Poland: Day Two : Getting Acquainted With Beautiful And Historic Krakow.

Poland: Day Two : Getting Acquainted With Beautiful And Historic Krakow.

Poland Sunday night -44
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After leaving the airport,  and being a little tired from the long flight, I decided to take a taxi to my hotel, rather than lug my luggage to the train station. My driver spoke no English but, after a few mispronunciations by me, he finally understood the name of my hotel, the Hotel Grodek in Old Town Krakow.  Poland taxi-8

I always  enjoy that first ride through the streets of a foreign country, and that contradiction of everything being so different, but yet sort of the same.  There are streets with cars and pedestrians, businesses and homes,  trees and flowers, as there are everywhere in the world, , but always with some  difference , sometimes subtle and sometimes  drastic.  In Poland I was immediately surprised at how  similar the countryside was to my home in Northeastern Pennsylvania.  I came to love those gently rolling hills covered with birch, pine and aspen trees. Poland taxi-3

We drove the 20 minutes from the countryside to the city which I would soon become so much more  familiar, and endeared to. . Here is a link to some more photographs from my taxi ride to my hotel.https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Two-Taxi-to-Krakow-April-9-2017- Poland taxi-15

Upon entering the city we veered off the mains streets to a quiet nook located in an ancient part of Krakow where  the  delightful modern Hotel Grodek is  located in a historic  medieval building. The staff spoke English and were most accommodating. I loved the old building, which in fact contains a museum. I also loved  it’s beautiful rooms and, most important, it’s location a  few minutes walk from the main square in Old Town Krakow. There is more information on this hotel, which I will visit again,   if you right click red highlighted link. Poland Krakow afternoon walk-4

It was around two p.m. when I arrived at my hotel, and I didn’t waste time taking advantage of it’s  central location. I was tired but that was going to stop me from exploring this  historic city. After quickly unpacking my luggage I was off on the cobblestone streets of  Old Town Krakow. Poland Krakow afternoon walk-9

I walked a short distance on Na Grodku, the  street where my hotel was located and onto busy  Sienna Street with it’s many shops and restaurants. Poland Krakow afternoon walk-12

It was only a few short blocks until I entered in to  the hustle and bustle of the Main Market Square, one of the largest town squares in Europe. And it has been around for a long time having been laid out  in the 12th century.Poland Krakow afternoon walk-22

The twin towers of St. Mary’s Basilica dominate the square which was filled with both tourists and local residents celebrating Palm Sunday, an  important Holy Day in Catholic Poland.Poland Krakow afternoon walk-15

 The air was filled with music from ,many street performers and the aromas of foods cooking at the  many restaurants surrounding the square. Poland Krakow afternoon walk-20

And on the other side of the massive Cloth Hall, another building dating back to the Renaissance period, I found even more crowds of people watching the performance of local groups celebrating Polish culture, (here is a link to one  of the performances) https://youtu.be/irGpLdrewrgPoland Krakow afternoon walk-29



shopping at the many outdoor stands,Poland Krakow afternoon walk-25

or consuming traditional Polish foods. Poland Krakow afternoon walk-26

I continued to walk the  ancient cobblestone streets and came upon the planty, the park that surrounds the old town. It was once the location of the moat surrounding the medieval city but was drained and now is an oasis of green separating the old town from the streets of the modern city. Poland Krakow afternoon walk-37

I walked past  many old building and statutes, including this statute of Nicolaus Copernicus, who studied at nearby Jagiellonian University.Poland Krakow afternoon walk-43

I came to the end of the planty and found myself looking up, for the first time, at the massive walls of Wawel Castle.Poland Krakow afternoon walk-52

I knew I would visit this castle a number of times in the next week so I took a quick, but exhausting walk to the top  walls to get a  look around. I was treated with a view of the winding Vistula River below and  my first peek at the old churches and historic museums within the walls. Poland Krakow afternoon walk-59

After taking in the view, I made my way back through the streets of old town, this time walking past the many historic buildings and churches,Poland Krakow afternoon walk-51

including the famous St. Andrew’s one of the oldest churches in the city. Poland Krakow afternoon walk-80

Wanting to see as much as I could this first day I again walked through the main square and to the to the  remains of the wall that once enclosed the old town. I stood at the old gate and imagined the many travelers  who would entered them over the centuries. Kings, peasants, merchants, soldiers and travelers each having their own impressions, like me, upon seeing them for the first time. Poland Krakow afternoon walk-55

I purchased a ticket for a tour of the massive fortification know as the Barbican. Again, I imagined the   defenders who patrolled and fought off the many assaults on the city throughout the many centuries. It was the first line of defense for the residents living within  the city walls. Poland Krakow afternoon walk-101

It was now late afternoon and a combination of my tiredness and hunger ended my tour. I made my way back along the planty to my hotel, observing some of the feathered residents of the city. Here is a link to some photographs I took on my first walk through the streets of old town Krakow. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Krakow-walk-to-Wawel-Castle-April-9-2017Poland Krakow afternoon walk-86

The plan was to shower, get a quick meal and get some sleep. I showered and walked to  nearby restaurant recommended by the staff of the hotel, the Kogel Mogel.  I had a delicious meal of  the traditional Polish food pierogi, mushroom soup   and goatcheese cheesecake for dessert. I was very tired from my long trip but I didn’t accomplish the third part of my plan. There was a full moon and I decided to walk back to the main square.Poland Sunday night -15

It was a good decision as the old town was enchanting under the light of the full moon. Poland Sunday night -40

I walked the streets for about an hour, listening to the music of the street performers and the conversations and laughter from the many people dining at the outdoor cafes on this warm Spring evening. Poland Sunday night -29

It was the perfect way to end my first day in the country of my grandparents. I returned to the hotel excited to see more of this beautiful in the morning. Here is a link to some more photographs from my evening walk. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Two-Sunday-evening-walk-April-9-2017-

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“Cities were always like people, showing their varying personalities to the traveler. Depending on the city and on the traveler, there might begin a mutual love, or dislike, friendship, or enmity. Where one city will rise a certain individual to glory, it will destroy another who is not suited to its personality. Only through travel can we know where we belong or not, where we are loved and where we are rejected.”
Roman Payne


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