Krakow Central Plaza.
I moved about looking at the price lists of the different establishments. My main priority was a place to wash up and sleep. Eventually, I decided on a decent hotel which, at that time, was priced at about USD 40/night for a room without bath and shower. It was not problem for me to use a common bath.
2003 was the avian flu scare here in Asia. Unfortunate for me, the Philippines was listed as “an infected place” in Poland (even if we didn’t have any case of avian flu when I made that trip). Every traveller coming from the Philippines, was on the Polish authorities’ watchlist.
Because of this, I had to check-in this hotel (and the same was true in Warsaw) with a strict reminder from the front desk that I should check my temperature every morning when I wake up, and report my temperature reading at the front desk just to make sure I didn’t have any fever. The good part of this was that I was given a thermometer at both establishments. They were very trusting. I would just report at the front desk and tell them my temperature without them confirming it.
The Wawel Cathedral: the national temple of Poland.
Anyway, I only stayed in my hotel for a night after my visit to Auschwitz and Birkenau. I checked out early the following morning, around 8:30, and spent the whole day walking around Krakόw. It’s such a beautiful place. I visited the Wawel (‘vah-vel’) castle and cathedral, St. Mary’s Cathedral, and the Market Square. All those places I traversed rather quickly in order to maximize my time. I needed to return to Warsaw in the evening because my return flight to the Philippines was scheduled the following day, 25th May.
Scenic view of Krakow from Wawel Castle.
Krawkόw, and Poland for that matter, is part of Eastern Europe. Its language, tradition, landscape, art and architecture differ in many ways from those of Western Europe, and yet, it’s Catholicism is Roman, something which is of that of the west. (The late Cardinal Karol Józef Wojtyła (voytiwa), Pope John Paul II, was Archbishop of Krakόw from 1964-1978.
I was exhausted as I entered Krakόw’s central station at 18:00 that day. My train bound for Warsaw was scheduled at 18:30. I was saddened because I had to leave Krakόw. In just a few hours of staying there, a particular fondness for it has developed within me.
But I shall return. One day, I shall return.
Click these links for more information on --
Wawel Castle and Cathedral
Rynek Glowny (Main Market Square)
St. Mary's Church
The Wawel Castle Statehouse. Symbol of Poland's national Identity.
St. Mary's Church.
Every hour, from the high tower, a tune called 'heynal'
is played to each of the four directions of the world.
Souvenir shops at the Central Market.
The Central Market Square (Rynek Glowny) is the largest medieval town square
in Poland and perhaps, in all of Europe.
. . . . .
This entry was written by CBB. He took this trip in May 2003.
CBB is guest-posting in my blog upon my invitation to share his travels.
More stories from him in the coming weeks!
Auschwitz and Birkenau