Spend one afternoon sampling...
Spend one afternoon sampling beer from the several cafès you can find on Krakow´s main square. It´s wonderful to stay there just looking at people passing by. Musicians everywhere. You´ll find a lot of musicians playing their instruments on Krakow streets, and on main square. A few will stop by in a cafè expecting a tip, but I think it´s all part of the natural charm of the place. So, I don´t think it´s a problem, on the contrary. One day I was waiting for the rain to stop under a passage and it was a nice wait, because a guy was playing something.
St Mary Church Altar
Photographs are not allowed in the Church so the picture that you can see has been taken from a postcard that you can buy from the shop found at the tourist entrance. The inside of the church is so colourful that I do not think pictures viewed over the web would do it justice, anyway. The altar, which is the photo that is shown, dates from 1477-89. The largest altar of its type in Europe, measuring 11mtr x 13mtr, it is completed with oak wood (the structure) and linden wood (the sculptures).
Quite apart from its age, the altar has some history behind it, in the fact that it has not always resided in the Church. In 1939, it was taken apart and concealed from the Germans. However, they found it and transported it to Nurnberg. In 1946, after a campaign to recover the altar, it was returned back to Cracow. It was returned to the Church and its present location in 1957, after a process of renovation and preservation.
Wine is more expensive and served in smaller measures to what I am used to so I enjoyed beer as the locals do and of course vodka!
I tried 2 different types the Tyskie and Zywiec, I prefered the Tyskie as I found it a bit lighter.
My VA Natalie wanted them both so I had to oblige.
Baltic Sea amber
Krakow was located on so called Amber Truck in the past. The truck connected Baltic Sea in northern Poland with southern Europe. Amber was very expensive and sold mainly to Italy that time. No wonder that there are still a lot of places to buy amber jewelry nowadays.
Baltic Amber, or succinite as it is referred to by mineralogists, is the best quality fossil resin and was the first to have been discovered.
MORE on amber: follow the link below (Briefly about amber) or click here (Mysteries of amber).
I think this was the most moving, haunted place I have ever been. I have read and studied about the holocaust for many years. The train ride from Krakow is only about one hour. It is very inexpensive too. Once you get there, in the off season, you can just get on the bus that goes to the Auschwitz museum. The driver usually will let you off right in front, as he knows you are a tourist. Many of the exhibits in the old buildings at Auschwitz one are worth seeing. There are disturbing displays, that will bring home the reality of the situation. For example, the room filled with human hair. I was speechless at the pure evil that could have thought of doing something like this. The room filled with thousands of pairs of shoes is interesting, in that you will see many different styles, from many different sections of Europe. This brings home, how far they were reaching for people. Those rooms are worth a look, but bring some Kleenex.
Do not waste all day at this site. I jumped in a taxi and went over to Birkenau. This is where it really happened. When you get there, you see the railroad tracks running right into the camp. Once in the camp, the feeling is undescribable. I was there on a chilly January day. The camp was nearly empty. No tours, no loud kids, but eerily quite. There is much to see, but the most striking thing for me is the fact it is SO big. On almost 500 acres. Much larger than you can imagine from books. The area have been left nearly how it was when the Russians got there, after driving the Nazi's away. There has been little reconstruction, and it seems they simply maintain now. Take the map, and just start walking. It will take a lot out of you, from the emotion you are feeling alone.