Friday, May 4, 2012

Heading East for Easter: Krakow, Poland - Old City Sites

Going into our trip to Krakow I had no idea what to expect. Usually going into a trip I have thought about (fantasized about) what I am about to get into but for Poland I had no clue. We have a really good friend in Frankfurt that lived in Poland for 5 years so he gave us a glimpse of what it might be like. Now after having been there, I can say Krakow is a great city. Full of great food, cool vibe, and awesome sights including Auschwitz and the salt mines. The main market square was one of the grandest I have seen. With cafes and restaurants lining the edges and a few churches, a tower, and cloth hall filling the middle. I liked Krakow because it was a city I could take my time and stroll, find a cafe or cupcake shop, and enjoy the moment. I find in a lot of cities I am rushing around to see all the sights instead of just enjoying it. 

The random head in the main market square

St. Mary's Church on the square

The doors of St. Mary's Church

St. Mary's Church and the square at dusk. Amazing right?

The fabulous Cloth Hall from the 14th century. Full of stands selling traditional Polish souvenirs. 

Yes I know this is a lot of pink, I guess I didn't expect it to be so cold when we were there so I had to put on everything I had.

Planty aka the parks surrounding the old town. As you can imagine this would be beautiful in full bloom

The atmospheric streets of Krakow

This was by far my new favorite stain glass piece of all time. Done by the famous 
Polish artist, Stanislaw Wyspianski. This piece is housed in St. Francis' Basilica. Fun fact- this was the church that Pope John Paul II was archbishop of before he became Pope. 

And this was his favorite place to pray. I totally sat in this spot and it was kind of cool.

As you can imagine JP II is well remembered in Poland and this is was his Archbishop Palace.

Replica of a Wyspianski piece. That guy knew what he was doing with some stain glass.

This is Wawel Castle. One thing I want to point out about this castle is all the different styles of architecture that exist in this picture. This is an example of addition after addition throughout the centuries and using the most popular style of that specific time.

You can't go to Poland and not try the Kielbasa sausage. Look at him, he loves it!

Poland's interpretation of a beer hall. I would have to say not bad...

...but instead of beer you get cherry vodka.

A great area to explore was the Jewish Quarter known as Kazimierz

Tons of great buildings like this one and...

lots of very cool bars. If you are ever in Krakow definitely check out this one called Alchemia

The flame-belching dragon of Krakow

Krakow was a great start to our two week trip in Eastern (some consider it Central) Europe and also an awesome place to celebrate 5 years of marriage. Krakow was full of life and history and I feel like I learned so much by going there. By not knowing what to expect going into Krakow it definitely was a pleasant surprise. Coming up next...Budapest!


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