Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Absorbing the Cracovian Atmosphere

     Krakow or Cracow, it's the same city spelled either way. It's the second largest city in Poland; the largest is Warsaw, the capital of Poland. Last November 2018, my sister Vicki and I spent a few days in the city's Old Town which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While there, Poland was celebrating its 100th anniversary of the end of WW I when Poland regained its independence.

     Everybody and anybody was eating, walking and celebrating Poland's independence on November 11, 2018. Outside heaters were blazing because it was a bit chilly.

Even the horse-drawn carriages were all gussied-up that day.

See me with my camera in photo below, lower left? What am I doing?

I'm impressed with the anti-skid horse shoes! Cobblestones are dangerously slippery for trotting horses. I've seen quite a few horses elsewhere skid and slide when trotting on cobblestones. So I was impressed by the Poles' level of care and love for their carriage horses. All the carriage horses were wearing these special shoes. On the rear of the shoe is an over-sized bar that prevents slipping on the cobblestone.

Planty Park is a wonderful median strip in Old Town Krakow; more than 2 miles long. Vicki and I strolled along this park with falling autumn leaves as often as possible while visiting historic sites.

Soft pretzels were cheap too! Vendors everywhere on the streets.

We strolled by the University of Jagiellonska founded in 1364.

     I'm adding my expertise with two math students (in sculpture) who were intellectually energized about meeting on campus with Professor Hugo Steinhaus.

We strolled for several miles toward the Vistula River.

Overlooking the Vistula River is the Wawel Castle and its Cathedral.

This is Saint Mary's Basilica (below) built in the 14th century.

Many wonderfully historic architectural styles.

And plenty of cathedrals, too.

We strolled through the Jewish Quarter (click here for explanation).

Eating at the infamous Starka Restaurant required three days advance reservation!

Everything was presented picture-perfect, including the hot mulled wine on a chilly day.

The Jewish Quarter has a huge selection of restaurants. Below is Hevre, a restaurant converted (but not refurbished fortunately retaining its "if walls could talk" stories) from a 19th century Jewish prayer house.

Sitting at a table in Hevre, my sister Vicki captured me with the Impressionist influence of Olga Boznanska, a Polish painter, on her camera. It's called "Woman Imbibes the Cracovian Atmosphere".

Below photo shows the entrance of Mundo Hostel; it was a great place to stay and close to everything including the train and bus stations.

We took two day-long side-trips via a bus. One bus to Auschwitz (click here for my previous post) and another bus to the Wieliczka Salt Mine.

The Wieliczka Salt Mine hired miners and horses for almost six centuries, discontinuing in 1996.

It's now a historical museum.

The walkways and stairs and displays are fascinating.

One room is carved crystallized salt, including the chandeliers.

Very eerie place . . . . the mine is over 1,000 feet deep (includes a lake) with a labyrinth of passageways and chambers totaling 178 miles.

Tourists exit on an underground tram.

It was a sad day when Vicki and I flew back to Berlin, concluding our three-month European adventures. 

Our last leg, from Budapest and Cracow, was like leaving a party when you're having the most fun! Those two cities are high on my "must visit again" list.


  1. I bet you and Vicki were sad to see the end of your European adventure come to a close. Still you'll both have a lifetime of great memories, which will no doubt be relived whenever you two get together!

    1. Yes! We have many good memories that bring smiles and laughs :)

  2. Replies
    1. Yes, very surreal. When we "entered" the mine, it was a stairway with turns every 12 steps or so, winding down, down, down, down this shaft, we must have walked down stairways for about 15 minutes, the LONGEST stairway I've ever done, maybe 500 steps down?

  3. Fantastic Story And Brilliant Photos!! Well Done