On Trip Tidbits: Krakow

Krakow, Poland deliver one of my trip’s biggest surprises. I admit not knowing what to expect, but a big thumbs up to this wonderful city. I posted about it here – but in this post, a few of the oddities I encountered.

The Hourly Trumpeter

The tower of St. Mary’s Church on Old Town Square served as a vantage point for spotting invaders. Some say the trumpet sounds for the opening and closing of the city gates at dawn and dusk. Others prefer this legend. As the invading Tatars approached the city in 1241, a trumpeter sounded the alarm to close the city gates; however, a Tatar arrow pierced the trumpeter in the throat before completing the song – therefore the abrupt ending.

Today, the trumpeter still sounds the alarm at the top of every hour, and in four different directions toward different gates. Poles love the tradition so much, Polish radio broadcasts the noon event across the country.

The Head

How about this unique statue? It also serves as a common meeting place for people. Hey – meet you at The Head at 6 pm.

Dinner Time

My wife had these wonderful perogies for dinner. However, it seems Poles call them Dumplings.

 

Moons Over Krakow

Back in the hotel after a full day in Krakow, I looked out our hotel room window to find this site – Two Moons Over Krakow. Wow – that could be a song title!

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On Auschwitz I and II (Poland)

Forgetting them means letting them die again. (Elie Wiesel)

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Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. (George Santayana)

 

Night, night without end, no dawn comes. (Tadeusz Borowski)

 

We have to remember, always, but it’s never easy. (Alberto Israel)

 

Auschwitz cries out with the pain of immense suffering and pleads for a future of respect, peace, and encounters among people. (Pope Francis)

 

Forever let this place be a cry of despair and a warning to humanity. (on a plaque)

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It happened, therefore it can happen again. (Primo Levi)

 

Any denial of the facts is a denial of the truth (A. E. Samaan)

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Personal note: Everyone should visit Auschwitz I and II at least once in their life. I never realized that the two are a 5-minute ride apart. At Auschwitz I, exhibits as hair, suitcases, shoes, and belongs can rattle the soul – but the size of Auschwitz II (aka Birkenau) is staggering. For me, I’m glad we didn’t have a guide – therefore, at the chance to move and contemplate on our own.

Embed from Getty Images

 

Next stop: Eger

Click here for past posts of this tour.

On Krakow (Poland)

Krakow – Poland second largest city (pop. 750,000); Poland’s economic, education, arts, and culture center, Poland’s capital until 1596

Krakow – It’s Old Town contained within walls (some still exist) and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The large Main Market Square is a vibrant place!

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Krakow – Home to Krakow Castle found on Wawel Hill above the Vistula River across from Old Town. To me, not only was Wawel Cathedral the most magnificent church I saw on the trip – it was one of the most impressive I’ve ever seen.

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Krakow – A place where revered Karol Wojtyla spent much time before becoming Pope John Paul II.

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Krakow – Not bombed in WW2, but is home to Oskar Schindler’s factory and the Jewish Ghetto (in Kazimierz neighborhood). The factory is now a museum about the war in Poland while the Ghetto is in a rejuvenation period. Looking up the long stairway reminded me of the scene when a lady came to the factory for an interview, and Mr. Schindler was standing at the top of the stairs.

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Poland has a rich history, and compared to many other European countries, it was large. I didn’t know that during part of the 18th Century, Poland didn’t exist because the land was divided among Prussia, Austria, and Russia. As for Krakow, the visit here was the most surprising of the trip. To learn more about Krakow, I encourage you to watch the 3-minute video because from Rick Steves.

Next stop: Auschwitz

Click here for past posts of this tour.