Friday, March 09, 2007

Krakow

The night train sleeping on "couchette" wasn't bad. Getting lost in the rain carrying my backpack all over town at 6:30 in the morning kinda was. But I found the main square and my hotel. Can't check in yet, though. I am the person you don't want to sit next to you in the bakery or internet cafe... I will check in and shower around 12, I think.

Showered, rested, and stretched. My room is beautiful!

I see why Rick Steves calls Krakow the next Prague...it is definitelz up and coming, compact with lovelz public spaces.



Had a fancy late lunch on Friday: the meal started with a complimentary tiny glass of hot honey mead (which went to my head), then delicious wild mushroom soup and (avert your eyes, you vegetarians, vegans, and hangers-on) duck entree with veggies. I think the meal was around $15. It would have been a lot more in the States! Internet was also very cheap here, and prices in general were low.

Went to an art museum of the Polish Art Nouveau movement. Museum was a little funky--some exhibits were kinda boring and I wasn't sure how they were related, and the English translations, when they existed, were a bit strange (like the translations in the Prague Museum of Communism).

Afternoon, I walked to Wawel Hill and wandered the grounds around the castle. Apparently, according to believers in chakra, there are 7 places on earth that have convergence of energy, like the 7 chakras of the body. Wawel Hill is one (although it doesn't market itself that way and the guides are, I guess, forbidden to talk about it). People in the know, though, flock here, according to my guidebook. The place were the energy is most concentrated is a wall--it is covered in smudges from the hugs of kooks/believers. Just in case, I touched the wall. I didn't see anyone hugging it, though.

Went to a couple churches--St. Mary's and St. Francis. Services were going on in both when I was there. Poland is, I understand, devoutly Catholic and boasts a high concentration of churches. At all times of the day, it seems, you can find kooks/believers going to church to pray.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

hope you are having a blast. raining here as usual. Did you turn in your viaduct ballot?-ahsha

Leonard the Anonymous Potato said...

Been wondering about your weather today, too. I hope that it was appropriate for your planned daytrip, and that you and the other tourists were able to keep out of each other's way at Auschwitz. My starchy fingers are crossed that the trip to Budapest goes as well as the trip to Krakow.

How did you think the Krakow Jewish quarter compared to Prague's?

Oh- turns out that the May Uprising was when a bunch of Prague people rose upwardly against the Germans in spring, 1945, just prior to the Soviets showing up.

Geoffrey said...

Many people don't know this, but
Auschwitz was one of the preliminary proposed sites for Euro-Disney. In 1989 when the Berlin Wall came down, A group of German investers was particularly interested in transforming the site. Naturally, Disney had a more appropriate "iron curtain" theme for the park at the time. Our favorite cartoon mouse would have been known as Mikael, and children from all over would have gotten a taste of eutopian life on the attraction "It's a socialist world afterall," where they would witness models of children from other countries standing in line or pitching in with household labor. A drawback to this attraction was the imagineers' insistance that people push their own trollies along the track for both experiential and economic reasons. Ultimately this was deemed a safety hazard; and a mute point as Republican Historical Society interceded in 1990 and halted any investment in the Auschwitz site except that which would maintain it's historical significance.