Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Krakow, Finely Polished

A few weeks ago we made our way up north to the Land of Poles.  Under normal circumstances, the drive from Budapest to Krakow, Poland is a 6 hour journey down a two way trafficked, hairpin abundant road which leads you deep into the mountains and far from any signs of civilization.  But of course, we move much more slowly, so it took us nearly 8 hours... but it was worth every minute behind the wheel (said the person who didn't drive)!   

We were completely dazzled by the beauty of the city, the convenience of its layout, the clean and bustling pedestrian streets and the kind and courteous people.  The best part was that it was busy with activity, but not overcrowded with tourists.  That probably won't always be the case, so we were glad we went when we did.   I have more to share from our travels outside of Krakow to visit the Auschwitz and Birkenau camps, but I'll just stick to Krakow for the post. 
We visited Wawel Hill and Wawel Castle, where Claudia found lots of tiny doors.  For a girl of four, playing in a castle, running through corridors and child-size doors is a real treat... 
... for a boy of 21 months, a castle is not nearly as exciting.  He'd rather be pawing through garbage cans and digging worms out of the dirt.  This little guy was a handful.  That is why I left him in Russell's hands for the day.
The cathedral at Wawel is popular with Catholic tourists.  Karol Wojtyla, better known as Pope John Paul II, possibly the most famous Pole, born outside of Krakow, was archbishop of Krakow in the 1960s before he was called to the papacy. 

Maybe you've heard of chakra?  It's a Hindu belief that a strong field of energy connects all living things and that there are seven points on the surface of the earth where this energy is most concentrated.  These points are as follows:  Delhi, Delphi, Jerusalem, Mecca, Rome, Velehrad ... and Wawel Hill.  Here are the kids getting jazzed up in the chakra corner of Wawel.   







The Main Market Square (Rynek Gtowny) is great place to just be.  From sunrise to well after sunset, it is teeming with people shopping and eating, children chasing pigeons and horses clopping around pulling carriages.

The Cloth Hall (Sukiennice) is in the square and it's a nice market where you can get souvenirs and other goodies.  Here's Claudia, about halfway through her 500 gram stick of sugar, dancing wildly in the Cloth Hall.

Still on a sugar high outside.



... and coming down from the sugar high.

The best part about Krakow is that there is a wonderful green space, The Planty, that encircles the entire Old City.  No matter where you go, you are not too far from trees and park benches.  Claudia could literally wade waste deep into the leaves.  This was probably the highlight of the trip for her.



That is all from beautiful Krakow!  

4 comments:

  1. Pic #3 from the bottom... gorgeous. You will never have to pay a professional photog again with all your skills, girlie. Thanks for the memories of Krakow. What a magical place, huh?

    It always cracks me up how everyone else thinks our kids are getting such a cosmopolitan upbringing, when really, their favorite parts of any trip are things they could do in our home towns, i.e. jump in leaves, chase birds, or hit the playgrounds. Miss you!

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  2. Could Claudia get any more stylish! Wow

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  3. I always love your beautiful pictures and how much I learn in your posts! So glad you share some history of the places you guys travel to! Claudias outfit is adorable and Patrick looks just like your husband in the second picture from the bottom, so cute!

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  4. beautiful photos! looks like a fun time was had by all. :)

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