The train journey between cities was a nice, short trip (less than an two and a half hours). The car was very nice; rather than having a compartment with six people squeezed in, there were two seats on one side of the aisle and one on the other. We were seated across from each other at a table for 4 but we had no other seatmates so were able to stretch out a bit. As the train left the station, I noticed that the couple seated across the aisle from us were speaking English. It is always fun to run into people you can converse with and we spent the next couple of hours chatting with the lovely, young couple from LA. We weren’t expecting any food so were very pleased to be offered a gourmet snack as well as coffee and juice. The time flew by and we were in Krakow before we knew it.
We had booked an apartment in the Old Town. Apparently, the place we booked with, P&J Apartmenty, own several properties, and so the check-in office was not where our apartment was. We were able to find the place with relatively little difficult; tt was a bit over a half-mile from the train station. The day was very hot (upper 80’s), so by the time we reached the office, we were quite warm and a bit tired.
Check-in time was 2 pm but I had made arrangements for early check-in. The young woman in the office assured me our room was ready and she would walk us over to it. She looked for the keys to the room but they were missing. So, she called the maid to see if she had the keys. The maid said she had not cleaned there yet. We could either leave our bags at the office and come back at 2 pm, or leave the bags in the apartment, understanding that it had not been cleaned yet. We opted to leave them at the apartment. We walked about 5 or 6 blocks to Krzyza Street and then had to climb 5 sets of steep stairs before reaching the apartment. By then, we were both drenched in sweat and worn out. She opened the door and was shocked to find that the previous tenants’ items were still there; they had not checked out, even though it was well past checkout time. She was quite embarrassed but the only option at that point was for us to carry our bags back down those flights of stairs and back to the main office. To be fair, she did offer to carry my bag, which I greatly appreciated. One other small gripe was that as part of our booking, we were promised that our breakfast would be delivered to our apartment daily. But, it turns out that breakfast would be served in the restaurant behind the check-in office which was far enough away to be an inconvenience.
We dropped off our bags at the office and were told to return in about an hour. By then, we were promised our room would be ready. We walked down the block and found a park bench in the shade and considered our options. We were not very happy campers. We decided to stay one night and then look for another place to stay. We also discussed asking for a room on a lower floor. Rather than waiting until the hour was up, we went back to the office to request a different room. The receptionist said she would call her boss and ask and we could return at 2 pm to check. Fortunately, the manager approved our request and we were moved to an apartment that was on the 2nd floor (what we in the US would call the 3rd floor) that was located just around the corner from the office/restaurant. We were walked there and shown how to open the security gate to enter the courtyard, and then up the 2 flights of stairs to our apartment. We had been upgraded to a larger, nicer apartment than we booked. Supposedly, the place had air conditioning, but that was not apparent when we walked in; it was quite stuffy and hot. The apartment was a two-story unit with the bedrooms up a flight of wood steps. There was a full kitchen and living room with a large, flat screen tv. The shower had both a tub and a shower (separate) and best of all, a washing machine. Laundry time! We only take a week’s worth of clothes on our trips and had been hand-washing was we went. I was so excited to have the opportunity for some truly clean clothes!
There was a panel on the wall that we assumed controlled the air conditioning, but try as we might, we could not get it to turn on. We also only found one towel and a bath mat in the bathroom. I looked in every drawer downstairs but to no avail. We tried calling the office but the line was busy. By the way, we were glad we had our cell phones with us; most of the places we have stayed (including this one) no longer have phones in the room. We were also happy to have our T-Mobile plan where we only pay 25 cents/minute for international calls; we have had to place a few on this trip.
After unpacking, I grabbed my camera and we headed out. First stop was the reception office to let them know about the ac and the towels. Next up was a walk around Old Town. The apartment we were in could not have been in a better location. The Old Town area is fairly compact and we were right in the heart of things. Florianska Street seems to be the main drag and we were right around the corner from it. The rest of the day was spent soaking up the atmosphere, eating, and relaxing.
When we returned to the room, we located the towels. They were placed on the foot of the beds. Since the beds were upstairs (the bathroom was downstairs), I hadn’t thought to look there. And, Clayton found the remote for the air conditioner. No wonder the wall unit didn’t work! I was a little embarrassed when the manager came by to bring us towels and check on why the ac wasn’t working. Oh, well!
Tomorrow, we visit Auschwitz/Birkenau.