, art galleries, cafes and wall bars. Even in the winter, street dancers, mime actors, and accordionists also have entertainment. In one corner, I watched a knight in armor.

We entered Europe's largest medieval square, the Market Square, which has not changed much since 1257. It is dominated by the bell tower and the bell rings. It makes residents crazy at night. Since the 14th century, the must-see attraction has been a cloth house where fishmongers, cloth merchants and bakers sell their goods. Now this is a fabulous handicraft stall.

We walked to the well-preserved Jewish Quarter, which is now full of art. Poland used to be the largest Jewish concentration in Europe with 3.5 million Jews. The medieval Polish kings noticed that they were expelled to other places and invited them to join in to increase the economy. They thrived here until the Holocaust and forced communism after the Second World War. There are only 180 left now. We watched the Jewish colony where Spielberg's famous film was filmed, and then looked across the river to see Schindler's factory.

Rick Steves wrote that you must visit the milk here. Anna escorted us to one of these government-subsidized cafes to serve the working class. They are the legacy of the Polish communist past. Everything is very cheap. I ordered $2 for a bowl of homemade soup and cheesecake.

Then we visited the 12th-century masterpiece Wawel Castle, which marked the pride of the city. When we walked through its historical corridor, there was no queue. This is the 500 years that the king lived. Anna explained here the legend of the legendary Spitfire named Smok, which eats virgin breakfast.

The strange big bones found in the 1400s provided support for this phenomenon. [The bones are actually whale bones, because this region of Europe was inundated several centuries ago.] Therefore, the dragon became a symbol of the city and is everywhere in souvenir shops. Anna then pushed us in a variety of beautiful churches. For me, it was always as boring as paint, but they were very delicate. I asked if there are Protestants here. She replied that it was.

Afternoon spent on restaurant and hotel inspections. I like formal greetings and are always very educational. I know the best places to eat and stay at the best prices. All hotels have been booked. Jews and Catholics conduct religious pilgrimages throughout the year or conduct a root-seeking journey.

Krakow has recently been named one of Europe's top ten destinations. I understand why now. Americans continue to revel, and in Prague, I now find that the reasons for high prices and low service levels have passed. It has become as expensive as Rome. In the end, once Poland was converted to the euro in 2012, Krakow could do the same. At present, people can squander at an affordable price. Europeans flocked to save 50-70%. Especially Germans and Danes come to dentistry and optometry. Medical tourism, including orthopedics, is booming. I met an Austrian flight attendant who spent half of his monthly spa treatments.

In the evening, we dine at the Wierzynek restaurant, the oldest restaurant in the world, which has been serving visitors since 1364. The cuisine here is a delicious farmhouse dish of wild boar, grilled ribs and potato piles. I asked them to teach me some Polish, a Slavic language, which is almost impossible like a bite of letter soup. The word toilet has 5 syllables.

On the third day, we woke up with a gray, cold and wet day, which gave us the proper atmosphere we saw. Pavel drives 60 km to the Auschwitz concentration camp. Yuri is our excellent personal guide, and we welcome him. His only enthusiasm is to inspire us to understand the incredible tragedy that took place here in 1940-45. I have visited Dachau, but this is the biggest concentration camp. The death factory killed 1.4 million people in 27 countries. Most are Jews. Others are Gypsies, Soviets, Poles, homosexuals, political dissidents and so on.

We went to the door and read: "Work will give you freedom." When we saw the crematorium, the hungry cell, thousands of hair, endless glasses and a pond that was still grey when the ash was 60 years ago, there was A strong reminder. What makes me most awake is the part of the children. It has a large number of small shoes, dolls and meticulous German literature, recording 230,000 children suffering and suffering here.

We were driven to the expansion camp in Auschwitz II, where the wooden barracks can accommodate 100,000 people, but eventually accommodated more than 200,000 people. The three of us walked silently for half a mile and saw the ruins of the gas chamber and the memorial monument. At the end of the journey, Yuri bid farewell to us with deep words: “I have led several Holocaust survivors who have come here like tourists. They finally told me that I can't tell how it is really bad. "This is the most touching place in my eyes.

Later in the afternoon, we visited the famous Wieliczka Salt Mine. This mysterious and vast underground city, 3 miles long, has been extracted for more than 800 years. The World Heritage attracts one million visitors a year and it seems that they are here today.

Our guide, Justina, seems to be fascinated by salt, but this is just her love for the guide. She said she would follow her 836 steps, which is better than the stairs. The cave made me bored, but this place will always be engraved in my mind. Imagine underground churches, gorgeous sculptures, chandleries and life-size characters, all carved out of salt or restaurants and post offices located below the street 380'. It’s spectacular. Miners and horses have spent their lives here for centuries. They stay healthy in this rich microclimate. It is related to magnesium ions, no matter what? Today, people come to the rehabilitation room of the therapeutic complex to isolate the natural air purity.

Day 4 I am constantly looking for unique things or places that can be shown to other travelers on a global scale. Today, I found it in Zakapane. For many years, one of my friends insisted that I visited this mountain resort with a funny name that I don't remember. On that day our expert guide Eva drove to the pure air of the Tatra Mountains. She said that this 60,000-resident adventure destination has expanded to 200,000 in the past year. In the summer, they come to mineral springs and alpine hikes. In winter, they come to ski. That week, Zakapane hosted an international ski jumping competition.

This is a charming hometown of artists and a highland resident, Giorake. The history of these wandering shepherds dates back to the 15th century. They like to wear colorful clothes for tourists. They make a living from any suffocating food in cheese or cheese. We visited the Swiss-sized cheese market. As far as I can see, sheep and goat cheese are artistically carved into various possible shapes. We also visited the water park with the Olympic-sized mineral spring spa pool and took the cable car into the mountains to enjoy the magnificent scenery.

This is one of the most productive and enjoyable day trips. I found a local travel company that arranged interesting activities for the group, such as horse riding in the forest, sledding, dog sledding, and a new type of "snow" that swayed in the mountains with a rubber band. In the huge outdoor market with countless ethnic stalls, I bought striking leather and fur coats for $260, which appeared to be six times the price.

I didn't see much in this short visit. On my next return trip, I will be on a new "crazy communist journey." On the outskirts of Krakow is Nova Huta, which used to be a serious socialist suburb that was forced to industrialize. Large steel mills have replaced wealthy farmland. Doctors and professors were sent to work here. Several miles of concrete houses were erected to house them.

During the tour, you can take the classic East De Trabant to Novahuta and experience Stalin's first gift to Krakow. Dinner includes salted bread, pickles and vodka, then dance in the retro 70s disco.

Under the lock of communism, the Poles refused to give up their religious beliefs. Stalin said: "The implementation of communism here is like carrying a bull." In the face of the firm spirit of the people, he gave up. I am amazed at all the obstacles that this persevering country has overcome.

If you have been there and bought a T-shirt from London, Paris, Madrid or Athens, I encourage you to visit undiscovered areas in Europe. Krakow is destined to become the next Prague. It is full of history, friendly faces, hearty food, and won't spoil your wallet. If you have access to the new Poland, please don't tell anyone Zakapane, this is one of the most secret secrets in the world.