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The Perfect Day Exploring Kraków

The Perfect Day Exploring Krakow
I must admit that out of all the countries my buddy Tom and I visited on our recent ‘mini Euro trip’, the one I was looking forward to the least was Kraków, which I understand might sound like a bit of a weird thing to say.

What I mean by that is that I didn’t have particularly high expectations for it because my main reason for wanting to visit this area of Poland was to visit Auschwitz concentration camp (which I will be covering in another post). However, as soon as I started researching the city I realised there was quite a few things to see and do, so I arranged for us to spend a full day there to do things besides visit the camp.

And honestly? I don’t know if I’ve ever made a better decision when it comes to travelling, because I could have easily spent two or three days in Kraków exploring the city! Now that I’ve returned from this trip taken a little trip down memory lane through my photos, I can 100% confirm that Kraków was my favourite city out of the four we visited.

On our first day, we woke up to beautiful sunshine that showed no signs of stopping and so we popped on our sunglasses and took the short walk from our apartment to the city centre in search of breakfast and curiosity over what to expect from an Eastern European city.

Exploring Krakow

We found ourselves in a market square that had a pretty busy market going on at that time, an area I later found out was called Rynek Główny and it became our base camp for our time there. Rynek Główny is home to many restaurants, bars, an inside market called the cloth hall where you can find trinkets, genuine leather and so on, as well as many a pretty building to ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ at.

Exploring Krakow Exploring Krakow Exploring Krakow

After a little while of exploring the market, we decided to head in the direction of the Jewish quarter as I was contemplating falafel for lunch and we were both interested to check out Oskar Schindler’s factory. The walk ended up taking quite a long time but as a result we covered a lot of ground in terms of exploring the city and we even found a place that served banging (not to mention ridiculously cheap) ice cream, so we were more than happy to walk.

Exploring Krakow Ice cream in Krakow Exploring Krakow

We even spotted a couple we believed to be newlyweds…

Exploring Krakow

… although on closer inspection they appeared to be models. So I stole the photographer’s thunder and clearly took the best picture of them, right?

On our way to the Jewish quarter we stumbled across Wawel Castle, which just so happened to be on our list of things to do, so we decided to take a quick detour.

Exploring Krakow Exploring Krakow

The castle was a lot more impressive in person than it looked online and exploring the grounds was more than enough for the two of us. Sure, we could have paid to go inside, but the weather was so beautiful that we just didn’t really want to waste any of the sunshine. Also, I know this opinion may not be popular with some, but once you’ve seen a few castles in Europe, you’ve pretty much seen them all.

I definitely recommend visiting the castle for free entry to the grounds though, particularly for the views of the city, like the one featured at the top of this post. These views encompassed the whole city for me and gave a great contrast of the various themes. I felt like every corner I turned in Kraków I could see something new and different to the last.

Exploring Krakow

We also managed to find the Love Lock bridge in Kraków, another one of these bridges that is not commonly known by tourists. I wonder if the bridge in Paris would be holding up a little better if these cities better advertised their own bridges? Maybe I’m on to something here…

The Jewish quarter ended up being not exactly what we were expecting, but after a little education about all the goings on (from Oskar Schindler’s factory, which is now a museum) in this quarter during WW2, it made a lot more sense as to why it’s presence is so important and walking back through it gave us a lot to consider and take in.

After we had visited Oskar Schindler’s factory, which was one of the most fascinating museum’s I have visited and in my opinion, a must do in Kraków, we took the long walk back to Rynek Główny in search of some dinner because we’d spend so long walking around we completely forgot to eat lunch. Now if that’s not a sign of how interesting a city is then I don’t know what is!

Exploring Krakow Exploring Krakow Exploring Krakow

This full day in Kraków really did slip away from us and by the time we found ourselves back in the Rynek Główny area, we were absolutely exhausted and in desperate need of some food. We opted to be ‘total tourists’ and went for a pizza place around the edge of the market where we could watch street performers (badly) perform for the crowds and enjoy the last of the day’s sunshine.

And this was the day I fell in love with the city of Kraków.

P.s. Check out the Kraków vlog.

Did You Know We Have Over 20 Different Currencies In Europe?

currencies in europe

Yes my friends, that’s right. In this wonderful continent (and I’m only a smidgen biased here) we have over 20 different currencies in Europe depending on which country you find yourself in, and that’s not even including Eurasia!

In my post, 3 quick tips for your next adventure in Europe, it became quite clear that a lot of people assume that European countries use the euro for their currency and not only is that obviously, well, wrong, but it could be losing you money in your currency conversion when travelling around our various countries.

For example, let’s say you are planning to backpack around Europe and your currency is US dollars, but you also need to transfer some money to pounds sterling (GBP) for your stint in the UK. Now, if you were to transfer all of your money to euros first you would in fact lose out on money compared to if you transfer a set amount over to pounds sterling for the duration of your time in the UK. Still following? Good, now check out this list!

The Different Currencies In Europe

1. Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain = euro (€)
2. Albania = albanian lek (L)
3. Belarus = belarusian ruble (Br)
4.Bosnia = bosnia and herzegovina convertible mark (KM)
5. Bulgaria = bulgarian lev (лв)
6. Croatia = croatian kuna (kn)
7. Czech Republic = czech koruna (Kč)
8. Denmark = danish krone (kr.)
9. Hungary = hungarian forint (Ft)
10. Iceland = Icelandic króna (kr)
11. Liechtenstein and Switzerland = Swiss franc (CHF)
12. Republic of Macedonia = second macedonian denar (ден)
13. Moldova = moldovan leu (L)
14. Norway = norwegian krone (kr)
15. Poland = polish zloty (zł)
16. Romania = fourth romanian leu (lei)
17. Serbia = serbian dinar (RSD)
18. Sweden = swedish krona (kr)
19. Liechtenstein and Switzerland = Swiss franc (CHF)
20. Turkey = turkish lira (₺)
21. Ukraine = ukranian hryvnia (₴)
22. United Kingdom = pound sterling (£)

If you were including Eurasia in this too then you would see a total of 28 currencies!

The conversion rates between currencies changes so often that I’m trying to avoid using exact figures here, but it is widely known that countries from eastern Europe countries, such as Poland and Hungary, have a very weak currency against the euro which means that it is worth considering transferring your currency into euros first before visiting these, but again, it may be even weaker against your own currency.

Something I find quite difficult, being British and living in Germany, is that I am frequently working between pounds sterling and euros in such a way that I am constantly having to consider the conversion rates and what currency is best to be paid in. Add to that the fact that a lot of my blog design clients are paying me in US dollars and as you can imagine, it’s a recipe of disaster at times.

Recently I was sent Baydon Hill’s money transfer guide and I have to admit it’s got me really considering my options. So far I have done most of my conversions through Paypal or I have allowed my bank account to make the transfer for me on withdrawals, but after my latest trip around Europe which saw me using 3 different currencies, the excess charges begin to add up pretty quickly! Some of the options they suggest in their guide would certainly have made that all a lot easier for me.

I guess what I’m saying here is that even us guys over in Europe struggle from time to time with all of these currencies, so particularly if you aren’t clued up on all of our currencies, it’s definitely worth taking the time to research so that you are getting the best deal on withdrawals and currency conversions from the very start of your adventures in Europe.

Anyone else feeling totally mind boggled?

This is a sponsored post, however all opinions, content and currency struggles are real.

I’m home and I’m kinda pissed…

home

Phew, GUYS, the last eight days have been like no other. As I’m sitting here typing this in my dressing gown, feet propped up in my usual position and a nice cup of tea on the go, I can’t believe the things I was doing 24, 36, 48 and many more hours ago. I can’t believe how many places I visited, how many things I saw and how amazing the whole experience was, and I honestly can’t wait to share all about what I got up to on last week’s trip.

However, with 850 pictures and videos to sift through before I can even write the content, a pending deadline with Buzzfeed, an overflowing inbox and top secret life plans that I still can’t mention here (FML), I just need today to be able to ramble on a little bit.

Speaking of the top secret life plans, I am pissed.



I feel like those tweets sum up a lot of how I’m feeling, but 140 characters doesn’t leave much room to explain. Without going into too much detail (because I bloody well can’t now, can I?), I am honestly not trying to be one of those people who mentions something purely for attention purposes. This future plan of Dan and I’s has been a secret now since the beginning of January and after almost six months I thought that I would be able to reveal all to our friends and you guys, but unfortunately certain work commitments mean that someone else is pulling the strings on when we can make this public our end.

I know that things like this are all part of being an adult, but sometimes I miss the time during our early travel days where we answered to nobody and could make decisions on a whim, sharing them whenever we wanted and changing them however many times we felt necessary. Don’t get me wrong, what we have planned has taken a huge amount of planning and thought, but it’s also then taken a lot of time to implement and keeping everyone happy in the process has been almost impossible.

It’s not necessarily anyone’s fault right now, but I’m just fed up of not being able to be publicly excited about what we have planned. Apparently within two weeks this should rectify itself, but I’m not holding my breath. I’ve got a feeling I’m going to end up writing the announcement on the day it’s all happening at this rate.

Also, just to reiterate something I said a week or so ago, I’m not pregnant. It pains me that when you’re married in your twenties this is the typical expectation of people. We’re still so young! Not that there’s anything wrong with my fellow twenty-somethings who are choosing to have babies right now, but mentally there is 150% no way that I am even close to being at that point. I’d much rather just hang out with my niece and nephews, reaping the benefits of being part of such cool little people’s lives without having to do any of the real work. Being an Auntie is actually awesome.

Wow, how did I even get on to this topic?

Back to the trip, life and all things in between, I’m planning to start putting together as much as possible for the next couple of weeks to share all the awesome things Tom and I got up to. As some of you may know, the Rome part of our trip was cancelled about 3 days before we were due to take our flight there (more on that later) and so we had to re-arrange things at last minute. It was pretty stressful at the time and we even considered cutting our trip short and heading back to Frankfurt, but in the end we managed to arrange a longer stay in Munich which turned out to be incredible and I can’t imagine the trip without it now. I have all the love for Munich.

Ahhhhhh, guys. I can’t believe what I was doing this time last week and isn’t that just the best feeling?

What I’m currently jamming to

I’m pretty sure one of the first things that I fell in love with about Dan was his taste in music. I’m also pretty sure that it was one of the first things he loved about me too, as we used to spend hours driving around and listening to music.

I have always had a really varied taste in music, something that’s been a bit of a blessing and a bit of a curse depending on what way you want to look at it. My open mindedness towards music genres meant that I wasn’t the most popular amongst my peers when I wanted to listen to Babyshambles at 15, whereas all of my friends were listening to that god awful “Umbrella” song by Rihanna.

But I’m not a music snob. No no, don’t take what I am saying to mean that I was some alternative girl who, you know, ‘really was alternative you guys’. I wasn’t. I tried to be at one point when I went through a weird ’emo phase’ and I even went as far as to go up to Camden market for my red and black striped sweatbands and black nail polish, but I was 100% a fraud, as were most of us.

My problem was that I would also listen to bands like Westlife and Backstreet Boys. So you’d switch on my laptop and find pop boybands mixed in with punk rock and christ knows what else, which was obviously a bit weird and led to my friends absolutely never trusting my taste in music. Except my best friend Emily, who has always trusted me when it comes to music and has impeccable taste, if I do say so myself!

Anyway, as a result of this, I have a really hard time making playlists now that it’s a thing people do. For example, I have to have two “current favourites” playlists to accommodate for my love of folk, indie, acoustic and light rock, compared to my love of rap, hip hop and R&B, because nobody wants to be listening to The Smiths and then listen to Snoop Dogg, like, 5 seconds later. So here’s my solution for that:


Can you imagine if those two playlists mixed? It’s so ridiculous that I can’t even think of something comical to say.

Aside from my current favourites playlists, I recently made a “Teen Angst” playlist after being reminded of the band Panic! At The Disco (anyone else remember them?) and I’m also ashamed to admit that I have been listening to it recently whilst writing. But then I remember that all music from your childhood is awesome, no matter how shit it might actually be, and then I think about sweatbands, heavy eyeliner and mohawks a little bit more.

Or sometimes I listen to a playlist I’ve entitled “Oldies”, but is basically the pop version of “Teen Angst”. The second playlist is the one I put on and dance to after my third glass of wine, just to put that into perspective. Oh… and I sing too, obviously.



The rest of the music on my Spotify is made up of playlists others have made that I follow. I generally listen to those when I am working on a design project because I just want background noise and not to be distracted, which happens a lot with songs I know because I burst into song as soon as the chorus kicks in. Does anyone else do that?

What are you currently jamming to?