Explore: Poland

When my parents received an invitation to a wedding in Poland last year, I thought nothing of it. How could I be jealous when their trip away offered me a free house for the week? When I saw the photos however, I realised why I should be jealous, and I just had to go there for my eighteenth birthday. Poland is a beautiful country with a rich and tragic history, that I would recommend everyone should experience.img_9268

The city of Krakow boasts beautiful architecture; pastel-coloured buildings and intricate cathedrals, a classic European city square filled with unique shops, a range of beautiful restaurants and horse-drawn carriages. The city tour is run by knowledgeable locals, and often ends in Schindler’s factory; a poignant and important piece of Polish history.

Though it sounds miserable, a visit to Auschwitz is a must for any trip to Krakow. Instead of immortalising the atrocities, the museum is a thoughtful reminder of the mistakes the human race should endeavour to not repeat again. This idea is encapsulated by the words of George Santayana, printed upon the wall: “The one who does not remember history is bound to live through it again”. It is a difficult trip, but it’s worth it.img_9378

Poland’s summer is beautiful and warm, while winter specialises in the perfect white Christmas. I loved the city so much that I’ll be returning to Krakow this December, in order to experience the square’s famous festive markets and winter wonderland atmosphere. As well as it being a beautiful, cultured city break in Europe, Poland is an affordable holiday. Meals out don’t usually come close to a restaurant in Cardiff, and the cosy underground bars serve great quality vodka at a very good price!

By Alys Jones