Monday, August 8, 2016

Europe Trip 2016 ~ Krakow

Well, I don't think I quite experienced Krakow the normal tourist way although I tried.

I stayed at a hostel just outside the "garden" square downtown where I could walk to everything. It was a lovely location. However, there was a world wide event the week I was there called World Youth Days and a person you may have heard of was coming to make a talk or something (I'm not sure what the purpose of the visit was), but yes, the Pope came to town. You could hardly walk the streets day or night. The grassy yards were covered in large and small groups of "kids" praying, waiting, learning from nuns or bishops, goofing off, etc. The restaurants were packed with tourists and groups from around the world and clergy alike. It was an experience for sure.

I still managed a few tourist things though :)

I love climbing towers. It's one of the few things I will spend money on as a tourist; to go as high in the sky as possible while still "connected" to the ground. I climbed two towers in Krakow. In the first, I enjoyed how small the stairways were. Well, I enjoyed their artistic value. My back didn't enjoy the size as much.

It took some creativity to figure out a good pose in such a small space!
Thank you to Richard Callicrate for this fabulous photo :)

Looking out over a main courtyard with a famous cathedral (this may be the one the Pope speaks from), bazaar and many many restaurants.

A beautiful rainbow on the wooden floor and a bit of advertising for Vibram of which I wish I was receiving renumeration....
The days were beautiful and the flowers were brightly colored. Enjoyed the weather immensely!

One of the highlights of Krakow is the Wawel Castle. I took the flower picture above in the inner courtyard before I descended into the Dragon's Den. Legend has it, "the frightening monster appeared during the reign of King Krakus (lat. Gracchus). The dragon required weekly offerings of cattle, if not, the humans would have been devoured instead. In the hope of killing the dragon, Krakus called on his two sons, Lech and Krakus II. They could not, however, defeat the creature by hand, so they came up with a trick. They fed him a calf skin stuffed with smoldering sulfur causing his fiery death. Then the brothers argued about who deserves the honor for slaying the dragon. The older brother killed the younger brother Grakch (Krakus), and told that the dragon killed him. When he became king, his secret was revealed, and he got expelled from the country. The city was named in recognition of the brave and innocent Krakus." Thank you Wikipedia.

Start of the Dragon's Den

Found the Dragon trying to devour the sun! But he FAILED. The sun withstood his angry temper and shone so all could see the ugliness of his true dragon self.

Krakow was lovely truly, and I enjoyed my time in the city and along the river although I was quite happy to leave the "masses" lol.

Catching a rest on the river in the sunshine.

There really were dancing nuns everywhere. It was a first for me to see nuns dancing in the hot summer heat in full garb and the audience joining in. Have to say it's one of the stranger things I have seen so far traveling Europe, and that's saying something!

The city was driving me mad from the crowds so I took to the countryside the last days of my stay. Enjoyed long walks along the river and through forested countryside and extremely diverse neighborhoods. Sometimes it felt I was walking through different shows on HGTV, but it felt weird to take pictures of peoples houses so you'll just have to imagine the stark contrasts of small village cottage homes across the street from modern marvels!! 

Stopped for some water and juice and there just happened to be a solo swing in the yard so I'm not sure if it was on private property, but I perched myself on the swing anyway and rested my feet :-)  

A bike/hike trail along the river.
I really did enjoy Poland, the small part I saw. I need to return, visit friends, see Auschwitz (which was closed for the festival surrounding the Pope), go to Warsaw, and find a time less crowded to sight see but not during winter :)  

Now I am back in Prague. Living and "working" here waiting my time to get a music gig. Putting all my painting and house construction expertise and experience to good use. Can't say it's a bad city to "squat" in for a time although I haven't been into the city much since returning as I've been fully occupied with working on the house and applying for gigs. In my spare time I've started working out again (trying for the umpteenth time), which has been great. So far my knee has held up, which has not been the case for the past year. I'm wearing a basic knee brace so I can push hard through T25 and I'm loving every minute! 

Here's hoping the next blog entry I write includes some memories of living in Prague and news of my next destination where I'll be working for money and not just room and board. Cheers everyone!