Kraków Day 2

Trip Start Aug 28, 2011
Trip End Sep 19, 2011

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Where I stayed
U Pana Cogito Hotel Krakow
Read my review - 4/5 stars

Flag of Poland  , Lesser Poland Voivodeship,
Monday, September 5, 2011

Today we walked over to the Wawel Castle, exploring that and returning to Old Town.  The castle is an impressive complex, dating from the 10th century.  Like all the other old castles, it's seen its fair share of remodeling and additions.  Those who know about these things (that would NOT be me) say it's a combination of Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles.

The Kraków castle started out as the seat of Polish royalty but fell into disrepair when the capital was moved to Warsaw in the 1609.  Over the years since then various foreign nations conquered the area variously stealing things from the castle and taking it over as their own, making improvements.  After returning to Polish control it rose in importance until in 1921 it became the residence of the Polish president.  It is now a national museum.

The cathedral inside the castle is, as you would expect, an impressive and beautiful church.  To me, however, it seemed strange to have the interior filled with amazingly ornate tombs.  They were scattered all over the interior of the church.  The combination of the main portion of the cathedral where masses are held and the royal tombs below, hold the remains of all but four of Poland's 45 rulers.  One tomb, in red marble, belongs to King Kazimierz the Great and is located to the right of the main altar.  In my mind graveyards (no matter how ornate) and places of worship are in two completely separate categories.  But, then, nobody asked me for my opinion.

From the Wawel Castle we returned to continue exploring old town.  While walking along one of the side streets I saw a large building that advertised it was the Instituto Cervantes and they taught Spanish classes.  Yesterday it was the librerķa, today it's the Instituto Cervantes.  I drug Bruxi inside with me to check it out.  This wasn't a little storefront with one or two classrooms.  It was a large modern building.  I went past the guard who motioned me inside and the receptionist greeted me in Spanish.  

I explained (in Spanish) that I was just curious because yesterday I'd seen the librerķa and today this large institute.  I was curious as to why there was such a Spanish language presence in Poland.  She explained that Spanish has become a very popular language to learn among Poles and there's lots of interest in the Spanish language and culture.  I never would have guessed.  I thanked her and we went on our way.  I'm still a little amazed.  I haven't run into evidence of any particular interest in Spanish anywhere else we've been.  Go figure.

One of the stops this time was the Church of Saints peter and Paul with statues of all twelve of the disciples lining the front entrance.  It's said that the Jesuits spent so much money bulding the front and facade that they ran out of money to finish the rest of the building and had to complete it with ordinary brick instead of stone block.

The Cloth Hall, in the center of the town square is a long building that was built to house the stalls of the town's merchants in the 14th century and it still serves that purpose, though rather than serving the needs of the town's residents the merchant's stalls sell souvenirs and trinkets to tourists.  I suspect the only language not heard in the hall is Polish.

We returned to Kazimierz for dinner again tonight, wandering around the area for a while before stopping at a restaurant to eat.
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Gene & Kathy on

What beautiful pictures, Steve. Enjoying your blog!
Gene & Kathy (Lord, let Steve continue to travel in a podket of peace and bring him home safely. Amen.)

Aaron Holli and Brooke Boyce on

It looks beautiful there!

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