Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Krakow, Poland (DoubleTree by Hilton, Krakow)

Today, because of the weather forecast, I decided to visit the old center of Krakow. It looks like good weather most of the day, but from what I saw from the hotel window, it seemed a bit questionable.

The taxi ride into the center of Krakow didn’t take too long. Glad I decided to book this hotel rather than one closer to the city. Much quieter out here and didn’t mind the short taxi ride. I asked the hotel to write down where I should start my visit today and I gave the paper to the driver. Again, I didn’t read too much about this part of old Krakow so I had few expectations.

After being dropped off by the taxi, I walking a few minutes then saw that there was a large church down a small side street so I walked in that direction. I came upon St. Mary’s Basilica, one of the more popular attractions in Krakow. Also known as Church of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven. It was built in the 14th century and is known for its large wooden altarpiece, the largest alter of its kind in Europe. The church has two towers – one that is 69 meters high and the other is 81 meters high. No photography is allowed in the church so the pictures I have are ones I googled. I sat and admired the alter for about 10 minutes. A beautiful work of art!

From this church I walked around the large plaza. I saw a giant head (known as “The Head”) laying on its side near the center of the square. The bronze head was sculpted by Igor Mitoraj, a Polish sculptor, in 1999 and moved to the square in 2003.

Another attraction in the square is a large indoor market with dozens of vendors selling all sorts of items from each booth. It was starting to rain, so it was a great place to hang out.

I’d thought about having a cup of coffee or tea, but decided to keep walking around this part of the city a while longer. I walked down what appeared to be another street of shops and walked by a place where Pope John-Paul II lived and then came upon Wawel Castle. I didn’t walk up to the castle for a closer look but took a couple of pictures as I walked by. I was more interested in walking to the Vistula River, the same river that runs through Warsaw.

Now I was ready for some coffee. I took a different route back to the square and ordered an Americano and a yogurt at Starbucks. By this time the sun was out and I sat outside enjoying my afternoon treat and watching the people. There were many groups of school children and groups of tourist groups as well walking around the old part of Krakow. I was enjoying my own tour, and even though I saw some Segways, I decided that walking was better.

After a few hours I had seen about all the old buildings that I wanted to see and found a taxi to take me back to the hotel. I worked on more on my travel plans for the next few weeks. My stay in Prague, my next stop, is booked and even my stay in Bratislava, Slovakia. Romania, Bulgaria and Bosnia have yet to be planned.

Tomorrow I’m visiting the world famous Wieliczka Salt Mine. The hotel arranged for me to join a tour tomorrow and I’ll be picked up from the hotel at 10:30 a.m.

To see pictures: CLICK HERE

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