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Saturday, June 30, 2012


After visiting Warsaw, we went to Krakow.  Krakow was the capital of Poland from its early years until 1596 when it was moved to Warsaw.  It was home to the early kings and the church leaders.  Unlike Warsaw, Krakow was not destroyed during WWII--most of its buildings survived and are centuries old.

 Wawel Castle--the former residence of Polish royalty
 Up the hill in the rain to Wawel Castle

 Every little girl needs an ice cream cone at the Main Market Square (Rynek Glowny).  The Cloth Hall (building in the background) is in the middle of the square.  It was built after the original Cloth Hall burned down in 1555.
 St. Mary's Church on the Main Market Square
 Putting a few coins in the street performer's bucket
 She was brave enough to shake hands (with the help of her mom)
 The ultimate in multi-tasking--Sight seeing and drinking beer at the same time
 Main Market Square--the town revolves around this square.  When it was established in the 13th century, it was the biggest square in medieval Europe.  It is very large and completely surrounds the Cloth Hall.
 Statue of Adam Mickiewicz in the middle of the Square.  Mickiewicz is considered to be the Polish Shakespeare.  His masterpiece is Pan Tadeusz.
 The opposite side of the Great Market Square
 The little one loved to chase the pigeons
 About two minutes after this picture was taken, the little one decided that she was thirsty and bent down in this gutter and started drinking the rain water before I could stop her--not the best drink!!
 Plenty of carriages to ride in
 All smiles at the Italian restaurant
 This picture gives the phrase, "picking your friend's nose" a new meaning.  It would be a BIG job.
 The original city wall fell into disrepair in the 19th century.  Krakow decided to tear down the wall and fill the moat--and then plant trees.  Called the Planty, it is now a beautiful park running 2.5 miles encircling the entire perimeter of Krakow's Old Town.
 Beautiful old building
 Royal Way--the street from the Florian Gate down to the Main Square and then onto Wawel Castle.
 Florian Gate and remaining city wall
 The remaining piece of the city wall
 The Barbican and the Florian Gate
 We rode in a covered cart and took a city tour on a rainy day
 Born in a small town near Krakow, Karol Wojtyla is considered by many to be the greatest Pole.  He is better known as Pope John Paul II.  This was his residence before moving to Rome.  On his return to Krakow, he spoke to the people from this window.
 Old Town
 Street in Old Town

 Mary Magdalene Square

 Teaching the little one about jewelry

 The Barbican

 Beautiful interior of a Catholic Church
 The Jewish Quarter--Before WWII, Krakow was home to 65,000 Jews (one fourth of Krakow's population).  Today, there are only about 200 Jews that live in Krakow.
 Jewish Synagogue
 Another Jewish Synagogue

 Jewish businesses
 Monument to Jews killed in the war
 Jewish business



While our daughter-in-law and granddaughter were visiting, we took a trip to Poland.  The trip started in Warsaw, the capital and largest city.  The population of Warsaw is about 1.7 million.  It has been the capital since about 1596 when it was moved from Krakow.

Poland, located between Germany and Russia has been caught in numerous wars during its history.  Russia, Austria, Prussia, Sweden, and Germany have all invaded Poland.  Most recently, Poland, and Warsaw specifically were devastated by Nazi Germany.  Around 80% of Warsaw's buildings were destroyed by the Germans during WWII. 

After WWII, much of the city was rebuilt and today it is a mix of both old and new.  Most of the "old buildings" that you will see in the pictures have been built since the war ended in 1945.  Today, Warsaw is a modern, thriving city.  It has prospered greatly since the fall of Communism.

Some famous people from Poland and Warsaw are Copernicus, Frederick Chopin, and Madam Marie Curie.

 Looking out the window during the plane ride to Warsaw
 Ready to start our Polish Adventure
 Mama tried to put a wrist band on the little one--but it didn't last long
 Downtown Warsaw
 Streets of Warsaw
 Traffic in Warsaw
 Taking to the streets
 Telling the little one stories about Poland
 The story made the little one sad but....there is no crying on vacation!!!
 Street cafes
 Bumpa and the little one
  Statue of Copernicus
Copernicus was a Polish astronomer and mathematician who developed the idea that the sun was the center of the universe and the planets revolved around it.
 A walk in the park
 Playing in the park
 We also learned that they have sticks in Poland.  Who would have guessed?

 Entrance to the University of Warsaw
 Residence of the President of Poland
 Statue of Chopin
 Mama and the little one in the park with Chopin's statue
 Royal Park
 Royal Park
 Palace on the Water
 Looking at the Palace on the Water

 National Stadium in Warsaw (Eurocup 2012)

 Memorial to the Jewish Ghetto in the Jewish section of Warsaw
Memorial to Poles killed in WWII
 Royal Castle

 Old Town Market Place
 Warsaw--Old Town Market Place after WWII (photo borrowed from Wikipedia)

 Old Town Market Place
 Traditional dress
 Mama in the Old Town Market Place

 Home of Madame Marie Curie
Marie SkÅ‚odowska-Curie (7 November 1867 – 4 July 1934) was a Polish physicist and chemist, famous for her pioneering research on radioactivity. She was the first person honored with two Nobel Prizes—in physics and chemistry. She was born Maria Salomea SkÅ‚odowska in Warsaw.  She shared her 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics with her husband. She was the sole winner of the 1911 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Curie was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the only woman to date to win in two fields, and the only person to win in multiple sciences.
Her achievements included a theory of radioactivity, techniques for isolating radioactive isotopes, and the discovery of two elements, polonium (named after Poland) and radium.  Curie died in 1934 of aplastic anemia brought on by her years of exposure to radiation.[
 Monument to the Freedom Fighters of the Polish underground in WWII.  This statue depicts one man going down into the sewer, another man wearing captured German equipment (helmet with a cloth tied around it to signify that he was Polish), and a mother with her child.  The Polish underground was very active during the war and was severely punished during the Warsaw uprising.
 At the platform in the Warsaw Train Station waiting to board our train for Krakow
 Mel and the little one coming down to the platform at the train station
 All aboard--settled into our cabin on the train
 Polish countryside viewed from the train between Warsaw and Krakow

 Watching the countryside roll by

 Cemetery by the railroad tracks