Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Krakow, Poland! First night

We arrived in Krakow, the second largest city in Poland and one of the oldest. Our hotel was a bit further from the city centre so we were driven to the castle.
Above is the castle taken from down below as we were walking past it on our walking tour of the Old Town.  We headed past the castle through the streets and arrived in front of St Andrews Church. It is a Romanesque church built between 1079 - 1098, meaning that this church is 916 years old! 916!   This church is 769 years older than Canada!  The church is a rare surviving example of a European fortress church used for defensive purposes. You can see in the photo below that there are not too many windows and the smaller ones are perfect for shooting a bow through.

Right beside St Andrews Church is the Church of Saints Peter and Paul. This church is less cool in that its not a fortress church but a Polish Baroque church built in 1619.
Away from the churches we walked and entered the Main Market Square. The square is very large and contains as mentioned in the name the main market but it also contains St. Mary's Basilica as pictured below.  Every hour a trumpet signal is played at the top of the taller tower. It breaks off in mid-stream to commemorate the famous 13th century trumpeter who was shot in the throat while sounding the alarm before the Mongol attack on the city. This trumpet signal is even broadcasted on the radio at noon each day.

Following our tour leader Betti through the streets, we entered a building and then entered a courtyard and then found ourselves in a restaurant. It was all very strange but we were at a traditional Polish restaurant. The restaurant was called Kuchnia Staropolska U Babci Maliny. It had benches and tables for people to sit at. Since we were such a large group I knew it would take ages for all of us to order so I managed to wiggle my way to the front while we were walking. This worked to my advantage as none of my group seemed to clue in and I happily ordered first. I just glanced at the first thing that said perogi and ordered it!

I got perogies indeed! I wish I had thought to order some onions or sour cream or something to enjoy them with. That didn't mean they were no good. They were delicious and I was very happy. Rebecca had got the beet soup and allowed me to try it. That was very good and I hope to get some good beet soup in the future if I can find it.

After I finished dinner, I headed out with Amy and Josie. Super glad still that I had ordered first as there was still people waiting in line to order. Poor them. We headed out and headed for the market square again so we could check out the stalls they had set up inside and outside of it.  I noted that I wanted to come back here tomorrow to check it out more and didn't end up purchasing anything that night.

We had noticed a cafe called Chili Coffee that had intrigued us as we had walked into the old town so we headed back to it. Only to find out that it was closed. We were sad about that and headed into a nearby cafe to get ourselves some warm drinks.  I got a yummy hot chocolate.

After finishing our drinks and Amy's cheesecake we headed back the way we had came and found our way to the castle to our big white chariot. We were still early for the time to arrive at the bus so I got Josie to take a picture of me standing on a very wobbly stone pylon in front of our ride. Check out that volvo.

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