Friday, May 23, 2014

Krakow Day 2 and Schindler's Factory

We were super lucky with the weather on our second day in Krakow. It was so beautiful!  We left the hotel at 9 am and headed on the bus into the city back to Old Town where we had been the night before.

My objective of the day was to go to Schindler's Factory which opened at 10. I was happy to have Josie, Carly, Amy and Rebecca join me. I had done a bit of research and determined that if we walked along the beautiful Vistula river we would get there by the time it opened.  As we walked we came across this crazy dragon statue below Wawel Castle.

 The walk along the river was very nice. There was a large path for pedestrians and cyclists. The was also another path closer to the water.  We crossed a pedestrian bridge which had several locks placed onto it. People and locks and love?
 After we crossed the bridge we came across some really cool graffiti and I snapped a shot of it. I just love the colours in it.  It's almost like a whimsical painting. A work of art!

Soon we reached Oskar Schindler's Factory.  The factory is now a museum open to the public to showcase how Nazi Germany and World War II affected Krakow and Poland.  Most people have seen the movie Schindler's List by Steven Spielberg and the movie is based on this amazing man and how he helped as many Jews as he could.
 In 1939 Oskar Schindler obtained an enamelware factory in Kraków, Poland, which employed around 1,750 workers, of whom a thousand were Jews at the factory's peak in 1944. His German military intelligence  connections helped Schindler protect his Jewish workers from deportation and death in the Nazi concentration camps. Initially Schindler was interested in the money-making potential of the business. Later he began shielding his workers without regard for the cost. As time went on, Schindler had to give Nazi officials ever larger bribes and gifts of luxury items obtainable only on the black market to keep his workers safe. When the war was starting to end, he was able to compile a list of 1200 Jews to move his factory and prevent them from entering concentration camps.

 The factory is located at 4 Lipowa.   Visiting the factory was a very sobering experience. I had visited war memorials in Juno Beach and Caen in France but the utter truth of the deaths during the Holocaust is always so shocking. That people were capable of such acts is just unthinkable.

After we left the museum we headed back across the Vistula and walked back towards Old Town. I speed walked as I knew I had a short amount of time before I had to be back by the castle to get on the bus to go to the Salt Mine.
 We came across a wonderful carousel and another small market which was full of stalls of yummy food and souvenirs.  We lost some of our group here and Josie and I headed back to the central market square.  There I sampled seven different perogies. I was in heaven! They were all so good.  All the flavours I tried are on the sign below. So tasty.

 I wanted to eat all the food but I met my match when I had a Langosz. A langosz is a deep fried flat bread. I had mine with garlic spread and cheese. Oh so good. I had a hard time eating it all. Josie got one as well so we enjoyed our massive treats.

 After filling ourselves to the brim with our friend bread, we headed back to Chili Coffee which was open. We each got the Chilli Hot Chocolate and it was deliciously spicy.  It was very good.
 We enjoyed our hot chocolates as we climbed towards Wawel Castle. Wawel Royal Castle was home to the kings of Poland and is now host to an art gallery.

There was a statue of Pope John Paul II because he was born in Krakow.

Our main objective besides to check out the castle a bit closer and see the insides of its grounds was to go to the Dragon's Den. The Dragon's Den is a limestone cave in Wawel Hill.  We headed down a winding staircase and entered the cave. It was pretty cool but quite dark so my photos did not turn out so well. 
 We left the dragon's den only to find our friend from earlier waiting for us. We had a good time watching him breath flames and wondered how we missed that bit when we passed him earlier.

Now I left Josie so that I could go catch the bus to go to the salt mines. I will be doing a separate post on that.

Below is a photo I took of the entrance of the silliest mall. This mall was across the road from our hotel. There was also an Ikea but Amy and I thought we would check out the mall before dinner time. We headed across the parking lot of Ikea and approached this monstrosity of a mall only to find we were unable to get in from the backside. No way in. None. We had to walk all the way around which sure did take forever but it was quite a bit. Once inside we had a look around. I didn't buy anything except for a drink and gelato because we wanted to spend some of our polish zloty. 

Stupid mall. We left and walked around the entire outside again and headed back to the hotel where we had dinner.  Our next stop in our travels would be Auschwitz before ending up in Prague. I am not going to do a post on Auschwitz as I don't think I could put it into words.  

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