We’re a few days behind. Currently we’re in Brasov, Romania. To catch up, here are some thoughts on Krakow.
- They love their baked goods here. Apparently, Dr. Atkins’ revolution was never published in Polish because there are baked pretzel and bread treats on every corner. They pretzels are almost like a bagel without the chewy inside. I think Mark has had about 6 since we’ve arrived. One other reason we need to get up early tomorrow is so Mark can get some more pretzels for the bus ride.
- Krakow was one of the few European cities that wasn’t bombed in WWII, so the architectural heritage here is amazingly rich. We toured Wawel Hill today, which was the home for Poland’s monarchy. Some of the buildings dated back to 1000. Pretty amazing.
- I was worried that as a vegetarian, I’d be eating potatoes and cabbage the whole time we’re here. The gods smiled upon us because there is a killer vegetarian restaurant around the corner from our hostel. It’s called Bar Vega and I’m in love with it. I ate there five times in three days.
- I’m a big fan of the energy efficiency over here. It’s not just Poland, either. Most of the places we’ve been in Europe use compact florescent lighting, most lights are kept off and triggered by motion sensors and the toilets have a low or high water option for the flusher. And we thought we were so clever with our little sign in the bathroom in Maine… “In this land of sun and fun, we never flush for number one.”
- In the center of Krakow, the Cloth Hall is a beautiful covered market, where stalls of amber jewelers, traditional Polish folk art, clothing and more is sold. It’s an important part of Rynek Glowny, the stunningly large and vibrant market square. What an amazing place! We’ll post some photos of it shortly.
- The Kazimierz neighborhood of Krakow was the heart of the Jewish community. It was devastated during the Nazi occupation and most of its inhabitants were shipped off to concentration camps. Many of the synagogues were damaged or destroyed. Graveyards were ransacked, yet gravestones that were buried and hidden away from the Nazis have been restored. Headstones they couldn’t salvage were incorporated movingly into the surrounding wall. These days Kazimierz rapidly gentrifying and home to many of the city’s trendiest bars and nightclubs. That said, the city certainly hasn’t forgotten its Jewish past. Besides two active synagogues, there are several other establishments of Jewish heritage and people aren’t reluctant to discuss the Nazi occupation and its aftermath.
That pretty much sums up our two days in Krakow. I’ve been working on adding pictures to the site and will continue to develop the new Galleries link at the top of the page. For some reason, I’ve had a hard time figuring out Flickr. Thanks for reading!