Climbing Mound Kosciuszko 

Today I climbed Mound Kosciuszko. Note, this is not a spelling mistake, and I’m not in the Australian Snowfields. I shit you not peeps, there is a big pile of dirt here in Krakow called “Kosciuszko Mound”. The Poles constructed it in 1823 to honour Tadeusz Kościuszko. Its got a fort around it, a path all the way to the “summit” and a great view from the top (on a nice day at least). Considering its just a big dirt mound, its pretty cool. The Poles are very proud of their mound of dirt and its looked after very well.

When Strzelecki “discoverd” Mt. Kosciusko, (well, we all know it wasn’t actually lost, just never climbed by a European before the Strez did it). he thought it looked like the mound in Poland, and named it thus. I think really it was a subtle way of just taking the piss out of our “mountain”, as in European terms its not much more than a hill. Mt. Blanc in France is twice the height. I have new respect for Strzelecki !ściuszko_Mound

Another interesting fact, it was later discovered there was a Mountain slight higher than Mount Kos in Australia (Mount Townsend). In a total “can’t be arsed” move, rather than update all the documentation that stated Mt Kos was the second highest mountain, and have a boring as batshit named mountain as our highest peak, the government just swapped the mountain names around.


I had actually planned and booked a mountain bike ride up in the Ojcow National Park however that was cancelled by the tour company last week. In hindsight this was a blessing in disguise as the weather here today is terrible.

I got an Uber from the central of Krakow to here, cost a grand total of $4. On the way I noticed we drove past the Krakow Branch of the Polish National Museum. They had ain interesting looking display of “Polish Design since 1989”. So once I’d finished at the mound I took another Uber back to the museum. Entry was $6.


Some of the items on display. Its pretty obvious why the safety scissors will never catch on… A lot of stuff here was hands on. Great way to spend an hour or so on a horrible wet day. They even had a coffee pot !

After the visit here it was a short 15 minute walk back to the main square of Krakow.


Bunkier Cafe Coffee Report

I avoided my usual “out the door” at 7 this morning and hung back till after 9 so I could check out this cafe that opens later. It’s actually right next door to the one I’ve been at for the last few mornings.

It’s quite wet and yuck here so I was in no hurry to go out earlier. It’s basically a mild wet Sydney’s winter day with lots more light.

The quickest way to the cafe was through the square but I’ve done this every morning so since it’s my last full day here I decided to go around in the Planty Park. Very tranquil this time of morning

This is the best rated cafe in the old town if you google around, and it’s pretty good. Coffee is good, although maybe not as good as the one I had in the afternoon on the bike tour over the other side of the river

Here is the inside of the cafe

And the coffee

And the breakfast. I did state calories don’t count on holidays right ? At least then yoghurt is natural and unsweetened !!

I actually had two coffees here and ordered a still water. Here is the bottle. I’d just assumed it was plastic (it has a bluer tinge that the photo doesn’t really show).

I got a shock when I picked it up. It’s glass! The top gives it away but I never noticed that

Did I mention how cheap Krakow is ? All this top quality food, A$13

Above and Below the Square

I didn’t have any tours booked in the afternoon, so decided I’d spend the afternoon exploring around the main square of Krakow, which apparently is the largest central town square in Europe. Smack in the centre is the old Cloth hall which has a few bars and shops around the outside and on the inside is lined with trinket and souvenir stalls.

I’d been looking at a few foods for sale that are native to Poland, and high on the list was Obwarzanek Krakowski which is a bit like a cross between a large pretzel and a bagel. I had a salted sesame one. Delicious!


The other item was a Pączki (Polish Donut) which of course looks like its loaded with calories, but I don’t think they count when you are on holidays, so I decided take one of these back to the apartment to try later. I can confirm it was utterly delicious and if you come to Krakow you must try one. This one had a “fruit of the forest” jam on the inside.

I wandered into the Cloth Hall and picked up a couple of little light things. Krakow like to say that this Cloth Hall was the first shopping mall every invented. Its very orderly, wasn’t too crowded and everyone selling things there spoke English.


Right underneath the main square is this massive underground display called Rynek Underground. A number of items were discovered when digging on the main square, so the government took the bold decision to excavate the entire square down a few meters to see what else they could find. They found stacks of artefacts and building remains and its all on display right under your feet on the main square. Surprisingly its not well advertised at all. If I hadn’t see it on Atlas Obscura and been told about it, I could have visited Krakow and completely missed it. The entry is on the side of the Cloth Hall on the corner closest to Florinska street. To get a ticket you have to purchase one from the ticket office on the opposite side of the Cloth Hall. This ticket office tells tickets to other attractions as well. Below is a photo of the entrance.


Here a few photos of what it looks like underground. Its massive, and its all hidden. You would never know this is right under the main square. It also has some funky looking bars under here. On a cold night this would be a fantastic place to hang out with friends.


Here are some photos of the square when it was being excavated for the archeological dig in 2005.

Remains of an old road, the foundations holding up the Cloth Hall and one of the funky lounge areas of the bar. Not sure you can get to the bar without purchasing museum entry, but as its only AUD$6 thats not a drama.

Later in the evening I wasn’t really hungry (re: Donut and Obwarzanek) I’d eaten earlier and had no inspiration for dinner and didn’t really feel like siting in a restaurant so thought I’d see if there were any take out options. Just wandering past the square a little I stumbled upon a street market, so got some dumplings and a steak. Fantastic !

After dinner wandered up to the Florianska gate, the only fully intact section of the old fortification wall around the old town in Krakow. Photo on the left is the main square, on the right the gate.

Subterranean Coffee – Salt Mine Tour

Just outside Krakow is an old Salt mine. It’s a world heritage site due to all the carvings the miners made, all completely out of solid rock salt. Today I took a tour of the mine. For this I booked through I was picked up in a lovey Mercedes van with 6 other tourists and taken to the salt mine site (about 20 minutes drive). Here we met up with a group of about 30 others. Only about 35-40 people are taken through the mine in groups. I would recommend doing this with a company like KrakowShuttle, we just breezed past the lines of people queuing and only waited a few minutes. You are given a headset so you can hear the guide telling you about the mine as you walk through it.

The tour descends down to a total of about 160 metres. You take a few hundred stairs down to 61 metres then slowly descend further as you complete the tour. The entire tour lasts about 3 hours and you walk about 4km in total. Thankfully the return to the surface is via a very modern, corporate style lift. Its not a typical mine shaft lift.

The mine is amazing, massive caverns inside with underground churches carved completely out of salt. Almost everything except some wood support structures is salt. Not sure why, but my immediate thought on going down was “umm, everything made of salt, this place won’t have a snail or slug problem”. During the standard introduction our guide Simon, asked if there were any British, Americans, Canadians etc. When he got to “Any Australians” three of us raised our hands, myself and the two guys who happened to be standing next to me. Both Joe and Andrew are also from Sydney and Andrew is also in the Sutherland Shire (Cronulla). It’s truly a small world !

During the dark and middle ages, and up until the invention of refrigeration and mechanical extraction of salt from sea water, naturally occurring salt was an extremely valuable commodity. Much like how we value oil and other energy commodities today. Krakow and Poland grew rich at this time from salt.

The entry and new up the stairwell.

Every carving and even the floor is made of Salt.

In this section you had to pay an additional 10 zloty (AUD$3) to take photos. Make sure you have some cash or coins on you.


I couldn’t believe my luck, they sell coffee at the bottom of the mine. First coffee I’ve ever had 160m below the surface. It was crappy machine made coffee, but come on guys, journey to the centre of the earth and everything, with coffee !!


Fellow Aussie Adventurers Andrew and Joe


Video from the Salt Mine Tour

Bump Day Coffee

Can’t believe it’s Wednesday already and my time in Krakow is half over. I’m back at Nakielny Cafe for breakfast before I head on a salt mine tour at 9.20

Breakfast today was a nice local cherry yoghurt and coffee (of course).

I’d planned to work on my Auschwitz post from yesterday over breakfast, the apartment has a portable wifi I can take with me, however it’s not getting reception in the cafe and with my phone, this SIM card whilst excellent for Europe wide roaming won’t allow hotspot tethering.

As my mate Chris says I’m such a tourist. Lol, he is 100% correct.

I caught up with Chris and two of his work colleagues (John & Lee) for dinner and drinks last night as he is in Krakow for work. That was at the Ed Red restaurant and the steak was phenomenal. They even had Australian steak and wine on the menu, although I tried a Polish steak. As much as I love supporting our local industry, I didn’t travel 20,000km to eat Australian food 🙂

Krakow is awesome value. Steak, salad, wine, desert and port in a top rated restaurant right in the centre of the city was AUD$75 each