Trip Start Sep 14, 2012
Trip End Oct 15, 2012

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Where I stayed
Penzion Encian
What I did
Krakow church interiors

Flag of Slovakia  , Prešovský,
Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Up and showered at 0620, wifi still problematic in the room. Some packing done before brekkie, heading down with my guide book at 0645. I will have a solo morning around the historic part of Krakow, spending my Polish zloty's in the process.

Don Juan joined me at brekkie, Nathalie arriving before my departure. A good chunk [6 ] are going to see Saint Oscar [dummies].

Left a bit after 0800 after final packing, bringing down the checked luggage and turning in the room key.

Back to the old town to see as much as I could. The Barbican was part of the Gothic defensive structures. It was part of the outermost part of the city's defence.

The 0800 hour is when the city awoke. There were people having a bite on the run, many pretzels sellers were ready. Other vendors were putting out their wares, hoping for larger sales than yesterday. Vegetables were delivered to restaurants. The sun may be out but locals had at least two layers on, contrasted to my thin shirt.

Walked to the southern part of the old city to the Church of Saints Peter and Paul the Apostles. It was the first Baroque church built in Krakow, consecrated in 1631. Visited the crypts' area.

Next door was St Andrew's Church. Its style is Romanesque, built in the second half of the 11th century.

Crossed a bit south of the old town to St Bernard's Church. It was partly under reconstruction but there was lots of gold leaf on what was done. Not sure about a sign that referenced 'no shorts' [or was it 'no swimsuits'?] so took a few shots from the very back of the church.

A short break at Cafe Mimi where Don got his cake last night, getting a nice cappuccino and an eclair so large a fork was provided 15 PZl. Kiwi fruit, strawberries and blueberries were amongst the whipped cream. People were stopping to take pix of items in the bakery's window.

Visited the small gardens of the Dominican monks but could not find any access to the inner sanctum per se while walking a bit on the Platy, the former moat of the old town.

To the Basilica of St Francis [of Assisi]. The Franciscans came to Krakow in 1237. Started to see my first beggars in Krakow, all women, one with a child.

Heading back toward the main square at 1100, more groups prevalent. Into the Cloth Hall to use the facilities 0.5 PZl. The Clock Tower side of the main square was pretty quiet.

To St Mary's Church next 11 PZl after realizing the tower is closed today: should have paid more attention to the guide book! By chance there for the opening of the wooden altar, a masterpiece of the middle ages. The colours in the church were muted but the gothic interior just worked. The 'camera police' were prevalent if you had not paid the 5 PZl fee for same.

Grabbed a pretzel thereafter 1.5 PZl, eating it in the park area near the Slowacki Theatre, the landscape filled with locals. I could see the Polonia Hotel in the distance.

Bought a small water for the trekking tomorrow 2.1 PZl. Back by 1245, Arjan on the computer, oblivious to others' computer needs until poked. Hmm, did he like computer time better than talking to me? He 'claimed' everybody liked the Schindler Museum equally, something I soon learned was a crock.

Off at 1330 to the bus terminal. It was about a 10M walk, going through the train station. I went to exchanged the bulk of the balance of my Polish money. Soon enough we were lining up at G4 for the bus to Zakopane. We left on time at 1410, a warm and sunny Krakow saying goodbye. The city's castle was on the L 15M later.

By 1435 Krakow was a distant memory, heading out on hwy 7. It may be 4 lane hwy but there are pedestrian zones. 1455 suggested just 71k away.

We had stints off the highway re people getting on and off. Rude Rose had earphones on, sitting beside that dynamo known as Rachel.

Two lanes after Lubien, the number of lanes varying. There are many small towns but not of postcard appeal. Highway repairs, largely repaving, slowed us down.

At 1535 had a free seat and four lanes again. Signage noted not only the air temperature [at 24.2C] but also the road temperature [30C]. Hwy 7 morphed into hwy 47 somewhere, two lanes at the mercy of transport trucks going uphill. Hwy 49 appeared on the scene at 1556.

Amy is all 'castled out'. She has the mind of a sieve. The Tatra Mountains seen at 1610, Zokapane just 20k away. There are lots of alpine chalet roofs and architecture. Many ground floors are of stone or brick, upper stories of wood or plaster [flooding?].

Into Zakopane at 1633 and off in a minivan by 1649. We are not going so much over but around the high Tatra Mountains. Trees in the area reach toward heaven, like church spires.

The Dunajec River runs between Poland and Slovakia. We crossed it at 1711, an event washing away some of the tedium of the bus ride. Dumb Amy [forgot to bring duct tape along] was taking some pix on Don's camera.. Quite windy out, the leaves turned inside out.

The Upper Tatras are the border between Poland and Slovakia; the Lower Tatras, between Slovakia and Hungary. Into Tatranska Lomnica a bit before 1800. Don and Peter are at a nearby hotel, Don calling his digs 'an institution'.

Our 1815 5M town tour turned into a half hour. We were shown several restaurant options and where we will take the train tomorrow.

Back in time for dinner at 1900. We had a private room, sitting with Peter, the Aussies and the couple. Jan got going on Sloop John B with a bit of musical accompaniment by yours truly. He knows several Aussie songs too. Not too sure the others aka Table B were appreciative enough of our singing, lardass Rose looking completely out of place, probably since she wasn't the centre of attention. Nathalie won the Intrepid two night package for Marrakesh!

Dinner was the gypsy pork, recommended by Peter. It was fine if a bit tough. A couple of Budweiser beers was probably one too many, Table A doing way better than the others on the refill end.

Up to do some diary stuff and Arjan went back to Don Juan's hotel for some pool, returning c 2300. He joked that Nathalie would take him to Marrakesh. It is the birthday of the Flying Dutchman tomorrow. Bagged out shortly thereafter.

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