Italy & Poland itinerary questions

Old Mar 25th, 2006, 06:37 AM
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Italy & Poland itinerary questions

BACKGROUND: I have dear friends who want to travel to Poland (Warsaw & Krakow) and Italy (Rome, Tuscany, Umbria) this July for two weeks. There will be 5 in their party - mom, dad, teenage son, adult daughter and her boyfriend. Their main objective for travelling to Poland is to visit Auschwitz.

They desperately needed help planning their adventure, and since I can't afford to travel this year, I volunteered to help with their itinerary in exchange for postcards and small gifts made by local artists, which they can collect for me during their travels.

QUESTION: I have come up with two different itineraries. As veteran travellers, which itinerary would you choose, OR, can you give suggestions for a better one?

Itinerary #1 -

Fly JFK to Warsaw
2 nights Warsaw
Train to Krakow
2 nights Krakow
Fly to Rome, car/train to Tuscany/Umbria
4 nights Tuscany/Umbria
Car/train to Rome
4 nights Rome
Fly Rome to JFK

The only air carrier I could find, at a decent price, that served JFK, WAW & FCO (Rome) was Aer Lingus, which means a stop in Dublin inbound and outbound, for a total of 5 flights. I would prefer not to use multiple carriers for the major airflight.

Itinerary #2 -

Fly JFK to Rome
Car/Train to Tuscany/Umbria
4 nights Tuscany/Umbria
Car/train to Rome
Fly Rome to Krakow
2 nights Krakow
Train to Warsaw
2 nights Warsaw
Fly Warsaw to Rome
4 nights Rome
Fly Rome to JFK

Non-stop tickets to Rome are out of the price range, which means a layover somewhere, and a total of 6 flights. But with this itinerary there is more flexibility with carriers - British Air (layover Heathrow), Air France (Paris), Air Maroc (Cassablanca), Northwest (Amsterdam), etc. And if it was up to me, I would bump the two days in Warsaw and spend them in Italy.

For the air flight to/from Poland/Italy I discovered SkyEurope Airlines, which, according to their website, is offering flights for all 5 people total for around $275USD FCO-KRK and about $500USD WAW-FCO

So, please vote for Itinerary #1 or Itinerary #2, and comment on why you chose that plan. Or, if you have any other suggestions, I would deeply appreciate them. Peace. Robyn >-
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Old Mar 26th, 2006, 04:13 AM
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Good Morning....

Does anyone have an opinion on these two itineraries? Which trip would you rather take? Peace. Robyn >-
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Old Mar 26th, 2006, 04:35 AM
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Hi Robyn,

I prefer no. 2

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Old Mar 26th, 2006, 10:32 AM
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I like Itinerary #1. I think two nights in Krakow isn’t going to be enough. I’m having the same problem with my itinerary. What I didn’t was cut out Warsaw completely and planed to spend more time in Krakow. I’m sure JFK airport has a flight to Krakow as well. Other wise it looks like you will have a great time.
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Old Mar 26th, 2006, 10:54 AM
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Start over! Try Ryanair connections from either Dublin or London Stansted to Krakow. Consider: Czestochowa,Wroclaw,Krakow and Zakopane. Oswiecim/Auschwitz-Birkenau will take a morning. Don't miss the Salt Mine/Wieliczka. Hire a rental van and driver/guide for travel in Poland. He can pick you party up at the Krakow.
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Old Mar 27th, 2006, 04:14 PM
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Thanks for your replies. So that makes one vote for Itinerary #1, one vote for #2, and one vote for start over. Any additional votes, and comments, would be appreciated.

GSteed - Any suggestions on where to locate a reliable driver/guide with van for a day tour of the Krakow region?

Thanks again, Peace. Robyn >-
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Old Mar 27th, 2006, 11:12 PM
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Your hotel concierge/service can supply you with a van and driver. Your group will enjoy the economies of 'scale'.
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Old Mar 28th, 2006, 11:09 AM
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Hi Robyn,
I propose a revision to your itinerary # 1.
I love Warsaw. Warsaw is a phoenix-like city, raised back from the ashes after WWII when it was destroyed by the Germans in over 90%. The Old Town, Royal Way, Lazienki Palace Park Complex, and the Wilanow Palace and Park Complex are all amazing. Also, the fast development of the city, particularly the business center, is astonishing as well. However, if I were you I would suggest to your friends that they skip Warsaw this time and leave it for another trip to Poland. It just seems a little bit too rushed this time. Have them devote those extra days to more time in Krakow and the surrounding area. GSteed has some great suggestions. How about a day trip to Zakopane and the beautiful Tatra Mountains. And another day trip to Wroclaw?

Fly into Krakow - explore Old Town Market Square, the biggest square of Medieval Europe
http://www.krakow-info.com/rynek.htm; don’t miss the St. Mary’s Basilica, the church includes the biggest Gothic altarpiece in the world:
http://www.krakow-info.com/mariacki.htm; also make sure to listen to the burgher’s call played from one of St. Mary’s towers every hour on the hour

Krakow - morning trip to Wieliczka Salt Mines
http://www.kopalnia.pl/home.php?action=&id_language=2&
then visit Wawel Castle and the Wawel Cathedral – make sure you get there before closing
http://www.krakow-info.com/castle.htm

Krakow (day trip to Zakopane and the Tatra Mountains; evening in Krakow)

Krakow (morning and early afternoon spent in Auschwitz, afternoon in Kazimierz, Jewish suburb of Krakow)
Krakow (more Krakow sightseeing; OR a day trip to Wroclaw; OR go to Wroclaw and spend a night there- it’s a great city that needs more time to explore; then the next day fly to Rome from Wroclaw, granted they have connections or go back to Krakow to fly out to Rome from there )
Fly to Rome, car/train to Tuscany/Umbria
3 nights Tuscany/Umbria
Car/train to Rome
4 nights Rome
Fly Rome to JFK

If a day trip to Wroclaw seems too hectic then maybe consider another great day trip such as the Ojcowski National Park and Pieskowa Skala Castle:
http://www.krakow-info.com/ojcow.htm

http://www.cracow-life.com/krakow/wh...a_Skala_Castle

Some more sightseeing suggestions for Krakow:
Jagiellonian University (second oldest university in Central Europe; Mikolaj Kopernik- Nicolas Copernicus- studied there; the Jagiellonian University museum collection includes the oldest known globe in the world to show the “New World”):
http://www.krakow-info.com/maius.htm

Czartoryski Museum (a great intimate museum that includes Leonardo’s “Lady with an Ermine” painting)

Hipolitow House (old burgher mansion with historical interiors of Krakow houses from the 17th c. to the mid 20th c.:
http://www.mhk.pl/english/oddzialy_dommieszczanski.php

http://www.mhk.pl/english/


The Barbican and the Florian Gate

Sukiennice Cloth Hall (make sure you check out the handmade souvenirs sold inside) and the Town Hall

Church of St. Francis with beautiful stained glass windows:
http://www.krakow-info.com/witraz.htm


Juliusz Slowacki Theatre:
http://www.krakow-info.com/slowacki.htm


Kanoniczna Street (it leads to Wawel Castle Hill)
http://www.krakow-info.com/kanonicz.htm

The Mehoffer House (Mehoffer was a famous painter of the Young Poland movement)
http://www.what-where-when.pl/cracow/cracow_3127.htm

Kosciuszko Mound

…and more

Visit these sites on Krakow for more info and ideas:
http://www.culture.pl/en/culture/

http://www.what-where-when.pl/index.htm (they have a good Krakow section)

http://www.krakow-info.com/index.htm

http://www.cracow-life.com/


Wroclaw info:
http://www.wroclaw-life.com/

http://www.wroclaw.pl/ms/english/


Also, go back to Poland forum and you can read more of my suggestions for Krakow under “Suggestions for Krakow Itinerary” heading (I included some restaurant/café tips on there and a performance by Ardente Sole, a court-dance ensemble. You can e-mail them at:
[email protected] for schedule in July.
http://www.ardentesole.art.pl/ ).



Ps. Tell your friends to try the bagel/pretzel-like “obwarzanki” sold in Krakow streets by vendors.
The origin of bagels: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bagel:
“The bagel originated in Central Europe, probably in Poland. A 1610 document from Krakow mentions "beygls" given as a gift to women in childbirth. This is often cited as the earliest known reference to the bagel, but the document is not clear what a "beygl" is. It may be what is now known as a bagel, it may be something related to the word for stirrup (beugal), or it may refer to something else whose meaning is lost.
An often repeated story says that the bagel originated in 1683, when a Jewish baker Laura Zerangue created them as a gift for Queen Jan Sobieski of Poland to commemorate the King's victory over the Turks that year. The baked good was fashioned in the form of a stirrup (or horseshoe, tales vary) to commemorate the victorious cavalry charge. That the name bagel originated from beugal (stirrup) is considered plausible by many, both from the similarities of the word and due to the fact that traditional handmade bagels are not perfectly circular but rather slightly stirrup-shaped. (This fact, however, may be due to the way the boiled bagels are pressed together on the baking sheet before baking.) More prosaically, the name bagel may simply originate from the Yiddish and German word "bügel" , meaning bale or bow, sometimes used to refer to a round loaf of bread (see Gugelhupf for a German cake with a similar ring shape).
Ashkenazi immigrants in the 1880s brought the bagel to the Lower East Side New York City, where it continues to flourish as a local cuisine popular not only with one ethnic group but as an icon of the city. The same phenomenon has happened to the Montreal bagel. Until the 1920s, bagels were rare in other parts of the United States other than a few cities with large Eastern European Jewish populations. The bagel came into more general use throughout North America in the last quarter of the 20th century.”
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Old Mar 28th, 2006, 11:20 AM
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One more thing, "according to Hindu thinkers, the Earth has seven centres of supernatural energy known as chakras. They are in Jerusalem, Rome, Velehrad, Delphi, Mecca, Delhi and... Cracow, at Wawel Hill. The chakras are said to produce negative ions which improve people's well-being and make them feel relaxed. The alleged chakra site has been fenced off to prevent visitors from nestling themselves against the centuries-old wall and damaging it. But you can still come here and stand immobile for a while to "load up on energy":

http://www.poland.gov.pl/Lesser,Pola...lska),298.html

http://www.inyourpocket.com/poland/k...id=POKRENX0189

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Old Mar 28th, 2006, 12:39 PM
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#1. Too much to start and end in Italy. I'm planning a similair combination for my family. I haven't been to Warsaw, but I'd say skip it on this trip. 2 nites in Krakow is not enough.

The only thing with SkyEurope - check to make sure it flies on the day you want.

I think Czech Air flies from JFK to Poland.

We hired our driver through our hotel - Europejski. While we were only 2, it wasn't too much more than public transportation. To me it was worth the extra money for the simple ease. Had we more time, we would've used him to go to Zakapone.

Caroline - great suggestions, thanks.
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Old Mar 28th, 2006, 02:30 PM
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Caroline1 just gave some great advise... I also feel that Warsaw be probably bit out of the way and time wasted on travel could be used for all other Caroline1 have listed ... to which I would just add Pieniny region which is bit east of tatry/Zakopane - or just spending some extra time in Zakopane or even cross to Slovakia.
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Old Mar 28th, 2006, 05:51 PM
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I would like to thank everyone, particularly Caroline1, for the fabulous information. I'm really wishing I was going on this trip with my friends. I guess I'll have to add Krakow to my list of places to visit...someday.

I'm off to check out some of Caroline1's many links. Thanks again. Peace, Robyn >-
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Old Mar 29th, 2006, 01:28 PM
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My pleasure.
Pieniny Mountains that PeterB mentioned are really beautiful. I did not mention them in my posting because I thought it might be too much for such a short trip.
Pieniny Mountains are in the Malopolska region (same as Krakow, Wieliczka, Ojcowski National Park, Zakopane, Tatra Mountains etc.).
You and your friends can read more about Pieniny and other Malopolska region attractions at:

http://www.poland.gov.pl/Lesser,Pola...lska),298.html


Ps. Make sure to copy and paste the entire link.
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Old Mar 30th, 2006, 09:53 AM
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Here are a few Krakow picture galleries so your friends can get familiar with the area.

Krakow at night:

http://www.wawel.net/nocne.htm

More Krakow pictures (this site is in Polish but it’s easy to navigate; you’ll find different sections with tons of pictures of the Old Town Market Square (Rynek Glowny), Streets and Parks (Ulice, parki), Houses of worship (Swiatynie). It’s a really good site. You just have to keep clicking away
http://www.wawel.net/galeria.htm



http://www.jubi.buum.pl/6_krakow2002_0.html



http://www.ga.com.pl/index.htm
(click on “miasta i miejscowosci,” “cities and towns” and then Krakow for pictures of Krakow)



http://www.digitalphoto.pl/fotografi...=kraków

You can click through pages (strony) and view many Krakow pictures



Krakow from bird’s eyeview:
http://www.zlotuptaka.org/krakow.htm

and:

http://www.gorpol.pl/?site=2&artykul=61#powieksz






http://www.planetware.com/pictures/poland-pl.htm



http://www.poczta-polska.pl/mw/index.html
(scroll down on the left side of the page and you’ll find Krakow; btw, I don’t know what these people do but it seems that they have all the time in the world to travel all around Poland)
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Old Apr 8th, 2006, 05:35 AM
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UPDATE: I e-mailed my friend, Jerry, a link to this thread, and he e-mailed back his delight and overwhelment (sp?).

Jerry decided to go with Itinerary #1 (Ira's, and my husband's, choice), which was to fly roundtrip New York/Rome/New York, and take SkyEurope from Rome to Krakow and back, for a three day visit.

I will keep you posted as the itinerary develops. Jerry is out of town right now working on a theatre project, and we plan to sit down and plan as soon as he returns. I'm sure I'll be back with more questions. Have a great weekend. Peace. Robyn >-

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Old Apr 12th, 2006, 01:13 PM
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We were in Rome and Umbria last summer; Krakow and Zakopane the year before. Krakow needs at least three days, especially if you're planning to visit Auschwitz/Birkenau. For the latter, go the Auschwitz museum website and request a private guide (not expensive, but well worthwhile). Expect the round trip to Oswiecim to take at least two hours and then allow an hour for wasted time before your tour starts and for a snack or cofee afterwards. Auschwitz is relatively small; Birkenau is huge. Krakow itself has plenty to see and a few good restaurants around the town square, which is huge. You should also book a tour of the Jewish Ghetto. Another fascinating area. Zakopane, an easy drive to the south, is up in the hills and is quite beautiful. We stayed at Villa Marilor, which was toward the high end, well located, and quite reasonable for what we got. We attempted a day trip from there to Slovakia, but did so on the day of the annual pilgrimage so some of the more interesting places were closed to vehicular traffic and parking was nonexistent. We were there for three nights, which was just about right. For car rentals in Poland, contact Local Rent A Car. Half the price of Auto Europe, very reliable, and courteous. We spent five days in Umbria, followed by three in Rome. Could have spent the while time in Umbria. Time moves slowly there and the area is best seen by those who "stop to smell the flowers." We're going back again in September for eight days.
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