Poland Day Three: A Beautiful Morning Walk , And A Then A Visit To Some Of Krakow Unpleasant Past
As is often the case, I did not sleep well my first night in Poland. Jet lag is real and it takes a few days to adjust to the new time change. This, however, didn’t stop me from waking up at dawn to begin discovering more of the history and beauty of Krakow.
It was a cool morning, but there was sunshine as I began my walk along the tree lined planty the park created on the former moat that surrounded the old town of Krakow. .
I once again walked to Wawel Castle and it’s massive walls atop a hill overlooking the Vistula River. I climbed the ancient cobblestone steps and again spent some time at the Castle admiring the view of the river below.
I had read about the legend of the dragon that lived under the hill on which the Castle was built and had to see it and the the sculpture of the dragon nearby. Here is a link to some more photographs of my visit to Wawel Castle. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Three-Wawel-Castle-morning-April-10-2017
I walked amid the old buildings of the university thinking about the many famous people who studied here since it’s founding in the 14th century, including Nicolas Copernicus. I wondered if he stood in the same place I did and what his thoughts were if he did.
I was getting hungry so I headed back to my hotel, once again visiting the famous Main Market Square. Here is a link to some more photographs from my morning walk in old town Krakow. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Three-Krakow-Monday-morning-hike-April-10-2017-
The breakfast at Hotel Grodek was delicious and included a variety of traditional polish smoked and pickled meats and fish. After eating I decided to try the public transportation of Krakow and visit the Podgorze district across the Vistula River.
Unfortunately, I didn’t read the guidebooks very well. I knew the area was referred to as the “Jewish Ghetto” but not much more than that. After a little difficulty at the ticket machine, they were only in Polish, I got a ticket and boarded a tram.
I wasn’t sure of my stop and when I exited the tram I had no idea where I was. And no one spoke English. So I explored the area, and is often the case, found an interesting old cemetery. I love cemeteries so I considered myself lucky. I explored to old graves for a bit and decided I had better try and find out where I was.
I began to walk back along the tram tracks when I finally found someone who could understand a bit of English and I learned I had gone a few stops too far. I decided to walk back through the mixed residential and commercial neighborhood to my destination.
And that destination was the factory made famous by Oskar Schindler during the NAZI occupation and the horrors it brought to Poland, Krakow and this area which was turned into an internment camp know as the “Jewish Ghetto”.
I knew I would be returning to visit the factory when my sister and niece arrived in Poland in a few days ,. It is now a museum dedicated to showing the horrific and inhuman treatment the Jewish population of Krakow was subjected during the NAZI Occupation. So I sat along the factory and recalled the events of the movie and the actions this man took to save the lives of his Jewish workers. And I also reflected on the countless lives that would be lost, murdered the most horrible ways, as a result of the policy of hatred carried on by the NAZI party in Germany. It was the worst of times in the long history of Krakow. Here is a link to some more photographs from my morning visit to the Podgorze. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-day-Three-Krakow-Podgorze-visit-April-10-2017-
“Thou shalt not be a victim, thou shalt not be a perpetrator, but, above all, thou shalt not be a bystander.”
― Yehuda Bauer