Berlin

Berlin is like being at home for us. We’ve been here so many times, we got good friends here and we really love the city. We bought the “day ticket” for the communications and we took the tube to Warschauer Strasse in the east part of Berlin.

Then we walked in the horribly interesting big Karl-Marx-Allee built after the Second World War. Big houses in the socealistic style.

After lunch we went to Friedrichstrasse and walked along Unter den Linden.

We reached the “European Parliament” and it was very interesting to see the copy of the original EU Parliament and see the film about the European Union’s history.

The beautiful end of this vacation was at the Branderburger Tor in the heart of Berlin. Then a drive to Flensburg and on Thursday back in Malmö.

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To Berlin

After 12 great days in Poland it was time to say good-bye for this time. From Jelenia Gora we drove on small roads to get to the highway to Berlin. It was a very beautiful morning in the mountains.

We enjoyed the view on the top of the hill. There was still a morning fog in the valley.

Three hours later we arrived in Berlin. We stay here at “our” hotel “Mercure” in the city center in old West Berlin. We got a giant room with big balcony where we can enjoy the beautiful weather.

We enjoyed the rest of the day just strolling along in Berlin. Tomorrow (Tuesday) we go over to the east side. We will have great weather, sunny and 29 degrees.

Lower Silesia

We left Wroclaw after great breakfast at our hotel and drove through the landscapes of Lower Silesia south-west.

It’s one of my favorite regions in Poland and Stefan enjoyed it as well. The first stop was a very special one. As I worked for Polish TV in 1989 I had the pleasure to work together with German TV channels ARD and ZDF in the village of Krzyzowa during the Polish-German summit and meeting between Helmut Kohl and the Polish Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki on November 12th, 1989. YES – the day the German wall fell. Mr Kohl returned that night by helicopter to Berlin and he came back to Krzyzowa again the day after. We did not realize that day that it would be the most important date for Europe after the war. Now – 29 years later it was a very special feeling to come back there and see how beautiful it is.

Next stop was the hidden pearl of Lower Silesia – the city of Swidnica. Do not miss this place if you are around.

Beautiful old town and the market but according to the Polish guide book you can miss it but NOT the Cathedral. I do not agree that you can miss the old town but I do agree that it’s not allowed to miss the Cathedral. We both thought that the church is absolutely fabulous.

Next – the castle of Ksiaz. The third biggest castle in Poland and one of the biggest castles in Europe.

Just 10 kilometers from Ksiaz castle – the city of Walbrzych. Nothing special maybe but with old preserved coal mine open for tourists and nice old town and a very good restaurant where we had our lunch.

Our second castle this day waited for us just 30 minutes from Walbrzych. Very very old Bolkow castle invited us to a very medieval experience. But what a view after horrible stairs…

And finally the city of Jelenia Gora. Very nice place with well-preserved and well-reconstructed Old Town featuring the Main Market and very nice main street. We enjoyed the Market drinking white wine and having good company…

In the South

We completed our wonderful stay in Zakopane with two more places worth to see. The first one only for fun – the up-and-down house – an entertainment for both adults and children in the middle of Zakopane. It was not for real but the up-and-down feeling was very hard in the stomach…

One highlight in Zakopane is the old church and the old cementary which is real art. A lot of Polish writers, artists and other celebrities are burried there. Absolutely to recommend if you are in Zakopane.

And our final dinner in Zakopane was a real pleasure. Great food and live music from the region performed by young “gorals”. Great fun!

On my birthday day on August 11th it was time to leave Zakopane and drive slowly north-west. The lunch stop was interesting as we had it in the capital of Polish beer – the city of Zywiec. You can drink the Zywiec beer all over in Poland and it is very good. 

The final destination for this day was one more “capital” – the capital of Polish song – the city of Opole. The city is known in Poland for its Festival of Polish Song every June. Three days with Polish song performed by the biggest artists as well as those who start their career here. We stayed at a very nice hotel near to the old town and the amfitheatre where the Festival is being held every year since 1950s or so.

On Saturday morning we left Opole and headed for the west. The first little town was the “Polish Carcasonne” – Paczkow. A very historical place always a border town with interesting fortifications featuring 19 towers.

The next stop almost 20 minutes later was the town of Zloty Stok – the center of Polish gold mining. So nice, small and cosy.

We continued in this wonderful area and we really enjoyed some views.

Finally we arrived in Klodzko. This city is well-known for its old bridge from the beginning of the 14th century. One use to say that it is a smaller copy of the Charles Bridge in Prague but the truth is that the Klodzko bridge is some years older than the bridge in Prague. The city of Klodzko is not so big but very beautiful and very beautifully situated. Big fortifications dominate the city picture. It was really nice to be here as there were lots of activities and lots of people going around.

And our destination on Saturday was one of the most beautiful cities in Poland – Wroclaw. It is a kind of my old favorite among other cities here in Poland. We were here in March and Stefan did not think that it was so good but today he saw the beauty of the old town and I hope he wants to come back here soon again. We spent lots of time on the main square which is enormous and we purchased lots of books as for instance two ABBA books in Polish with very rare pictures inside. Great to be here in the middle of summer.

Zakopane – day 2

So many wonderful memories I have from this wonderful town of Zakopane. I spent my holidays here as a child in the 1970s and beginning of 1980s. Probably the most happy memories from my childhood. Everything comes back when we are strolling around.

Back to yesterday evening we had a great dinner at a very special restaurant “Obrochtowka” a bit outside the town center. The place was most famous in the 1970s and 1980s when all Polish celebrities were there for a drink and dinner. A couple of years ago it became famous again because of a reality show hosted by famous Polish cuisinier Magda Gessler. Stefan took lamb under the snow according to the original recepi created by Magda Gessler. He loved it. I loved my food too. Do not miss “Obrochtowka” when you are in Zakopane.

On Thursday we wanted to go the the mountains so we took the funicular to the mountain “Gubalowka”.

There is a fabulous view to the Tatra mountains from Gubalowska which we enjoyed drinking coffee. The main highlight in the panorama is of course “Giewont”.

Gubalowka is overfloated by commerce – thousands of stands with things for tourists. You can spend several hours there. We bought some Zakopane souvenirs as well.

To get up and down by the funicular takes about 3 minutes. They go very fast and very very often as there is thousands of people going up and down all the time.

Zakopane – the capital of the Polish mountains

Today we had a driving distance of only 107 kilometers but… because of lots of road works between Cracow and Zakopane it takes more than 2 hours to come to the capital of the Polish mountains. The town is called Zakopane and is the most popular tourist place in the southern part of Poland. It took more than 2 hours but who cares – we came to Zakopane.

We have booked two nights at a five-star-hotel “Rysy” – a large room with balcony with view of the mountains. It is a part of celebration of my birthday. We enjoy the place.

We enjoyed our first lunch in Zakopane at a restaurant in a original Zakopane-style house. We are going to learn more about this style tomorrow at the museum of Zakopane architecture.

The most important and most known mountain here is called “Giewont” which can be seen from every part of Zakopane. It looks like an old man sleeping. Lots of restaurants, shops are called “Giewont”.

A very typical view in Zakopane are the horse-couches driven by local people called “gorale”. We saw lots of them on the main street in the town.

Finally the most important thing in Zakopane – the main street called Krupowki. Everybody is there and all restaurants and pubs are there. Thousands of tourist are going up and down the street the whole day. They have lunch and dinner there. And that’s it. This is Zakopane. Lovely place on earth. It is also very famous as a big winter ski resort, but that is another story.

Cracow – day 2

Early morning in Cracow was quite cold but we watched weather prognosis on Polish TV and we knew that we would get the hottest day in Poland today anyway. Yesterday we bought the Drake of Cracow who is our newest animal in the family.

We went to the Castle Wawel and the Cathedral situated there – on the hill. Cracow was the capital of Poland until 1730 so most of the Polish kings are burried in the Cathedral. There was a long queue to the cashier for coming into the castle so we decided to start with the Cathedral instead.

We went upstairs in the bell tower. The bell is called Sigismund as the Polish-Swedish king Sigismund Vasa. Nice view from the upstairs.

But the Cathedral is really very special and exciting. It took two hours to get through with audio-guide that Stefan listened to. The exciting story about the Polish history. It was forbidden to take pictures but I took some…

So we finally entered the cellar to say hello to old Polish kings and heroes that are burried there.

Well, after two hours in the Cathedral and the Cathedral Museum we had no power to continue with more sightseeing at the Castle Wawel. We decided to do it when we are in Cracow next time. And of course we are pretty sure that we will be back here.

The second part of the day was spent at the Jewish part of Cracow called Kazimierz. About 15 minutes walk from the Castle Wawel. Absolutely exciting part of the city with lots of synagogas and Jewish houses and shops. We stopped at the first synagoga – the Temple synagoga built between 1860 and 1862.

Then we went to the “tourist” heart of Kazimierz – Szeroka street. It was nothing to see here thirty years ago but today it is a street with many tourist attractions, shops and of course restaurants and pubs. Not our favorite place in the world but worth staying for a lunch.

The biggest and more interesting synagoga is situated in Szeroka street. It was really interesting to see the exhibition and read about the Jewish traditions.

One more interesting building was the Isaac synagoga.

We went for a long walk in the beautiful weather. We had to say bye-bye to the beautiful Cracow and we really had a great blue sky to enjoy. So we have only the final dinner here and tomorrow is… another day. We will drive only 100 kilometers south but to a completely different world in southern Poland.