It was entirely my fault. Soon after I transferred to London in January 2013, I had to go on a business trip to Krakow, Poland. Perhaps it was the fact that it was not very cold in London at the time (at least compared to what I was used to in the Colorado mountains), but I failed to look at the weather forecast for Krakow and did not take my heavy winter clothing. Plus I failed to remember that humid cold (as in much of Europe) feels much colder than dry cold (as in Colorado). What resulted were some freezing days and nights in an otherwise charming old European city.
It was late January and Krakow lay under a blanket of snow. My hotel was situated on the Vistula River, just west of the castle. After my days at work, I braved the weather to explore in the evenings.
Wawel Royal Castle was practically next door and it was quite spectacular when all lit up at nights. Unfortunately, due to work keeping my busy during the day, I was unable to enter the grounds/building.
The first place I explored was Planty Park, the large park and circles Old Town. With everything shrouded in white, it looked quite magical. Despite the snow and 0 centigrade temperatures, people were out and about.
The park is criss-crossed by many walking paths, with tall trees towering above and benches scattered along the way. Quite well-lit in the evenings, so never felt unsafe, even carrying a big camera around after midnight.
Eventually I made it to Market Square, the central plaza in Old Town — very spacious and quite calm and “un-touristy” given the weather.
After Market Square, I simply walked around randomly. Krakow felt quite similar to Prague to me — the main difference being that Krakow is not as mobbed by tourists as Prague. Based on my Polish colleagues’ suggestions, I wandered around Kazimierz, a historical district (from the 14th century).