Day 4 – Krakow

*Brett and I recently finished a trip to Europe. Based on a journal I kept during our travels, these posts are being made after-the-fact for those who are interested in reading more about it. Our photos are all in Flickr, some available only to my contacts for increased privacy.*

We arrived with bed hair and night breath at 9am, if not completely well rested. After a trip to the Bankomat (ATM) I tried unsuccessfully to buy a bread ring costing 70 glowny (Polish version of cents) with a 50 zloty bill. I felt bad afterward, realizing the guy probably doesn’t see that much in a week and can’t make that kind of change. His face full of surprise and the gesture of hands over the head universal. There are about three zlotys in one dollar, but the actual cost in Krakow for food was about six zlotys to the dollar.

The first thing we did was walk the Planty to our hostel. In the nineteenth century, the city wall around the Stare Miasto (old town) was crumbling, obsolete because of modern warfare and too expensive to maintain. The residents chose to replace the wall and moat with a public park – the Planty. I can’t remember a more pleasant city park. The trees are all mature, there are benches every ten feet or so, and it is full of regular people going about their business. It serves such a wonderful purpose.

We were early and couldn’t check in, but we were able to leave our bags in a secure room and freshen up. With combed hair, brushed teeth, and without our packs, we were all set to find grub. In a little cafeteria, we ordered placki (potato pancakes) with mushroom and a plate of ten meat filled pierogis. I ate more than half the pierogis and the placki. Afterwards, we walked a block or so to the Rynek (square) to check it out and then back to our hostel to complete check-in, shower, and for Brett to nap.

Later on, well rested, we walked through the stare miasto, starting at the Barbican, a huge defensive fortification from the middle ages, through Florianska gate, part of the only surviving section of the city wall, down Florianska street, and into the rynek. While we were visiting Krakow, half the rynek was a construction zone while new paving stones were laid down. We paid three zlotys to enter St. Mary’s cathedral, the big church on the rynek, and snapped a few photos before being told only who’d paid an additional five zlotys could take photos. Whether that was a scam or not, I wasn’t sure. I just put my camera away.

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Thoughts:

  • Krakow is vibrant.
  • There is graffiti but not half as much as Berlin.