Entertainment in Rynek Glowny
There's always something going on in the main square.
When we were climbing the tower in the main square we spotted some folk dancing below so we went down to watch that for a while. It was really good and reminded me of what we saw in Coimbra last year. Most of the participants were older local people and they seemed to be enjoying it.
Nearby was an Elvis puppet dancing to some Elvis tunes and this was just as enjoyable though perhaps aimed more at the tourist market.
Were you to stay all day at the main square there would still be enough entertainment to keep you occupied.
The Old Town and... chemistry
It's impossible to be in Krakow and not to visit the strict OLD TOWN which is closed to traffic.
Enlarge the picture to look at the strict old town of Krakow; it's aerial view from the south towards north. Notice please: in English Krakow is Cracow, in Polish: look at the pic how to spell it -.
Btw the picture is stolen from the net. Sorry, I don't have an airplane (yet :-). But these yellow inscriptions are added by me, hmm... it took me some time to do it haha :-).
The Old Town is compact and it's the area surrounded by green park called PLANTY. The shape of the Old Town remainds me laboratory flask (narrow-necked bottle) and... chemistry lessons at school (not my favourite). Am I wrong?
OK, Wawel Hill (attention Poles=citizens of Poland pronaunce it Vavel, strange?) is a plug (stopper) of this flask. There are Royal WAWEL CASTLE and CATHEDRAL on the hill. And the castle is located on the bank of the longest river in Poland: Vistula River (Wisla in Polish - pronaunced hmm... Viswa). The longest river in Poland isn't a small stream although it does not look like big Mississipi, good for us: construction of bridges is less expensive :-).
Let's go inside the flask: in the neck there is straight street called Grodzka (pronaunse Grotzka) and a little left (west) of Grodzka there is Kanonicza (Kanonicha) street - it's the oldest street in Krakow.
Grodzka street leads to the broader part of the flask - in the middle there is the biggest in Europe mediaeval square: MAIN MARKET SQUARE (Rynek Glowny in Polish) - it's magical and busy place although closed to traffic like the whole old town. It's divided by longitudinal building (Cloth Hall = Sukiennice in Polish) into two parts: eastern and western.
Due to limit of 2000 characters continued below:
There is LITTLE MARKET SQUARE (Maly Rynek in Polish) close to Main Market Square. It's just maybe 50-100 steps eastwards (depends how long are your legs and how many drinks you tasted before walking :-).
Let's go to Main Railway Station: go to from north-east corner of the Main Market Square (hmm... top-right on the pic) and go northwards - there is straight street called Florianska (from Florian, do you know that saint name?, out of fashion now). There is Florianska Gate at the end of this representative street (better not to try to buy an appartment there, they cost most then in Lower Manhattan as I know). Then Planty and you are in Central Railway Station - very good location for train lovers, almost at the same center :-)).
More details in next tips if you are not boring yet.
We noticed that the Polish Post Offices
are very organized, clean, and the staff
is very attentive and helpful.
To avoid pushing and shoving to get to
a window in the larger Post Offices, you
must take a number and wait until your
number is called or put up on the screen.
(see picture #2)
One other thing we noticed is that they
are very restrictive as to what they do and
do not allow in their Post Offices:
And the best one we liked ....
NO Cell Phones
Obwarzanek (pl obwarzanki) is a bagel similar to pretzel but much more bigger. You can buy them usually at trolleys like on the photo (it from Internet, not caught by me) which stand almost at every corner in the center and in some bakeries as well. There are three most popular version: with salt (my favourite), sesame and poppy seeds. For me generally a bit dry but irreplaceable when you are hungry and have not enough time to eat something more substantial. Price (2004) - from 0,7 to 1 zloties apiece (~ 0,2 euro).
Promenade along the Vistula-Wista.
The devastating flood of the Vistula had not invaded the town of Krakow as the riverside was high enough to contain the increase of the water level. Nevertheless it was visible that the river had left mud on the lower promenade along the Vistula. The upper one was clean.
This is maybe "off the beaten path" for tourists but not for the inhabitants of Krakow.
It is a nice promenade for pedestrians, skaters and bicycles. I used to walk between the Bechnicki bridge (Al. Krasinskiego), along the Sheraton hotel, the Wawel castle and the Dragon's Den, under the Grunwaldzki bridge to end at the Skala church and monastery.
A few barges transformed in bars-restaurants are moored at the riverside.
There are river cruises organized on large gondolas (only the name refers to Venice not the form or size of the boat) or on boats with sidewheels.