Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Krakow Part 2.....

Day two dawned and we had a leisurely continental buffet breakfast at the hotel before heading for the tram stop to go into the city centre again. The taxi had cost us 19 zlotys (about £5) but the tram was only 2.5 zlotys each one way and we wanted to experience the local transport. A very kind Polish lady at the tram stop showed us how to get a ticket and have it validated, a good idea because if an inspector gets on and you haven’t validated your ticket you get fined! The trams are always full and very efficient and the nice lady even showed us where to get off.

The weather was absolutely beautiful, 21 degrees, we didn’t need our coats, hats or gloves and were thankful we had actually taken sunglasses! We found a tourist information office and booked to go to Auschwitz and Birkenhau the following morning and the Salt Mines in the afternoon then we sat in the main square drinking coffee and watched the world go by for an hour. Whilst enjoying our coffee we noticed some golf cart type trains and discovered that you could have a tour of the city for a small price so that’s what we did.

Krakow is a beautiful city with lots of churches and synagogues and our guide pointed them all out to us. We also saw Oskar Schindler’s  factory, those of you who have read/seen the film Schindler’s List will know what a hero he was to the Jews.

We saw the remnant of the wall which was built around the Ghetto and there was still an occupied original building behind the wall. Our guide pointed out a turret where he said the Nazis took pot shots at the Jews, especially if they were trying to climb over the wall to escape.

We also saw the Krakow Ghetto and Deportation Momument which is the memorial to the Jews of the Podgorze Ghetto which includes 33 steel and cast iron chairs (1.4m high) in the square and 37 (1.2m high) chairs standing on the edge of the square at the tram stops. Visitors sat in the chairs remembering the people who were gathered together in the square and then deported to the camps.

Also in the square was the pharmacy "Under the Eagle" (now containing a small ghetto museum), which was used as cover for the Polish resistance who helped the Jews living in the Ghetto

St Mary’s Basilica in the main square of Krakow The church's two towers (15th century) are noticeably of different heights. Legend has it that they were built by two brothers, one of whom grew jealous of the other's work and killed him with a sword. You can even see the purported murder weapon, hanging in the gate of the Sukiennice. Another major highlight is the lone trumpeter in the high tower, who plays a strange hourly call known as the "Hejnal Mariacki." Ringing out to mark each hour, it breaks off on an abrupt half-note to commemorate an unknown bugler who was struck in the throat by a Tartar arrow as he tried to warn the city of the invaders.

At the centre of the ‘Grand Square’ stands ‘The Cloth Hall’ (Sukiennice), founded in the 13th century. It was destroyed by fire and rebuilt in the Renaissance style. It is a magnificent building which now houses many stalls selling cut glass, amber jewellery, leather goods, handicrafts and souvenirs on the ground floor, while the upper floor houses the Gallery of Polish 19th Century Art.

The Pope’s House is where Karol Jozef Wojtyla, who later became Pope John Paul II, resided when he was Archbishop of Krakow. Of course he is still much revered by the people of Krakow and on the way back to the airport our taxi driver, who couldn’t speak much English (though his English was 100% better than our Polish) pointed to what appeared to be village green and said there had been 7,000,000 people there when the Pope visited!

In the Jewish Quarter (Kazimierz) there was another little square called (I  think)Plac Nowy which hosted numerous Jewish restaurants and one Indian Restuarant which MWM christened Bombay OyVey.   The house where the famous Helena Rubenstein was born was also in this square.

There are numerous streets radiating off the Grand Square, shoe/boot shops abound amongst fast food takeaways and clothes shops. You can sample international cuisine at very reasonable prices and the numerous bars stay open very late, of course we didn’t go in all the bars, just a selected few!  We had dinner in the Polish Restaurant again but didn't have the Country Trough, we tried Borsch (Beetroot soup) and pork stuffed cabbage leaves.

I've put together a little slide show for you of some of the other photographs we took of this lovely city.

Krakow Part 3 coming soon.


Dumdad said...

Fascinating. Looking forward to Part 3.

cheshire wife said...

Amazing how much history there is around.

We nearly got caught in Rome when we did not know that we had to put our train tickets through a machine at the station. Sometimes they make life very difficult for tourists.

Anonymous said...

I would very much like to see that. I'm loving this travelogue.

RiverPoet said...

Oh, what a rich history that city has. I can imagine the feeling from seeing Schindler's factory....

Peace - D

Catch said...

this is great take very nice photos. Waiting for part 3!

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

oh i LOVE it when you show me parts of the world i would never get to see otherwise... thank you so much.

smiles, bee

Dianne said...

amazing architecture.

I love the melting effect in your slideshow :)

aims said...

(still having trouble with the butterfly - what is up with that?)

I think I would be weeping as I toured this beautiful city and learned of all the history. The pain the people experienced here. Horrible!

I too look forward to the next part - but with a certain amount of dread as well.

Sandi McBride said...

What a wonderful post...words can not express...

Daryl said...

So many memories/memorials ... I got fa-klempt reading about the chairs in the Square .. so reminiscent of the Oklahoma City memorial to those who died in the Murrah Federal Building bombing


Cloudia said...

aloha my Friend!
wonderful post today.
You are a handsome couple!
this post brought me to tears. Thanks for taking me somewhere I'll probably never get to.
Aloha from Waikiki-

Cloudia said...

Funny synchronycity as I mentioned auschwitcz yesterday . . .we're linked - what can I say?

Akelamalu said...

So glad you're enjoying it Dumdad :)

We were thankful for the help we received on the tram, it's so easy to get caught out isn't it Cheshire Wife.

I'm pleased you're liking our little tour Citizen :)

Schindler's story is a truly amazing one Riverpoet.

Thanks Catch, I'm working on Part 3!

It's my pleasure Bee, I love sharing my travels with you. x

Yes Dianne the architecture is amazing!

Sorry you're having trouble with my butterfly Aims. Poland suffered greatly and my next post is very sad as you might imagine but a part of history that should never be forgotten. :(

Why thank you Sandi. x

There seems to more and more memorials in cities these days doesn't there Daryl? :(

It is a shame you may not get to see Krakow Cloudia, but I hope my writings and photos will bring it alive for you. I too think we are linked my friend. x

buffalodick said...

Very interesting stuff here! 21 degrees must mean Centigrade!

Dr.John said...

I loved the tour and look forward to part three. You make it almost like being there.

Ron said...

Another fabuous travel post, Akelamalu!

I actually got chills when you spoke of Auschwitz and Birkenhau, because I was once in a theatrical production of "The Diary of Anna Frank", and those were two of the camps where the family and other occupants of the attic were taken when they were finally discovered in hiding. I'm sure it was surreal for you to witness them for yourself. While living in Holland, I did get a chance to visit the Anna Frank House...and it was an experience that was Un-wordible.

What a wonderful trip this must have been for both you and MWM.

Hey...and the weather sounded PERFECT for you!!!

Wonderful photos, dear lady!

Once again...I thank you for sharing your experiences with us!


G-Man said...

WOW Ake, it sure looks like a fabulous time!!
The food in your previous post looked Delish!
My daughter has been to Poland, she said the Vodka was Great!!
Glad you are home safe...G

Travis said...

That's some beautiful architecture.

TopChamp said...

hello, this is on my list of top places I want to visit - so I've enjoyed the recap. I'll be back for the last installment soon.

MarmiteToasty said...

Oh oh oh, just beautiful..... I love the old buildings.... just love these posts.... Oneday I hope, I will once again be mobile enough to get away...


Emmie said...

I love, love, LOVE your photos, looks like you had an amazing time :)

tony said...

Thanks for this post.Im half-Polish.My Dad was in The Polish Airforce stationed in Scotland during the War.He settled here (in Yorkshire) afterwards.Although Ive been to Poland loads of times.Its always been to see family in Bialystok (North East Poland) .Apart from Warsaw, this is the only bit of Poland I know!
Thanks , I must visit Krakow soon!

Flowerpot said...

sounds like a reallyworthwhile trip - roll on part 3!

Linda said...

I have never had any desire to ever go to Poland but having just read this post about all of the interesting history and buildings, I do! Not that I can speak a single word of Polish in spite of my last name!

This is just so fascinating!! Thank you so much for sharing your trip with us!

Akelamalu said...

Yes 21 Centrigrade Buff, which is a great temperature for October!

Oh thank you Dr. John, I'm so pleased you're enjoying it.

We've been to Amsterday three times now and have still not seen Anne Frank's house Ron! How bad is that? My next Krakow post is about Auschwitz and Berkenahu. Get the tissues ready.

We did sample the vodka whilst we were there G-man and your daughter's right - it is good!

I certainly is Trav

I hope you get to visit Krakow Topchamp it is a beautiful city.

Marmie I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you that you do get mobile enough to go travelling my lovely. xx

We had a great time Emmie, I'm happy you like the photos. x

Hi Tony, the Polish people who came here and fought along with us are very highly thought of, you must be very proud of your father. You must go to Krakow and I would love to visit Warsaw - maybe sometime soon. :)

We certainly packed a lot in Flowerpot! :)

We didn't experience any difficulties languagewise Linda, almost everyone spoke English thankfully as our Polish is non existent! I'm pleased you're enjoying the trip and I do hope you get to visit yourself someday. x

Anndi said...

Living in such a new country I long to walk streets as old as those.

Thank you for sharing the beautiful pictures you took.

Gledwood said...

O wow I've always wanted to go there. Do you pronounce the town "Crack-Cow" or "Crack-Off"?

I used the second and people used to burst out laughing when I said I wanted to go there...

sorry I've not been round. life... :-<

Lulda Casadaga said...

thanks for the the melting pics. I await #3 with kleenix near by. ;)

Queenie said...

How do you manage to do so much when you go away???? Great post.....

CG said...

Am loving this. You make me really want to go there!!

storyteller said...

Thanks for sharing photos & memories in parts 1 & 2 of your recent trip to Krakow. I found both posts interesting since this is a part of the world I’ve never visited. I’m looking forward to Part 3 ;--)
Hugs and blessings,

Smalltown RN said...

wow that is just lovely...what adventures you had....some day I will make it to Europe....

Eel Wind said...

21 degrees = quite cold! for me of course, who is from a tropical country. Can't imagine how can survive in Europe during Winter! lol ;)

Just a Plane Ride Away said...

I loved re-visiting Krakow through your eyes :-) Looks like you had a fabulous time!

Akelamalu said...

If you love history you would love the European cities Anndi, I hope you get to visit someday.

Well according to a Polish friend the connect pronunciation is Crak-cuff Gleds. We have always said Crak-coff so we stand corrected. Nice to see you back m'dear. x

You may need the kleenex for part 3 Lulda x

We're gluttons for punishment Queenie! ;)

If you go your camera would be worn out CG! ;)

I'm happy to have brought you a small insight into somewhere you haven't been (yet!) Storyteller :)

I do hope you get to Europe RN there is so much to see.

ah but 21 degrees was fabulous for us Eelwind, who had left England in only 3 degrees!

ann said...

another great post and looking forward to the next... you were lucky with the weather

I'll be interested to read your feelings after your visit to Auschwitz and Birkenhau; I'm not sure I could do that trip, although many do.

lotsa luv ann xxxxx

p.s. I love borsht and it's really simple to make

Akelamalu said...

We were extremely luck with the weather Ann. We were all horrified when we went to Auschwitz and Birkenhau but we went not our of any morbid curiosity but to pay our respects as you will read when I post about it. :(

Borsht is delicious, you must give me the recipe.

Raven said...

Thanks for the wonderful tour and slide show. Looks like it was a great trip.

Akelamalu said...

Glad you enjoyed it Raven :)

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