Poland Day Eleven: Krakow: Chilly , Rainy Weather But An Informative Walking Tour With A Heartwarming Guide
I awoke early the next morning in Krakow to find the unseasonably cold and rainy weather continuing in Poland. I again dressed in my rain gear and headed out into the cold rain that was falling. We had a walking tour arranged for 9:30 a.m but I wanted to do some early exploring and decided to check out some of the city outside of the old town.
And I also noticed some signs, that, despite the cold weather it was still Spring. i found this peony shoots , which produce some of my favorite Spring flowers, and which grow in many a garden of my Polish neighbors back home.
The ducks and swans that live on the river didn’t appear to mind the rain. Here is a link to some more photographs from my morning walk. –https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Krakow-Day-Eleven-morning-walk-
After a hot shower I had a delicious breakfast, which included many Polish dishes, with my niece and sister. A sort time later, in the lobby, we met out pleasant guide for the day, the lovely and knowledgeable Ada. After our introductions were once again on the rainy streets of Krakow headed to Wawel Castle.
As we made our way to the castle grounds we learned a lot more of this long history of the castle and Poland. Wawel is actually the hill on which the castle, the cathedral and other buildings were built.
We got tickets for the actual Wawel Royal Castle which was hidden behind more recently constructed buildings. It was a splendid Renaissance residence when designed in early 16th century. However, when the Polish capitol was moved to Warsaw it fell into disrepair and served as a barracks for some time. It has been restored to it’s original splendor but, unfortunately, we were not allowed to photograph the rooms or their furnishing inside the castle.
We also visited the older Gothic Cathedral of Saint Stanislaus and Waclaw. Erected in the 14th century it conained many ornate tombs of past Polish Kings and Saint Stanislaus and Saint Hedwig. It was a magnificent church and the church were Pope John Paul offered his first Mass as a Priest here and served here after he was ordained as Bishop in 1958. Again photographs were not allowed.
We then made our way to the crypt were we saw more of the tombs of Polish leaders including President Kacyznski who died in the controversial plan crash on April 10 2010. Here are some more photographs from our visit to Wawel castle. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-day-Eleven-Krakow-Wawel-castle-Tuesday-April-18-2017-
We again walked down the Wawel hill into the old town learning so much about the history of the ancient city. I had photographed this “lion” above a doorway on an earlier walk but now learned that, in the middle ages, there were no street addresses and houses were located by the animal sculptures above the doors. And, the sculptors were really sure of what a lion looked like. We walked up Grodska street, which was pretty deserted because of the rain. our guide provided many details about the history of the old town and answered our many questions.
I had visited this church before, please see my earlier blog post, but I learned a lot more about this history of the church and again photographed the splendor of the wooden altar and other carvings, statues and paintings.
It was a very interesting and informative morning despite the cold and rain. We left the church and into a van awaiting us to continue our walking tour in Kazimierz, the old Jewish District of Krakow. Here is a link to some more photographs from our morning walking tour of old town Krakow. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Krakow-Poland-Day-Eleven-walking-tour-
History with its flickering lamp stumbles along the trail of the past, trying to reconstruct its scenes, to revive its echoes, and kindle with pale gleams the passion of former days. ~Winston Churchill