Trip Start Oct 01, 2008
Trip End Sep 02, 2009

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Flag of Poland  , Southern Poland,
Friday, July 17, 2009

July 17, Friday

We catch the correct bus this morning into the centre of Krakow. A man gets on the bus with a Siem Reap t-shirt on and I give him the thumbs up and point to the logo.  He comes and talks with us.  He is a retired professor of geology at the university.  He asked if we had been there and we said yes and then spoke of Nepal.  He asked if there were Maoists still collecting money on the trails and we said not, you have to do a 'tourist card' and get it stamped.  He told us when to get off close to the Wawevel Royal Castle.  It is a very large gracious castle built on a hill overlooking the river.

There are several boats on the river all offering tourists the opportunity to go for a boat ride.

We go to information and ask about the tours.  The castle and church is divided into several tours.  We chose to go see the Royal Private Apartments.  Our tour in English begins at 1:10 p.m. so we have time to go to the church.

The church is large, very ornate.  This is where the royals were married, christened and buried here. 

We had our lunch, found a restaurant, many on the premises, that served pyrogies and goulash soup.  All was very good.

We made our way back to the huge court yard to wait for tour time.  It is another hot day, our frozen water bottles have long since melted and the water drank.  We people watch and listen to an English tour group that comes, she tells where the state apartments are, where the king lived and where the queen lived, who occupied the castle during the war years and about the fire.  They never went in at all.   

Finally our time is next.  We are a small group of 9, 2 are late, but we begin.  The rooms we go in are locked, the doors throughout are all solid wood, beautiful and each one is a different pattern or different wood markings.  Sorry only one picture of the banister coming up the stairs.  Lots of hand made Flemish tapestries, wooden furniture from Italy, France, Germany, The Netherlands, England and only one table was from Poland.  The ceramics covering the heating systems were from Gdansk, but copied from the Delft tiles.  It was an excellent tour with very unique and interesting pieces of furniture, china and paintings from all over Europe.  There was a woman observer in each room who followed us around that room and made sure all left with the group and nothing was touched and then closed the door to that room when the next door was opened. 

We left the castle area and headed back to the centre of town.  We stopped in at a couple of cathedrals along the way.  Looked in the stores and ended at what is known as the largest square in Europe.  There are restaurants here, a flower market, I am sure on market day it is packed with stalls.  A trumpet and trombone group and playing Scott Joplin’s toe taping music, there are a couple of statues, but not as many as we have seen in other city squares. 

We hit McD’s for a milk shake and some ice water to soak my neck jell in.  We begin our walk back towards the train station.  We do pretty good, luckily I asked a woman and we are just about there.  Not too much further to go.  Once there we know where to catch the bus and get home.

We stop at the grocery store for some goodies for super, tonight is taco night. 

Met a woman who loaned us about their camping book, and then a couple who just came from Prague.  So loads of information.

Another great day.
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