Poles and Tolls: On the Road in Poland

Trip Start Jun 16, 2008
Trip End Sep 04, 2008

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Flag of Poland  , Southern Poland,
Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The trains in Poland are less than accessible for the wheelchair, so we decided to rent a car from Ostrava, Czech Republic and drive to Krakow, Poland. Leaving Ostrava was no problem whatsoever, but once we crossed the border into Poland, we had some problems. Let's just say, the Poles are not known for their skills in cartography. None of the roads were clearly labeled on the map or on the road itself. A trip that should have taken us 90 minutes took 180 minutes. Traffic was tricky because of all the bicycles on the main road. If anyone is wondering what Poland needs for Christmas it's a label maker and some bike paths. What looks like a major highway on the map, is actually a country road that winds around and only has two lanes. We had fun not knowing one word in Polish and not even having any Polish Zlotny. That's the local currency and whoa is it wacky. About 2 Zlotny makes one US dollar, but a lot of the money is in the form of coins. You need a double stitched, reinforced pocket to carry around all this change. Its all the fashion here in Poland to have saggy pants around your ankles because you have a lot of money weighing them down. It really is a fashion trend, I promise! We finally reached our Hotel Ibis in Krakow. Had a bite to eat in the French restaurant that was attached. Down the street we went to the movie 'Hancock'. A giant theater and Polish subtitles!! Yay!! We can't even attempt to pronounce the Polish language. There are symbols and characters that we don't recognize. We only had a short time here in Krakow, because our main focus was to visit Auchswitz about an hour away. We did manage to walk around the city square a bit. We went inside St Mary's Church while a prayer session was going on. We peeked around a bit at the stunning décor of the church and nave. We couldn't take pictures and it was the coolest church we've seen so far. I bought the postcard instead. Most of the churches in Europe are still actual parishes, but usually during the day they open them for tourists. It seems that St. Mary's is actually used more than any other church and the tourism aspect is secondary. We walked outside and a bugler was well......bugling out of the tower of the church. I guess he does this every morning. Shan and I explored some junk shops for postcards and stickers. We wish we had more time here and were literally scrambling to see the sights around this square. We popped into Cloth Hall, which is essentially a shopping market. Local arts and crafts shops and a couple food stands. Outside we took our picture with the church tower, Cloth Hall and a giant head sculpture. Krakow is a very intriguing city. We had planned to go to Warsaw as well, but something tells me the smaller town of Krakow is more charming. We figured a tiny dose of Poland was all we could manage since we have been having issues with wheelchair access. This eastern part of Europe is much different than the west. The people are very vibrant, while the landscape is gray. I would say that we would love to come back here and learn more about Poland and our friends in the east!

Love Rach and Shan
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ofhenderson on

Hammer Time Pants...
Are you bring back in to fashion the famous Hammer Time pants? At least you'd have room for all that pocket change. I wonder... Do they serve polish dogs in Poland?
Hugs! Oletha, Brad & Brett-ly

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