KRAKOW, POLAND - NO JOKING AROUND


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August 5th 2009
Published: August 5th 2009
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FRANGIE SIZE PILLOWFRANGIE SIZE PILLOWFRANGIE SIZE PILLOW

Angie needed a pillow and this is what was sent to the room
DAY 113

We spent a good part of last evening trying to decide where we were going this morning. We checked accommodations and train schedules, referring to the web and the Lonely Plant book. The possible choice was to visit the High Tatras Mts or go directly to Krakow, Poland. The problem visiting the mountains was the fact that it was the weekend and all the accommodations on the web were booked. Then if we took the chance of going and trying to find a place then we weren't sure of the local transportation systems and how to get from one village to another in a timely manner without wasting a lot of time.

So in the end it was decided to go straight to Krakow. The train is about 9 hours total, with a change of trains a couple of times. Poland is the country that reminds Angie most of her home state of Ohio. It has farm fields and rolling green hills and large areas of forests. Poland is a beautiful country.

It is a long hot travel day, so we are really glad to finally get to Krakow. We find a hostel called Kadetus that is right outside the old town. It was only one of the few empty beds left in town for the weekend. The only problem was we had to change rooms every day of the 3 nights we stayed. However it got better as the nights went on. The last night was spent in an apartment that Francine was able to negotiate for around 35 USD each for the room. It had a queen bed and a double sleeper sofa with art on the wall and the size of the room was the size of some of our hostel lobbies. The bathroom was a picture out of Home and Garden Magazine, with white marble walls with brown marble accents.

Our first evening in Krakow was spent taking it easy and planning our tours for the next day.

DAY 114

We have decided to take the tour to the Wielickzka Salt Mines. This place has been mined for over 700 years and is on the UNESCO list. It is still being mined but much has been turned into a tourist site. It is over 327 meters deep and has 9 levels. We only tour to 137m and to the
WIELICZKA SALT MINESWIELICZKA SALT MINESWIELICZKA SALT MINES

Good for your health
3rd level. It is filled with carved statues of salt and has one very large church and smaller churches throughout the mine. It is a really nice change of pace for sightseeing. It was very commercialized but how many salt mines can a person tour?

After returning for the short drive to the mines we are dropped of in the Old Town in order to take a walking tour. Our guide's name was Gregory and he obviously has some place to go after the tour because he had us running through the town. There were only 4 of us on the tour but that didn't make it any more relaxing or informative. I don't think that I can even remember most of the places we were at, as he had finished his little talk before we were able to catch up with him.

Some of the sites included the Wawel Castle a 10th c royal castle done in Medieval, Romanesque and Baroque styles and was the home to kings for 500 years. It is under total renovations and not visible because of all the scaffolding.

The Sukiennice or the Cloth Hall, was the first shopping center built
WHITE SALT ON FOR THE KING'S COFFERSWHITE SALT ON FOR THE KING'S COFFERSWHITE SALT ON FOR THE KING'S COFFERS

In the old days only the King got the white salt the green salt was mined for everyone else.
in the 14th c. but now the lower level has souvenir shops and the upper floor is the National Gallery.

The City Hall Tower has a lean of 55cm. And it was done by a strong wind in 1703. It housed the city dungeon with a torture chamber now has shops.

The city walls were destroyed after 1807 with only a few towers still in existence.

The Basilica of the Holy Virgin Mary has a horn that sounds every hour on the hour and stops in mid call to commemorate the tower guard whose throat was pierced with an arrow as he blew the attack warning on the horn.
The towers do not match because they were built at different times. The interior is quite beautiful. It was built in 1287-1320.

There is also the Basilica of the Holy Trinity built at the beginning of the 12th c. It was destroyed by fire in 1850 and reconstructed. It is unusual to find 2 Basilicas in one city but this is a country where 90% are Catholic.

Collegium Maius (later named Jagiellonski) aka Krakow University and it is one of the oldest surviving colleges and was established in 1364. Two of it's most famous student where Copernicus and Pope John Paul II.

There are so many things to see and absorb here in just the Old Town, But what we really want is something to eat. So we go to the famous Chocolate House and share a fruit plate with chocolate dip and a chocolate banana pancake. That was our supper.

We do a little window shopping and don't buy a single item.

Back to the hostel for the night. It was a long day.

DAY 115

We are taking the bus to tour Auschwitz-Birkenau. There is little to tell you about this site it is so well known. 1.5 million people died here. They have various displays of items taken from the prisoners. Including, mounds of hair that was sheared from the heads of the women that was spun into thread and rugs were made for resale. Buildings full of shoes, brushes, eyeglasses were among some of the items that were taken from the people before entering the gas chambers.

I hate to report that once again my computer has contracted a virus. It has effected my internet browser so that I can't access the wi-fi even though it connects. Very frustrating and went to a shop that fixes computers and he didn't have time to look at mine. He said it would take a week. So I am frustrated with the computer issues once again.

Angie uses the computer at the hostel to blog, not easy when you have to stand the entire time to blog when it can take 1-2 hours at the minimum to get one blog out.

Krakow has been a really nice city to visit!










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SECONDARY SALTSECONDARY SALT
SECONDARY SALT

Salt leeching from the rocks with moisture, called cauliflower salt
TIME TRAVELERSTIME TRAVELERS
TIME TRAVELERS

Angie joins some 19th c tourists
BRINE WATERBRINE WATER
BRINE WATER

this mine was first mined for the brine water over 700 years ago.
POLAND'S FAVORITE SONPOLAND'S FAVORITE SON
POLAND'S FAVORITE SON

Pope John Paul II, carved in green salt
LARGE  UNDERGROUND DINING ROOMLARGE  UNDERGROUND DINING ROOM
LARGE UNDERGROUND DINING ROOM

Hosts many wedding dinners while the weddings are held in the Kings Chapel
ST. WOJCHIECH CHURCHST. WOJCHIECH CHURCH
ST. WOJCHIECH CHURCH

Reconstructed in 1611 with the saint buried in the crypt below.


18th December 2012
DRAGON BONES HANGING AT THE ENTRANCE OF WAWEL CATHEDRAL

A question about living dinosaurs
Well, I believe dragons and dinosaurs are the same things, just with two different words for the same kind of living animal. Now, I wonder, how did they come to the conclusion that the bones are of Jurassic age? Are the bones even fossilized? Have the bones ever been taken down from their chains and been thoroughly examined? What scientists "proved" the bones to be "Jurassic" bones? Where are these bones located? Why were they believed to be dragon bones? Is there a story behind the bones? Are there anymore sources for your information? And most of all, what kind or genus or species of dinosaur have the "bones" been assigned to? Waiting for answers!
31st December 2012
DRAGON BONES HANGING AT THE ENTRANCE OF WAWEL CATHEDRAL

Visit krakow, Poland
We were relating the information that our guide had given us. We were enjoying the mythical dragon story that generations of Polish parents handed down to their children. We did not interrogate our guide on the veracity of claims given to the bones. We accepted that what they said was true. We truly didn't care one way or another. It's a great story. I suggest a personal visit to see for yourself. Maybe you too will be enthralled with the magical and mystical world of dragons, to the extent that the bone composition and origin will be irrelevant. Sorry I don't have the information you are seeking. I am sure the answer can be found on the web.
31st December 2012
DRAGON BONES HANGING AT THE ENTRANCE OF WAWEL CATHEDRAL

Visit Krakow, Poland
We were relating the information that our guide had given us. We were enjoying the mythical dragon story that generations of Polish parents handed down to their children. We did not interrogate our guide on the veracity of claims given to the bones. We accepted that what they said was true. We truly didn't care one way or another. It's a great story. I suggest a personal visit to see for yourself. Maybe you too will be enthralled with the magical and mystical world of dragons, to the extent that the bone composition and origin will be irrelevant. Sorry I don't have the information you are seeking. I am sure the answer can be found on the web.

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