Hello from Krakow Poland

Trip Start Sep 24, 2006
Trip End Sep 01, 2007

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Saturday, November 18, 2006

I have been in Krakow since last Monday, as I took the overnight train from Prague and bus from Karlovy Vary. I had the fortune of booking a sleeper and had it to myself but it was so cramped even for me, and it was for 3 people! Anyway, it is another wonderful city, biggest old market square in Europe which was not damaged during the war. The Jewish quarter is just off the square, pretty much reflecting life in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Wawel Castle sits as an imposing sight on the distant edge of Ryneck Glowny (Market Square). A trumpter heralds every hour from the top of the Church in Market Square and stops midway, to designate when the actual trumpter advising of upcoming peril, was shot midway his signal. Food is extremely cheap here, one can have a very good meal for about $4. It really doesn't pay to self cater. I am staying in Greg Tom Hostel, great place and clean with very helpful staff. I went to the Salt Mine yesterday, another UNESCO protected site, which miners sculpted lifesize figures in their spare time!! It has operated as a mine for 700 years but ceased about 3 years ago and just hosts tourists now.
I went to a Chopin, their Polish composer, piano concert Thursday night. The pianist played from memory for 2 hours with about 10 min break and came back for an encore of 2 pieces and would have played more but people were tired.. he was a very young man who has won many competitions. The recital,so to speak, was held in the upstairs of a very old restaurant right on Market Square, Ryneck Glowny. It had very old furnishings and a fireplace, and only held about 50 people on hard backed chairs. I sat amongst a tour group from USA of people with Polish roots who saw the ad for the trip in a Catholic newspaper but weren't necessarily practicing, according to the woman from Connecticut to whom I sat next.
On the declasse level, I went to 3, count them 3, moviŽs this week, in late afternoons after long days of sightseeing. The movie theatre is a very old, art decoish theatre with many screening rooms right out of a movie, no pun intended, with carved wooden faces, real curtains at the entrances and huge seats. Not many people. English movies with Polish subtitles so I thought this is good. So I started out with the movie Babel . Turns out most of the dialogue is in Moroccan and Japanese and guess what it is translated into Polish, not English so now I have to see it again! But it was a very isnteresting movie which I would see again anyway. The second movie was Havana with Andy Garcia, a bit part by Dustin Hoffman and so I thought this should be ok and it was terrible. The 3rd one was Art School Confidential with John Malkovich which was cute with a message, a real message. Have you seen int?
I am heading on the train to Warsaw this aft., then taking the night bus back to Riga, leaving at 7 p.m. from there I overnight on the 19th and take a ship to Stockholm Sweden on the 20th arriving at 9 a.m. Then at noon I take a 6 hour train to Ostersund, abour 62 degrees parallel, to visit relatives. It will be great. I will update more then. It hs been extremely warm for this time of year!
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