Month: April 2012
I’ve got to assume that if you’re reading this, you’ve been admitted to the MSU Law Poland Study Abroad Program for July 2-27, 2012. Registration for the program has closed (with a handful of exceptions who are still on the fence), and we are at max capacity. Looking at the list of attendees, I’m really excited about this year’s program.
You will get a lot of this information in an email separately, and it will be posted on the program’s main web page HERE.
Although it is still April, I do need you to start thinking about a few things. Most importantly, we have scheduled the trip to Krakow and the Auschwitz Concentration Camp Memorial for July 12 (we leave B’stok at about 1:45 and arrive Krakow about 8pm) through July 15. You can get a good idea of the attractions and area around Krakow at http://www.krakow-info.com/krakow-info.htm.
Cost — this is an estimate only based on my past experiences. We will be purchasing train tickets two weeks in advance in order to get a group rate and reserved seating. It is possible to buy train tickets on the day of the trip but you’re not guaranteed a seat, and it’s an 8 hour trip on the direct train. Other than the train and hotel, you have control over your spending since it is possible to buy basics in the grocery (and the hotel may include a very hearty Polish breakfast) and you can choose to limit tours and other tourist expenses. We’ll have a general plan of group activities (i.e., we’ll arrange a group tour (hopefully with a reduced rate) to Auschwitz on Saturday, July 14) if you want to participate, but your time there is your own.
- Three nights hotel: Approximately 350 PLN (per person, dual occupancy) (This price is based on reserving 8 rooms for 15 people (Americans/Canadians/Poles/Lithuanians/Belarussians) at a total price of 5244 PLN. The actual price will vary up or down depending on whether we have more or fewer people.)
- Auschwitz tour and transportation: Approximately 150 PLN
- Train to and from Krakow: Approximately 200 PLN (possibly less with discount)
- Other tours: Wieliczka Salt Mine (about 50-100PLN), Wawel Castle (Varies by attraction/exhibition, usually 10-20PLN per attraction), Cathedral (10-20PLN), evening classical concerts in various churches and cathedrals (20-100PLN).
- Dining out 3 days (Thursday dinner, Friday & Saturday lunch & dinner, Sunday lunch on train) 350PLN. Lunch / dinner in a good restaurant with beer or mineral water will run you roughly 25-30 PLN, so you can see that I padded this one for incidentals. You can reduce that radically by buying groceries and keeping them in your room at the hotel or by eating at ubiquitous donner kebab shops (about 10-12PLN) — Dr. Krasnicka would know better, and I’m hoping some of the Polish students will chime in too, but my estimate is that I could live on about 100PLN ($30USD) of groceries for 3 days.
- My high-end base estimate (not including any tours other than Auschwitz) then is 350+150+200+350 = 1050PLN for the trip. Today that’s about $330 USD. Eating cheap, you might shave that down to 850PLN — about $265 USD — but I think that’s a stretch.
We need to make a reservation for the hotel by April 30 to get a preferred rate. Since this will lock me in to paying for at least the number of rooms that I reserve no matter what, I need to get a decent count of the number of people who would plan to go. My strong recommendation is that if you plan to do only one of the weekend trips, this is the trip to do. If you’re on the fence, email me and I’ll put you in touch with students who went last year and uniformly declared this one of the major highlights of the program.
Simply put, Krakow is a jewel, and the Poles are justifiably proud of this 1400 year old city.
Some pictures of Krakow:
Panorama of the “rynek” — the old town market square:
I’m not sure what this was supposed to be about, but it involved office politics and fire so it made for good evening entertainment in the market square:
Cathedral about 700 feet underground carved out of the Wieliczka salt mine:
One view of the outer courtyard at Wawel Castle:
Main gate of Auschwitz Camp 2: