Experiences and Insights into Krakow,
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/2007-12-23/ We’re in Krakow for Christmas
but have no idea how to get an invitation for the traditional
Christmas Eve’s meal. It’s a pity we have no friends here.
I’ve heard it’s a Polish tradition to welcome even perfect
strangers on Christmas but I wouldn’t dare to approach somebody I
didn’t know well. So we’d rather dine out at some Krakow
restaurant where they serve the traditional Polish food.
/2007-12-14/ I’d prefer reading in my native language, because my
knowledge of your language is no so well. But it was
/2007-12-12/ We enjoyed Christmas market
in Krakow this year. Some stands with cheap goods seem out of place
but your lovely tree decorations are a bargain. The same local
handicrafts. We snapped up a few of the latter as well.
/2007-11-26/ I’ve bought a flat in Krakow.
The local real estate agent carried out
transaction smoothly but international money transfer through a
Polish bank took nearly a week. It required a lot of paperwork,
repeated visits, and long queuing.
In the Cold
/2007-11-17/ Weather in Krakow. It’s so cold! I didn’t expect
frosty days, snow, and icy pavements in the middle of
A Package Deal
/2007-11-14/ Visited exhibition in the Wawel
Cathedral Museum to see St. Maurice’s spear, or rather its
thousand-year-old replica that Emperor Otto III had given to
Poland’s Boleslav I the Brave in year 1000. I also liked other
exhibits, mostly beautiful medieval manuscripts written on
parchment. What I didn’t like was that I had to buy a joint ticket
for the cathedral, its belfry, royal crypts, and the museum. The
ticket costs under three euro but anyway – I had seen the
cathedral and the crypts the other day.
/2007-11-06/ And now everyone is looking forward to Christmas,
hoping it’ll be white. Oh, well, we have to hurry to book the New
Year’s party before it’s too late !
/2007-10-25/ Politics is over. Now everybody here thinks about the
upcoming All Saints Day and the following long weekend.
/2007-10-24/ I stayed last week at the home of my friends in Krakow
and was surprised how politicized people were in the city. Everybody
seemed agog with the Sunday parliamentary election. My friends were
arguing for hours – the family of four was split in half as Mom
and Pop supported the governing party and their teenage offspring
preferred the opposition. I hope the political fever is now gone
whoever won at the ballot.
/2007-10-16/ Have visited the Krakow Royal
Castle. It’s a must-see but better
don’t use the plastic cubicles that serve for stopgap toilets
there. Clean and ample public lavatories are situated underground
right at the foot of the hill close to the
/2007-10-10/ I rented a bicycle to tour Krakow
faster, go further, and see more of the city. Besides, I enjoy
biking. Unfortunately, Krakow is too crowded. There are too many
people in the streets of the Old Town and
too many cars elsewhere to pedal comfortably. Next I explored the
green parts of the city west of the Old Town and there biking was
perfect, notably on the lovely, deserted paths in the woods.
/2007-10-9/ Wieliczka Salt mine isn’t
Krakow’s only subterranean treasure. Actually, the city hides its
most exciting riches underground. Practically all nightlife
goes on in cellar clubs. Also trendy cafes
and excellent restaurants often occupy
vast gothic cellars. When in Krakow I visited a glamorous exhibition
in a cellar art gallery, enjoyed a concert
of classical music in a cellar auditorium, and saw theater
performance in a cellar playhouse. Claustrophobic types will miss
lots in Krakow.
/2007-09-16/ My friend is going to spent a week in Kracow 1/2 week
in October - will she have to take warm clothing or will the weather
still be warm?
Museum of John
/2007-09-06/ If you are a John Paul II fan,
you’ll love Krakow’s Archdiocese Museum
at Kanonicza street. As a priest the late
Pope lived in its building, situated at the foot of the Royal
Castle, and now his room has been recreated. Other rooms contain
mostly varied papal memorabilia. Unfortunately, the museum
disappoints visitors attracted by its reputation as a repository of
the medieval church art. Its exhibition of
artworks is rather modest and generally unimpressive. And the art
here obviously plays second fiddle to the towering figure of the
In the foreground - two adjacent houses where John Paul II
lived 1951-1963 have been turned into the Archdiocese Museum
with a department devoted to the late Pope.
Go to Wadowice
/2007-08-25/ My family, four of us, visited Wadowice
where our dear late Holy Father John Paul II
was born. The little town and the Pope’s humble childhood make a
big impression. We saw people with bottles taking water that flows
from the statue of John Paul II next to the basilica. Our guide said
they believe the water cures some illnesses. Obviously, we ate John
Paul’s famous cream cake.
/2007-08-15/ Very lovely and nice place but hard to find English
speaking ppl to talk to them Specially locals.
I don’t know why they don’t wanna speak in English... Mine is
not so good but at least I can talk to them and ask something..
Finally I met a nice, cute and young girl named DORTHY. She work in
souvenir shop, small one near BARBA KHAN (Barbakan
– editors). She was nice in English and loved to speak to her and
she is one whom I adore being so nice to me... Kisses for her... Krakow
is nice place to visit but once OK not more. It have nothing new or
special which other cities of Poland have. Same old buildings, some churches
and some backpackers. What is new in it why u ppl go to visit Krakow
just cos it was capital of Poland in old
days or what? U just wanna see pipe sound coming out of church every
hours or see lot of tourist... What is new there? Nothing. Krakow -
I will not come back.
No money can buy
/2007-08-12/ I am from the Gold Coast in Australia and I visited Krakow
with my beautiful wife in July 2007.We stayed at Hotel Eden in the Jewish
quarter and I cannot find the words to describe the wonderful
time we had in this city. On one afternoon following our visit to Auschwitz
(no time to comment on that here except to say what an honour it was
to remember) we left our hotel and as we
walked the local street we heard/stumbled on a live blues music
venue. In this venue were a Polish couple that could speak
Australian and we soon became friends. They took us to dinner
the next night and we now have e-mail contact with them and we are
hoping they will visit us later this year. No amount of money can
buy this experience. Thanks Krakow
Shelton - Australia
in Kakow, Only 6 zl.
/2007-08-12/ The idea came to me late. They sometimes due and that is
why they are called spur of the moment. I think it is from my French
heritage, to get a Bee in the bonnet, and then go flying off to chase
it. On Saturday morning, I had plans to go over the flat, clean and
dust, do another load of laundry, listen to music, and spend the
afternoon enjoying the sun on my balcony, and maybe heading down to the
Multi Kino for a movie.
the Bee slipped inside my brain and I decided to go haring off to find
the hill you can see from the Wawel Castle. I
loaded up my camera and back pack, and headed out the door. I locked up
and pushed the elevator button, and to my surprise it opened with the
girl upstairs, and she spoke English. I inquired whether she lived in
the unit over mine and she doesn’t. A conflict averted.
the ride down, I regaled her with my tale of the woman directly above me
with the clacky shoes, and she laughed with understanding and empathy. I
told her I was going to try to find the hill I could see from the Wawel,
and asked if there were any trams that could get me there. She was quick
to tell me the options, Polish names of places, and I was stymied. Then
she said she was going that way and she would give me a ride.
the car, we passed my bus stop, and I asked her if she was heading for
work. No, she was going to pick up her sisters children for a day at the
Water Park or Multi Kino. Her sister lived close to my destination so it
was not out of her way. Most of the streets we
traveled, I recognized so I had my bearings almost throughout the trip.
About 15 minutes later she wound up a curvy road climbing a hill. At the
top was the hill I had seen from the Wawel. I thanked her for the lift,
asked which way off the hill to catch a bus and she told me to just
follow the road we came. She gave me a card with her mobile number just
in case I set off in the wrong direction and was totally lost later in
the evening. Nice neighbor and someone in the district to speak English
this hill, it is called the Mound, is a fortification, not ruins, but a
fortification in the never ending state of maintenance and repair. There
is another name for this place, but for me, for now it is hopeless. It
is a tourist attraction so the management has kindly taken pity on me
with signs that direct you to “The Mound”.
entrance to the Mound is set in a portion of the fortification; you pay
a fee of 6 zl. climb a circular stair way onto the roof of the
fortification and you are at the base of the Mound. The path was made of
new cobble stone, about 4-5 feet wide, and spiraled up to the top of the
Mound in both directions. I was not overly concerned about the hike to
the top because the paths crossed frequently and afforded a breather at
first the angle of ascent was mild, with adults and children walking and
skipping side by side. Even here the views of Krakow below were amazing.
At the first intersection, it all changed. No, the path was the same,
the day no different, but due to my fear of edges, it changed.
there was not rail on the outside. Then, if you looked up, the grassy
mound on the inside was so steep you need only to reach with hour hand
to get a tuft of grass if you lost your balance. The charming cobble
stones became ankle catchers a hazard with each step, and my steps
slowed to a snails pace. The 4-5 foot path became a thread that turned
ever higher into the sky, and memories of how I stumble on perfectly
smooth surfaces haunted me.
my left, the Mound, my hand touching every blade of grass with every
step I took. To my right, the abyss, the fort below, and climbing higher
it was cold and windy. I began to sweat from anxiety.
hugged the grass. People were coming down, all ages and abilities, and I
could see some with the expression of caution and terror that mirrored
my feelings and undoubtedly my face. But, I would not yield the grass.
Every man, or woman, or child descending would have to pass on my right.
Even if it meant a moment of intimate groping in the process, the grass
was mine and I would not give it up.
the top of the Mound is a flat view point about 30 feet in diameter,
with a large commemorative stone in the center, and a 4 foot stone
railing, which took away the dreaded edge. Why they cannot build a 5
foot railing is beyond my capacity to reason at such times.
the view of Krakow is fabulous. You can see the whole of the city, the
Wawel and snippets of the Wisla River in the distance. Further on you
can see the towers of manufacturing or power plants, and just to the
left the district that is my home. To the left of the Wawel and closer
to the mound, is a huge green about a mile long
and 1/5 mile wide, where Pope John Paul II held
mass, to a multitude that was standing room only.
a little further out, the football (soccer) stadium, with the distant
roar from the crowd as a goal is scored or nearly so.
decent was every bit a slow as the climb, grass on the right this time
and no quarter given. At the bottom is a small courtyard area set on top
of the fortification, where snacks, beer, and coffee are purchased.
with my coffee, I watched other people ascend to the platform at the
top, to take the view and then return. I did notice one woman in the
distance, using my grass hugging technique; she hesitate about halfway
through the lower level, then retreated, but tried again one more time,
only to turn back at the same spot. I wanted to tell her I understood
my vantage spot at the café, there is an
entrance to another attraction. Watching people go in, I decided to tag
along and found it was a museum telling about the Mound. In one section
there were flags, and to my amazement, the Stars and Stripes. Next to it
on the wall was a copy of the Declaration of Independence.
the flags and exhibits of other countries, I discovered the mystery of
the Mound. It was built and dedicated in memory of the independence of
Poland. In all the 6 zl. of terror was worth the price.
my quest complete I left the Mound, the Fort and the hill, to begin my
journey back to the busses and trams, and eventually home. I followed
the road for some distance before coming across a wide pedestrian path.
At one point I found a fellow traveler who could speak a little English
and he gave me directions to a bus stop. Reading the schedule, I opted
to continue the trek down the path to the bottom in hopes that more bus
stops would make an appearance. After all it was all down hill.
pathway was in itself nice. Poland is turning green now, and wildflowers
are growing, and the green vibrant. The walk was pleasant and something
to be remembered in the summer when it is hot. The pathway is straight,
bordered on either side by tall trees that form a canopy. It should be a
pleasant place in the Dog days of Summer.
path passed a cemetery in a nice setting, but a funeral in progress,
then, ended in a charming neighborhood of about twenty houses on tree
lined streets. A final turn brought me to a large intersection and the
terminus of tram line #2. Previously this had been a line that was
useless to me, now it is a summer destination.
left the tram at Rynek Glowny and Old
Town, intending to pass through the square and get something to eat
before I took a bus back home. I noticed a march going on. There must
have been two to three thousand people herded by Police in riot gear.
Whatever was going on, I wanted to avoid it.
entering Rynek, I found that the march had wound itself around the
outside of Old Town, up Grodzka, and would be coming into Rynek itself.
Curiosity got the better of me and I asked one of the Policemen in riot
gear, what was going on. (He spoke English.) “It is a Gay and Lesbian
I thought. At least it wasn’t a factional political party or protest,
complete with Molotov cocktails and sporadic machine gun fire. Though
the march did have it’s detractors in playing the part of the
homophobic, and thus the show of police presence.
the milling crowds, cameras clicking, I headed up Florianska to the Galeria
Krakowska and a more peaceful lunch, thinking there wasn’t any
need for a march or police presence. It may be a political issue, but
all in all, finding love is hard enough in this world without need to
politicize it. Where you find it, and who you find it with is something
past outside influence or objection. And if you find love, count
yourself very lucky.
I am a transplanted American who has found a home (if I can stay) in
Krakow. Most of my adventures spring from ignorance and are viewed with
my particular sense of humor. If you would like more of my adventures,
just drop me a line at email@example.com. If you are Polish I hope you
will enjoy my views. To date I have been living here not understanding
Polish, and I am beginning to do this very well. :)
/2007-08-01/ Hi - Me and 3 friends are driving across Europe in a
Rover 620, and when we arrive in Krakow we would like to sell it!
Originally we were gonna scrap whatever car we got but this is in
too good condition to scrap. Full leather interior, all eclectrics,
sunroof, smooth runner - only 70,000 miles (1993 reg). ALL OFFERS
CONSIDERED! Maybe you are holidaying there and would like to drive
back?? Or even just to have a car while you are there?? We arrive on
Monday 6th Aug and leave on Tuesday 7th, Staying at the Secret
Garden Hostel – snap up a bargain!
/2007-07-29/ Actually I'm going to Barcelona next week so I'm gonna
have my decent apartment available for renting. I can rent it to
You. It's in the center, 5 minutes of lazy walk to Rynek but also
very close to Kazimierz. It's on a quiet street. It's worth
considering. I can send You photos if You wish. I love Krakow but I
love Barcelona as well :)
Keep Cool 2
/2007-07-23/ Cracow is cool.
/2007-07-14/ When a heat wave hits Krakow
– go cinema. The city’s few swimming
pools are overcrowded and generally below par. Tourist
sites usually lack air-conditioning. And public places in Krakow
that can boast it, such as shopping centers
and bars, often turn sweaty anyway whenever
temperatures outside exceed thirty degrees Celsius. At the same time
theaters in the city’s multiplexes stay refreshingly cool.
Visiting Wieliczka salt mine is good idea
too – there is constant 15 degrees Celsius down there in the
mine’s galleries and chambers.
/2007-07-12/ I drove to the Krakow airport
from Zakopane in Tatry mountains and took
the ring road on the city limits. The supposed motorway –
signposts indicate so too – is a motorist’s trap. Due to road
repairs it narrows to one lane either direction its entire length.
The speed limit of 60 km/h doesn’t matter much because heavy
traffic slows you anyway (on average I drove at 40 km/h, it was
noon). Not to be late, one should take into account a half-hour
extra driving time.
/2007-07-03/ Looking for a rental vacation
apartment in Krakow. Or any decent and convenient accommodation
anywhere in the city center in early August. Any suggestions?
our Krakow blog for the first half of 2007