Krakow Travelogue

Old Dec 13th, 2005, 06:15 AM
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Krakow Travelogue

For those who enjoy reading travelogues or browsing photographs please feel free to take a look at mine.

I recently visited Krakow in Poland with a group of us.

It was primarily to visit Auschwitz which was harrowing.

We also enjoyed a visit to the Salt Mines and had a great time in the cellar bars of the Old Town.

It can be found at :

http://www.colin-julie.com/krakindex.htm


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Old Dec 13th, 2005, 07:46 AM
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Hey Colin...glad to view your photos and read commentary about Krakow and especially Auschwitz. We were there in June...actually being at Auschwitz on my birthday!

For a young guy you really expressed the mood of Auschwitz in all its severity and eerie silence,
including descriptions of piles of personal possessions in glass cases, map showing places of prisoner origins, execution wall, etc. )-: Also the vastness of Birkenau. All of it is beyond comprehension, i.e., the barbaric brutality. I was struck by your Auschwitz photos being in shades of grey...in contrast to colorful Krakow scenes.

Interesting about the archeological excavations around Cloth Hall. BTW, did you get to Kazimierz, former Jewish section with old cemeteries, synagogues, and restaurant where Schindler met his family and Spielberg relaxed?

ozarksbill
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Old Dec 13th, 2005, 08:19 AM
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Thanks ozarksbill,

We didn't have the time to explore the Kazimierz district. We didn't even get the time to visit Wawel castle.

In contrast to the heart rendering agony of visiting Auschwitz we also spent many joyful hours in the cellar bars. So we weren't as focused on visiting places in the mornings.

A return visit to Krakow is a must. It's a beautiful city with warm and welcoming people.


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Old Dec 13th, 2005, 08:56 AM
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Thanks Colin. I will be there in late Feb or early March, so your report comes in handy.

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Old Dec 13th, 2005, 09:04 AM
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Thanks, very interesting and well-presented website. I have been to Krakow and Auschwitz a few times, and I have also photographed it in B&W, while using color in Krakow. We took the train the last time, and that is an incredibly emotional trip, but it requires a taxi from the station to the site, and an organized minivan is much easier.
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Old Dec 14th, 2005, 01:35 AM
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You're welcome BTilke and thit_cho.

I felt it was important to photograph in B&W for many reasons. But one more than any other is to give it that historical resonance, to consign it to the past, to disassociate it from the vibrant future that belongs to Krakow and Poland.

One hopes that such attrocities are never repeated but sadly we humans never learn.


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Old Dec 21st, 2005, 01:54 AM
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Can I recommend a documentary called 'Night and Fog' or 'Nuit et Brouillard' (as it is in French) to anyone to is planning on visiting Auschwitz.

It will be the most difficult piece of film you'll ever watch.


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Old Dec 21st, 2005, 08:22 AM
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Thanks, I just added that to my netflix queue.
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Old Dec 26th, 2005, 09:13 PM
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I agree with the above reports.
We were in Poland in September and made a point of visiting 2 main outside of Krakow locations: 1. Auschwitz/Birkenau and 2. The salt mines, busy but generally "undiscovered." It is the most surprising and awesome wonder of the world! The caverns, sculptures and decor are beyond belief and definitely under rated as a valuable world class destination. There are elevators available if you have trouble negotiating stairs. It takes 1/2 day and is something you will never regret visiting. Quite beautiful and "different"!
If you go to Krakow, allow at least 4 days. I recommend seeing Auschwitz the first full day, weather permitting (important as you are outdoors most of the time), it is not cheerful under any condition. I wanted to do it first so I wouldn't chicken out.
The salt mines are fine in any weather as you are underground so weather doesn't matter!
Auschwitz is one of the great lessons in life as variations of this sort of oppression (ethnic cleansing) exists today in many areas of the world, as news reports attest. Go first thing in the morning as it takes several hours and you should be back in Krakow by early afternoon to RECOVER. If you go to the cathedral or temple
(in Kashmirish) after, check the hours as we found the temple closed 1/2 hour before posted time. After a long walk from the Krakow old town, it was a great disappointment to us to not be admitted.
The Salt Mines are fascinating and an engineering fete many centuries old that is not widely promoted and is under rated as a tourist destination.
Regarding the ancient value of salt (your salary!) in human history, that will soon come to and end with the growing popularity of Poland,especially Krakow.
Old town tour advice:
Visit the cathedral in the morning when the light is the strongest in the gorgeous windows, facing East.
The old town market place (cloth hall) is a hoot! I especially loved the embroidered lamb or goat skin slippers (could never figure it out but my cats adore the scraps they used to stuff them!)
Be very careful in purchasing amber.
Plastic copies are everywhere.
We found Mikokryczyui Amber to be quality.They have several shops in the market hall and our hotel.
We purchased at our hotel (Radisson-a great hotel and well situated for easy walks). Check out [email protected]
Da Vinci's "Lady with an Ermine" is in a fantastic small museum Czartoryski (write it, don't try to pronounce it if you need directions and don't speak Polish!!!) in old town and for the quality of the works displayed, I don't know if "undiscovered" is an accurate description, but we had the da Vinci to ourselves for at least 20 minutes...when 2 other people arrived.
What a difference from Mona Lisa in the Louvre...push-shove!
Restaurants: Chtopskie Jadto (write it, don't attempt to say it if you don't know Polish!) for authentic Polish food.Old town square. Try the slaws and sausages with potatoes.
Eat there mid day as it is so rich, without alka seltzer, you won't sleep if you eat there at night!!! Strangely enough, the Italian resaurant Da Pietro was comforting and delicious after returning from Auschwitz, we had a big meal and lots of wine that held us into the evening so soup at the hotel and early to bed made a very full day. We returned to Da Pietro a couple days later for another epic meal! The great thing about this and many restaurants in the old town is they are mostly subterranean featuring huge grottes and passageways. What's with underground Krakow (?) ..Old Town. ..Salt mines?
and a major archeological dig was going on in the main square around the market place.The Poles love to dig!
I say plan 4 days for Krakow if you plan the fore-mentioned tours, and I hope you do.
Well worth the trip and an important education in culture and history.
Best perk..the people were so nice to us!
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Old Jan 6th, 2006, 01:55 AM
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Yes, the biggest revelation was how friendly and welcoming the Polish people were!

I've been to Russia where the stoney faced communist stereotype was alive and well and I had imagined Poland to be very similar but it couldn't have been further away from the truth.

They were charming wonderful people.
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Old Jul 27th, 2006, 05:07 AM
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Old Jul 27th, 2006, 06:01 AM
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Your site was really interesting and a trip that my daughter and I intend to take early next year.

Thank you, from another Welshman.

Muck
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Old Jul 28th, 2006, 01:11 AM
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Diolch yn Fawr !

Have a great trip to Krakow. It's a wonderful city.

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