Friday, July 16, 2010

Kraków, Poland

EUROPE: noun, the smallest of the world's seven continents; from the Latin verb europo meaning "to sweat"

This week we have been in Sweden, Denmark, Germany and, today, Poland. Everywhere we go it is the same, very, very hot!!!


Legend has it that this city was founded after the defeat of a dragon by either the legendary Prince Krak or a clever shoemaker, take your pick.

Kraków was the royal capital of Poland until 1596 when the capital was moved to Warsaw.

Main Market Square

This lively plaza was the biggest square in medieval Europe, measuring in at a whopping 200 meters x 200 meters!

It even had an accordian quartet!

Why not stroll here on a
hot July afternoon?

Do you ever find your workspace confining?

The Basilica of St. Mary

The stunning interior of the Basilica

The Basilica's Main Altar

The Herald

You may be able to make out a bugler in the top window of the tower on the left. He plays half a tune out of this window at the top of every hour. During the 1241 invasion by the Tatars, a watchman in the tower saw the enemy approaching and sounded the alarm. Before he could finish the tune, a Tatar arrow pierced his throat which is why they still only play half a tune today.

It was SO HOT, did I mention that already? We needed to beat the heat some how!

The Planty

Perhaps a stroll on the Planty greenbelt that surrounds the Old City would do the trick?

Lots of benches and gallons of potable water. I think I have consumed a small lake's worth of liquids in the past week with no changes in the weather forecasted any time soon.

These four guys just had to air their pits

View from a Planty bench

The Barbican on the right

No roof on this building, just open air classical music concerts.

In the tourism business, sex sells!

The Art Wall was too hot

Direct sunlight + paved side walk/street = untold misery

We could sit and feed the pigeons

Five Friends

Their solution to the heat was to get some kebabs, find a shady spot and take a load off for a few minutes.

Smart shoppers were walking in the shade

The Wonder of Water

God bless the Fire Department for setting up hoses like this one throughout Kraków today, but . . .

Things could quickly get out of hand!

An answer at last!!!

These four old cronies got together to solve all of the world's problems!

We were still roasting and wanted to beat the heat somehow. Then suddenly, there it was!

Outlined by the Old City Gate,

Not just any McDonald's mind you, one with its
own . . .


During renovations, they discovered a Gothic cellar. Now it is the coolest, literally, place to eat a Big Mac anywhere in Europe!

The Church of St. Peter and St. Paul

Twelve guys working on their tans

A businesswoman in seated action

Padre Pio?

If I understand this correctly, Padre Pio signed an endorsement deal with this Physical Therapist before he died.

Do you have trouble with this sign?

St. Bernardine's Church

Average exterior.

Ornate Interior

Nice Cupola


We bought tickets to this Chopin Concert performed by the Kraków Chopin Players Orchestra in St. Bernardine's. Two violins, a viola, a cello and a bass fiddle is all that was needed to play incredible music with such virtuosity!

Frédéric Chopin was Polish and he is still the darling of Kraków's music lovers. In we went and it was such a treat.

Kraków is my kind of city, old buildings, great history, a fighting spirit and inexpensive food and drink.

Tomorrow we will start our day with what I'm sure will be a very sobering tour of the Nazi's Auschwitz/Birkenau Concentration Camps about an hour from Kraków.

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