Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Back from Krakow

Wow. We just spent 5 days in Krakow! Glorious sunny weather: 5 days: 1 castle, 6 churches, 6 museums/art galleries, a salt mine, and our own bodyweight in chocolate and cake.

We also visited Auschwitz-Birkenau, but I'll post those photos - if at all - separately.

Krakow is a gracious, historic old city full of baroque buildings, ornate churches and tiny bars. It's very easy to walk around. This is a shot of the main square:

It was Spring, celebrated with colourful arrangements of dyed grasses, much folk-dancing and, it seems, a massive pillowfight. That's feathers, not snow:

Here's a traditional meal of the type consumed by tourists:

Oh, the drinking-chocolate bars of Krakow! Words cannot do them justice!

This is the cathedral, which is part of the Wawel Castle complex:

And these are the bones of a medieval dragon, kept chained outside the cathedral door:

Yes of course it was a real dragon! In fact its statue still breathes fire:

We saw a great deal of religious art - Poland is an intensely Catholic country of course. My favourite was the Art Nouveau work of Stanislaw Wyspianski (d.1907). Here's his "Creation" from the Franscican Basilica:

And some more Art Nouveau stained glass:

And here's a chapel 100 metres below the surface of the earth. It's in the famous Wieliczka Salt mine and took 3 miners 70 years to hand-carve from solid rocksalt in their spare time:

Yes, everthing is made from salt - including crystal chandeliers, statues and wall reliefs of the Last Supper etc.

And here's me with cake and beer 123m below the surface of the earth. The efforts I go to for my research, *ahem*. Please don't tell my Wii Fit...


Nikki Magennis said...

I love it when you go on holiday, Janine, 'cause I get to vicariously experience all these fascinating places! Krakow looks incredible.

I shall post a travelogue of my next rainy camping trip, with pictures of ticks, midges and blisters!

Janine Ashbless said...

Given the news Mr Ashbless received from work the day we left for Krakow, our next holiday might be a on a rainy campsite too, if anywhere at all.
*fingers crossed*

Nikki Magennis said...

Oh, shit, I'm sorry Janine! Fingers and toes crossed for you both.

Madeline Moore said...

Eating chocolate and drinking beer below the surface of the earth - you are an intrepid adventurer AND a writer who delights in feeding the senses. Kudos!

neve black said...

I'm E for Envy (AT's series) about your trip! How exciting and what wonderful pix. Wow!

Oh, I'm reading your comment to Nikki just now...I'm sorry about job complications, Janine. I'm sending positive, prosperous thoughts your way. :-)

Janine Ashbless said...

Thanks for the kind thoughts guys! It may not happen, so I'm not panicking yet - but any good vibes that may tip the balance of the universe in our favour are gratefully received.

And hey, I've just been to Auschwitz. It lends a certain perspective to bad news.

Charlotte Stein aka The Mighty Viper said...

"I love it when you go on holiday, Janine, 'cause I get to vicariously experience all these fascinating places!"

I was just coming here to post almost that exact same comment. Your holidays are so cool, Janine. I want to eat that red thing! I want to swim in those windows!


P.S. Good luck vibes on their way to Mr Ashbless, big time.

Lucy Felthouse said...

Wow, great photos! It's somewhere I'd quite like to go... but as for this weekend, it's rainy campsite for me...

Janine Ashbless said...

Well, I really liked Krakow and would recommend it for a short holiday. The public transport is easy and cheap, and loads of people speak English so there's no problem communicating. I can't guarantee the unseasonably wonderful weather that we got though!