An early start in the morning saw us waiting 1 1/2 hours at the Polish border (only 10 minutes on the way back, although this same side "still" had a big backup) - enough time to polish half the car and make some new acquaintences.
The conference was enlightening and Cracow (Krakow)
was as wonderful as we remembered from 1993. We saw familiar and new sites. Here's the Florian Gate, the only gate remaining from Cracow's original fortification. Inside there is a sales area for kitsch art.
Then there is the main market sqaure, Rynek Glowny. In the center is the Cloth Hall, where Nan spent several hours selecting the Pat Lewis Amber Collection (partially displayed below). What fun!
We visited the Kosciustzko Mound, a 34 meter high, man-made mound on top of a hill outside of Krakow. It was constructed as a monument to Kosciustzko who was not only active in working for the Polish common man, but also was an instrumental force in the American revolution. Fortifications have been built around the mound which affords a wonderful view of Cracow from its top.
Cracow offers a variety of eating opportunities, like having tex-mex at the El Paso
or pierogis at a traditional Polish restaurant such as the U Stasi - a challenge to locate, but well worth it. (It's through the door, down the alley and across the courtyard from Cyclop's Pizza.) Our meal of three pierogi dishes cost less than $2.00 and was out of this world!
The conference offered a city tour which incuded Kazimierz, the old Jewish section of Cracow, that was prominently featured in "Schindler's List". Pictured below is the "Old Synagogue" (Stara Synagogue).
We also toured the Wawel Castle and Cathedral
and the Collegium Maius that Copernicus attended (right above).
On our last day we visited Ojcow National Park. It has interesting terrain, hiking trails, caves and a couple of castles, including the Pieskowa Skala Castle.
Do you get the idea we like castles? (Fairy tales will come true...)
Telephones are expensive and difficult to get installed in many central European countries. Poland is no exception. Cell phones are becoming very common place; a solution to a long term problem. Several western industries have set up shop in the country, including Tesco and IKEA.
We stopped on the way home to see the Trabant museum in Zwichau, Germany, but it was not open. We'd also tried on the way, but weren't able to find it easily at the end of a very long day's drive. Perhaps we'll see it when we head to Prague later this month. We're now back in the Netherlands and have just had some success in finding a Dutch manual therapist (combination chiropractor and physical therapist) for Nan's back which seemed to object to the very hard bed in Cracow. She did like the bathtub though. :-)
By the way, for those of you who responded so favorably about the sand sculptures, did you see the one that just broke the world record. You can read about it at http://www.cnn.com/WORLD/europe/9906/30/netherlands.sand/index.html.
Until next time....
Nan Schaller's and Walt Bankes' Sabbatical Page
Nan C. Schaller / Walter J. Bankes Rochester Institute of Technology Computer Science Department / Electrical, Computer, and Telecommunications Engineering Technology 102 / 78 Lomb Memorial Dr. Rochester, NY 14623-5608 / 5604 telephone: +1.585.475.2139 / 6108 fax: +1.585.475.7100 / 2178 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org / e-mail: email@example.com 13 July, 1999