Trip Start Sep 08, 2009
35Trip End Nov 24, 2009
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Where I stayed
We spent the first full day walking around the Main Market Square- the biggest medieval square in Europe- seeing and exploring. As soon as we entered the square (literally a block and a half from our hostel, Tutti Frutti, we almost walked into a movie set. There was some movie being filmed in part of the square. There were hundreds of people (extras) dressed in early 1900’s clothing waiting for the director to call action
We went into the big building in the center of the square, Cloth Hall, which used to be the market for locals in the old days and is now all touristy booths selling Polish souvenirs. Then we saw the Town Hall Tower, now a tourist information office. We continued our walk to St. Francis’ Basilica, the church Pope John Paul II used to pray in when he was a bishop in Krakow. We got to see his old favorite seat in one of the back pews. We then walked all the way up to the Wawel Castle Grounds, on Wawel Hill. It’s a castle with Poland’s national church, Wawel Cathedral (like the Westminster Abbey of London, England because it has royal tombs and crypts). It also has an old castle square with a chakra area. Chakra is a Hindu belief that an energy field connects all living things. According to believers, there are seven chakra points on the surface of the earth that mirror the seven chakra points on the body where the energy is most concentrated. The seven strong chakra places here on Earth are Delhi, Delphi, Jerusalem, Mecca, Rome, Velehrad, and Wawel Hill. There is a specific part of a wall inside the castle courtyard covered in smudge marks from people who press their bodies up against the wall to try and absorb some good vibes, or whatever it would be called. Of course we had to try it out. I didn’t feel anything different though
Seeing as I’ve just written a lot about only part of one day here, I’ll go faster now. We also saw some other churches in town, one huge one called St. Mary’s Cathedral. It’s done in a gothic style. We also went to the Jewish Quarter one day. There are only a couple hundred Jews left living in this area- there were thousands and thousands before WWII and the Holocaust but since then they’ve either been killed or moved away. We saw a big cemetery with thousands of gravestones all crooked and half broken. This was one of the graveyards Nazis raided and drug away thousands of gravestones to use for cement in their concentration camps. Since then Polish citizens have tried to put the gravestones back but there is no way to tell where most of them go. So they made a stone, mosaic wall of all the gravestones they couldn’t find the graves for. The wall goes around the inside of the cemetery.
We already posted the Auschwitz blog entry- this was actually a day trip we made while staying in Krakow
Overall, I liked Krakow but didn’t feel like there was much to do here after we saw all the sites. It wasn’t like how Prague was to me- a never-ending town of wonders. It seemed much smaller than Prague. They are very different cities, with much different history though, so I guess it’s not right for me to compare the two.
It was colder in Krakow and even rained for a day. It was the first time we wore our rain jackets.
All for now I think. Budapest is next. (Although technically we are running behind with the blog and we are actually on a train that just left from Budapest and headed to Vienna). Oh, and I’m sure Andre would have written something for this blog but he’s currently passed out, snoring, and wearing my girly sleeping mask (he won’t know I told you because I’m betting he won’t read this entry till the end).