Poland

Krakow Travel Blog

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From atop the tower.

Woah, Krakow. This city must have been sad at the prospect of my leaving. The skies cried for my last two days here.  Sorry, ladies and gents, but Vienna calls! Krakow, Poland's an alright place to spend a bit of time. With its center claimed by UNESCO as a world heritage site, Krakow has been in the thick of it for quite a while.

The last century hasn't been so kind, however. The sizable Jewish population of Krakow was literally destroyed in the atrocities of WWII; the nearby camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau serve as an all too chilling reminder of those horrific days.
The castle
Even in darkness, however, light can still find footing. Oskar Schindler owned a factory here and risked life and limb to aid many of his Jewish workers during the war. Spielberg's "Schindler's list" was later shot in the Jewish area around Krakow.

There are quite a few other sights to take in. A few kilometers south of Krakow is a massive salt mine that plummets nine levels below the earth. The tour through the mine was interesting. Over 300km of tunnels have emerged, all laboriously carved out over the centuries. Statues, shrines, and even whole cathedrals have been carved out, liking it to a mini Petra made of salt. Floors, walls, ceilings; everything you touch (or lick, if you have the inkling) is salt. It's not white, though, as impurities have rendered it a dark gray. The floor looks like polished marble, having been smoothed over by millions of footprints.
A tourist attraction even in the 1400's, the mine has played host to such illustrious celebrities as Copernicus, Chopin, and even U.S. Presidents and European Kings.  And now me!

There's also a big castle here. I checked that out and toured the Cathedral and the Armory/Treasury rooms. The usual stuff. I think I'm just about all templed/mosqued/churched out. I've lost nearly all interest in touring them anymore, so will probably skip out on that part in Vienna. After a while everything starts looking the same.
 
And so it is with these Euro capitals as well. They all have their own special little claims to fame, but at the end of the day, there always seems to be a river and a clock tower and a castle or citadel, with a few massive cathedrals thrown in here and there. Quaint and nice and all, but a bit repetitive.  Anyway, the euro tour is just about up. Three more nights in Vienna and then a 16 hour trip back home to Nashville. My circumnavigation of the world will then be complete: completely around the world, from May to November. Ahsaa!
jlchatham says:
Very true.
Posted on: Aug 09, 2009
jegs76 says:
I think u shouldnt forget to mention about 2 things here:
1. both nations, Jewish and Poles were destroyed there
2. it all happened in Poland being occupied by nazi Germans, and the Germans did it all.
Posted on: Aug 09, 2009
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From atop the tower.
From atop the tower.
The castle
The castle
The salt mines.
The salt mines.
Salt mines.
Salt mines.
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Krakow
photo by: EmyG