A few months ago I went to Warsaw in Poland which I really enjoyed. I enjoyed it so much that I decided to go back and visit Krakow instead for a few days.

What I ate

Pierogi

As soon as we got to our airbnb we were starving and it was getting late. So first thing  was a trip to the old square to see what restaurants were around. We went to Restauracja Haelka that specialised in Polish cuisine, I had pierogi (which is a traditional polish dish) that are essentially dumplings filled with either meat, cheese, potatoes (I had cheese and potatoes in mine). It was gorgeous.

I also went to this restaurant called Mamma Mia Wloska Restauracja which specialises in Italian cuisine. My tour guide for Auschwitz recommended the place for its stone cooked pizza and since I love pizza we thought to give it a go. I had the Spinaci a Capra which is mozzarella cheese, goats cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach and garlic.  I wish I had taken a photograph of it but the mobile phone had gone dead!

U Babci Maliny

U Babci Maliny was a treat. Situated inside what is a University (it really is hidden away) the decoration was really kitsch. It was like walking into Grandma’s house with walls with photographs of the owner posing with lots of celebrity boxers! It sold cheap polish food, certainly a place you thought was for the locals!

What I saw

Auschwitz-Birkenau

I have always wanted to visit Auschwitz as I have an interest in the Second World War and have been to hundreds of museums and read lots of books and watched lots of documentaries. As I was walking around it is very humbling. The room where all of the hair was that had been cut and the piles of shoes were two chilling exhibits.

Museum of Poland under Communist Regime

Museum of Poland under Communist Regime

I am interested in communist history, therefore when I googled and found this museum located in the Nowa Huta district, I knew I had to visit. The district itself is interesting as it was built after World War Two specifically for the threat of a nuclear attack. Hence wide gaps between buildings with trees to slow down the effect of a nuclear fall out (as if that would work). It meant that lots of buildings were built with nuclear bunkers including the Museum which is situated inside an old cinema. The displays are in English as well as polish and were really interesting with lots of exhibits from family members giving their momentos and the stories that came with them.

Wieliczka Salt Mines

Originally I wasn’t planning on going to the salt mines but it came with the Auschwitz tickets. Wieliczka is a national monument and famous for being one of the oldest salt mines producing table salt continuously until 2007 and has many statues and  four chapels which were carved by the salt miners inside. To go down the mine you had to walk down these very steep wooden stairs which if you were to fall would be a bit scary. The main chapel called St Kinga’s with the chandelier looked incredible.

St Mary's Church, Krakow

Old Market Square

Krakow has an old town square which has been given UNESCO World Heritage Status. St Mary’s Basilica Church is situated just of the square and is stunning. There are plenty of things to do in the square and you can take a horse and cart around the square if you want to.

So that is what I got up to in Krakow, have you been to Krakow? Let me know your thoughts.

 

 

Toronto Sign

Planning a trip to Toronto anytime soon? Have a read about where I went and what I did in the three days I was there.

Niagara Falls

Image of Niagara Falls with a rainbow and  boat

You cannot come to Toronto and not visit Niagara Falls. I had booked a day trip with a tour company which included coach ride there and back, a trip on the Hornblower (the boat tour with the red googols!) and a stop at the Niagara-on-the-Lake village.

Niagara Falls

I really don’t know how to describe Niagara Falls, it is beautiful, the boat tour got you so close to the waterfalls. Afterwards whilst the others went on a helicopter ride, I walked down the street above the falls and you really get a understanding of just how much water goes over the falls and how wide the falls are. Away from the falls the retail outlets around there were really tacky, a lot of casinos, which is such a shame.

Niagara-on-the-Lake

Niagara-on-the-Falls

This beautiful little town has the nickname ‘Loveliest Town in Canada’ and I can really see why. I hadn’t heard of this place prior of visiting and it mainly caters for tourism with the buildings kept in colonial style and it has some lovely green areas. Key events include the Shaw Festival, a festival featuring works by George Bernard Shaw, an Irish Playwright.  It is a great place to pick up some lovely souvenirs.

What to eat

Beavertails Food Toronto

As I was only there three days I didn’t really eat much away from the chain stores. However I did have an Beavertail from Beavertails Pastry. Honestly that place was amazing. Beavertails are pastry that are float fried. Mine was topped with Reece’s Pieces. Honestly if you go to Canada, it would be criminal not to try it.

Another place to go is Tim Hortons, Tim Hortons is as famous in Canada as Starbucks is to the US for hot drinks.

Where to shop

Toronto Eaton Centre is such a fabulous shopping centre if you want to spend, spend, spend. It is SOOO HUGE! They have lots of high street shops such as H & M and NYX. It is in the city centre as well so it is easy to travel on the subway.

Where to stay

I stayed at the Hilton Hotel in Toronto. It was lovely, it had an outdoor pool which was odd swimming and seeing sky rise buildings.

Have you ever been to Toronto? Let me know about your experience!

Back in April I went on my (first ever!) girls holiday to Warsaw in Poland. I had never been to Poland before so was particularly excited to experience a new country. Read on about what I experienced below:

Where I stayed

My friend booked an airbnb. It was a cute place and perfect for what we needed even though the beds scared me as they were so high! The flat was in a building that had been around since the war (which is rare for Warsaw) and had a catholic shrine in the middle of the courtyard, which wasn’t surprising since it is a Catholic country but I had never seen before. It was my first time I stayed in a airbnb place and have booked an airbnb place for my second trip to Poland in July!

Where I ate

Nocny Market

Nocny Market Neon Sign

Nocny Market

This was a cute food market located west of Warsaw. It was a bit out of the way and is located down a rather dodgy road but when you get there it just feels like you are at a food market that all the locals go too. There was a variety of food from burgers to indian to greek. Oddly enough there was a barbers and a tattooist if you fancy a trim or something more permeant to remind you of your stay…

Stara Kamienica

This restaurant is so cute! It had a saxophone player there! This posh restaurant had a variety of polish and european cuisine at a very reasonable price.

What I did

Gestapo Headquarters in Poland

We managed to pack quite a lot in a short amount of time. We visited the Gestapo Headquarters. This building is very imposing from the outside. It is a very small museum which inside consisted of all the individual cells that prisoners were kept in and you could read all of their engravings on the wall. Accompanying this there were interactive displays educating you on the impact the Nazi’s had on Warsaw. It was very informative and certainly worth a visit.

Pastel buildings in Warsaw Old Town

Old Town in Warsaw is another place you must visit whilst you are there. Old Town is an UNESCO World Heritage site and had been completely gutted during World War 2 and had been restored to as close as the area looked like between the 13th and 20th century.

Mały Powstaniec

We just got a free map which showed us all the places and statues that you needed to see and had a wonder around. We also went to Lazienki Park which is the largest park in Warsaw. It is so beautiful and I couldn’t help but take lots and lots of photos of the palace and the amphitheater.

Palace Gardens in Poland

Finally, I couldn’t forget the bar crawl in Warsaw, for 60 zolty you got 2 cocktails or beers, a free shot and entry into pubs and bars. I am so glad we did it just because it saves having to google all the individual bars yourself, it was also a great chance to meet some new people. It reminded me of my times at Uni!

Have you ever been to Poland? Do you have any recommendations for Krakow? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Belfast City Hall in January

I started off my New Year with a bang by spending a weekend in Belfast. A 40 minute plane journey from Birmingham airport and we were there.

Victoria Square Shopping Centre

Saturday was about exploring the City and doing a bit of shopping. We went to St George’s Market which was mainly full of small independent food stalls. It had a lovely quiet atmosphere and was fairly busy. We also had a gander around CastleCourt Shopping Centre and Victoria Square. Victoria Square has a dome for a roof and you can go up to the top and see great views of Belfast.

Image of a St Georges' Market stall with cheese

Image of a St George's Market stall selling mugs and postcards

St George's Market

In the evening we went to Granny Annie’s. It was a place that we happened to walk past and we were attracted by the outdoor decor and the inside certainly didn’t disappoint. There was live music and food. It was had a great atmosphere and was so busy. Definitely book if you want to go there. Granny Annie's Cocktail Bar

Granny Annie's Cocktail

On Sunday, I booked a coach trip to the Giants Causeway. I had booked the trip through Allen’s tour. The tour left South Donegall in the morning and snaked its way up to the Causeway. We stopped by Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. This bridge is part of the National Trust, and was erected in 1755 to reduce the reliance of a boat reaching the island as salmon fishing was a industry there. The island and the views were lovely but I didn’t find crossing the rope bridge that scary!

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge

The Giants Causeway itself was lovely. I thought the basalt columns would be taller then they were but the fact that lava settled into those shapes is interesting (Geography geek coming out there!). Finally on the way back we went to the Dark Hedges – famous from being in Games of Thrones. Although by then it was dark so it was a bit pointless.

Giants Causeway

Hexagonal Blocks of the Giants Causeway

View from the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge

At night we ate at Little Wings Pizzaria. The pizza was lovely (I had the Formaggi Caprini which is goat’s cheese, red onion, rocket and garlic oil). I had to get the nutella pizza for dessert – which is essentially nutella and chocolate ice cream on a base. The pizza’s are cooked in a wood stone oven. They were gorgeous.

Little Wings Pizzeria

On the last day we went on a famous Black Cab Taxi Tour around Belfast. The tour I took was the political tour where I learned about the The Troubles and the history of Northern Ireland and saw the murals on the walls and the Peace Lines. It was very interesting

I think Northern Ireland is lovely and I am glad I went for the weekend. Have you ever been to Northern Ireland, let me know what you thought or any suggestions on where I should go next!