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Poland

The largest and most populated East European state, Poland, is now an integral part of the EU economy with many Poles finding work in the UK and Polish shops, a feature on British High Streets. With its dramatic history of struggle to maintain its independence throughout the centuries, Poland is a fascinating place to visit.

Krakow

Dominated by powerful neighbours – Germany to the West, Russia to the East, the North Polish plains have been the scene of conflict through the generations. So it’s fortunate that our main contact is in the Galician City of Krakow, in the South and a short drive from Slovakia and slightly longer from the Czech Republic.

Auschwitz entrance gate

Krakow is the City of Pope John Paul II and Oskar Schindler, and near enough to the Concentration Camp of Auschwitz for a simple journey to visit one of the major sites of premeditated state sponsored mass murder in the last hundred years. The city of Krakow itself is a popular tourist destination, with its Wawel Castle dominating the Wisla Bend, its gigantic market square offset by the Watchtower, which still presents on the hour re-enactments of a trumpeter being shot mid parp by the tartar invaders and Kazimierz, the atmospheric Jewish Quarter with its candle lit bars.

Not far from Krakow the Polish Tatras rise above the Town of Zakopane and within a couple of hours you’re in the Slovakian Tatras – making the possibility of a combined Polish/Slovakian trip something we've often organised.

BRIDGWATER CATERERS IN HIGH TATRAS

Students from Bridgwater College catering course spent a week in East Europe visiting Slovakian college, sharing cooking experiences and learning something about the local culture and people amidst the sunlit landscape of the High Tatra mountains.

Starting their journey in the Southern Polish city of Krakow the students stayed in the Kazimierz area - once the hub of Jewish Krakow. With the help of Polish teacher Karolina Tymochowicz, the group had a guided tour of the city which included the famous market square and the Castle at Wawel next to the Vistula river. It was here that they visited the tomb of the recently buried Polish President Lech Kacynski who had died only the week before in the Katyn wood plane tradgedy. They were also told the legend of Smok the fire breathing dragon whose statue can be found at the entrance to his cave beneath the castle and next to the river.

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