Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A stroll through Krakow's Old Town

We started out fresh and early in the morning just outside our hotel at the Plac Jana Matejki. Strangely, the horizontal street heading in on the left of the photo is named after Ignacy Jan Paderewski, a composer, pianist, diplomat and former Prime Minister of Poland. In front of the statue stands another grand piano, a symbol of the city of Krakow.

The first stop of the day was back to the train station at Krakow Glowny which is just a short 5 minutes walk. Here, I bought some overnight one-way tickets from Krakow to Budapest, the next stop on our journey. I was a little worried that they might not have enough space for the overnight train car but those proved to be unfounded. The overnight second class train cost about 340 zloty which worked out to a reasonable $110 USD. Not bad for an overnight train ride covering 400 miles in over 6 hours!

The most striking building on the first day was the Barbican, which stands at the north end of the Old Town. Its circular fortress construction is rather unique, formerly forming part of a complex network of fortifications that encircled the royal city of Krakow.

Here, one of their new city trams passes by in the foreground in front of one of their older streetcars.

As you continue southwards towards the main market square, you might encounter some of these golf carts which can provide you with tours around the city. These would likely come in useful if your party can fill up their entire cart (to get a better rate) and if you intend on going to the Jewish Quarter which is a little bit further away.

Took a couple of shots of Sukiennice Hall, one of Krakow's most recogizable buildings. Right in the center of the market square, the hall used to be a trading hall where travelling merchants would barter and sell their wares, which would include such things as silks, cloths and spices.

A number of Parisian style cafes are open off to the west side where you can enjoy a beautiful view of the market square. On the right is a neat looking garbage can (I think!)

In front of the iconic Town Hall tower is an interesting objet d'art. There are also a fair number of fascinating churches in the vicinity which you can see more of here.

Forgot exactly where I took this (I think it was inside one of the hotels we passed by), but this is an artists rendering of the ancient city of Cracovia as it would have looked in the Renaissance.

One of the more famous, internationally known residents of Krakow once resided on Kanonicza street. That's right, this was once the residence of Karol Wojtyla, later to become Pope John Paul II.

A picture of the streets of Krakow as we headed south towards Wawel Castle for a visit.

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