.All Trips / Europe / Food / Poland

Little Market Square, Krakow

Little Market Square Krakow (1)

Historically Krakow’s large and impressive Main Market Square — the largest medieval square in Europe — was where local residents conducted their shopping, but today that space belongs to the tourists.
Locals have moved their activities elsewhere, including to Little Market Square (in Polish, Maly Rynek).  This square lies a block behind St. Mary’s Basilica, so it is easy to access when you’re in the heart of old Krakow.  The square itself is lined by colorful buildings dating from the late 17th century and in the past was where the meat market was located. 

Amber jewelery, Little Market Square, Krakow

Amber jewelry, Little Market Square, Krakow


A lively market is held in Little Market Square on weekends, which fills the square with a variety of vendors, as well as a stage for …

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.All Trips / Europe / Italy

Da Vinci’s Magnificent Last Supper, Milan

00 Last Supper

One of the main reasons we picked Milan as a travel destination was our desire to see Leonardo da Vinci’s greatest work, the “Last Supper”.
It’s not easy getting the opportunity to see this masterpiece in person.  There are a limited number of timed tickets issued for viewing of the Last Supper, so it is vital that you try to reserve your tickets just after they are issued because they sell out  quickly — often within a day or so of being released.  I got up in the middle of the night to buy ours — successfully, thank goodness.  If you can’t arrange the purchase of your tickets in advance, it is likely you can take a city tour in Milan …

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.All Trips / Europe / Poland

St. Mary’s Basilica, Krakow

00 St. Mary’s Basilica, Krakow

There are a lot of old and interesting sites in Krakow, which was spared bomb damage in the World Wars, but St. Mary’s Basilica is a special place.  Second only to the Wawel Cathedral — which is considered Poland’s National Cathedral — St Mary’s is one of the city’s most important churches.  It’s situated on the city’s large central Market Square which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The exterior of the building is impressive, both by day and at night.
A church has been on this site of St. Mary’s for over 800 years, but the current building was constructed in Gothic style on the burned ruins of the prior Romanesque church, that church having been destroyed in 1241.  This …

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.All Trips / Europe / Food / Food Tour / Poland

A Wonderful Food Tour in Krakow!

05-07 Krakow food tour

I encourage participating in food tours as an excellent way to learn about the traditions and cultures of a destination, meeting new people, and having a delicious experience.  I don’t just preach this, I often sign up for food tours as well.
One of the best food tours I’ve been on was in Krakow, Poland.  The tour was thoughtful in its choice of restaurants and food vendors, the assortment of food we ate, and in making us walk through so much of this amazing historic city as part of the experience. 
The food tour was run by Eat Polska Food and Vodka tours, which also operates similar tours in Warsaw and Gdansk. They have tours that focus on vodka tasting (the …

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.All Trips / Europe / Luxembourg

Luxembourg City’s Notre-Dame Cathedral

00 Notre-Dame Cathedral, Luxembourg

It was a cold rainy spring day when we visited Luxembourg City, admiring it’s tremendous ramparts and fortified walls and enjoying its historic charm. During our wandering, we came across a rather large church and as we were wet and cold, thought it might be a good opportunity to go inside, look around some, and dry out a bit.
There is a lovely statue of Virgin and Child positioned between the doors which you’ll see as you enter the cathedral, a statue which had a “newish” feel to it, although I’m not certain when it was crafted.

Lion Fountain outside the Notre-Dame Cathedral, Luxembourg

Lion Fountain outside the Notre-Dame Cathedral, Luxembourg


This was the Notre-Dame Cathedral (also called the Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin), which was built between 1613 – 1621 by the Jesuits as the …

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.All Trips / Car Culture / Europe / Poland

Great Cars Along the Highway: Nysa Passenger Vans, Krakow

06 Krakow Van

When we visited Poland I noticed a style of passenger van being used in the tourist trade with which I was not familiar.
A little research revealed that it’s a Polish made van, the ‘Nysa 522’, a symbol of the Communist era.  It was manufactured in Nysa, Poland from 1958 – 1994.  Nysa built it to be a multifunctional van and it was used for carrying cargo and passengers, less commonly as ambulances.  Nysa vans were also commonly used by the Communist Militia.
The company did little to improve the van over the years, powering them with relatively gutless 2.2 or 2.5 l engines.  When the Soviet Union collapsed and Democracy re-emerged in Poland, sales of better quality and more popular imported vehicles …

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.All Trips / Europe / Slovenia

Church of St. John the Baptist, Lake Bohinj, Slovenia

00 Church of St. John the Baptist (18)

One of the most photographed sites in Lake Bohinj is this church.  It’s about 700 years old (although it was constructed over several hundred years) and sits at the lake’s outflow, adjoining an attractive stone bridge.  The church is an important cultural landmark, but I think the main appeal is its beautiful “picture perfect” natural setting. 
The Church of St John the Baptist in this region has a history dating back to the early years of Christianity, but this building was constructed in the Middle Ages.  The nave is of Romanesque architecture.  The walls and ceilings are covered with 15th- and 16th-century frescoes, some of the oldest in Slovenia.

Entry to Church of St. John the Baptist

Entry to Church of St. John the Baptist


As you enter the church you’ll see some interesting murals, as well as the …

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“Pic of the Week”, June 5, 2020: New Synagogue, Berlin

02 New Synagogue, Berlin

Berlin’s Neue Synagoge (New Synagogue) was built between 1859 and 1866. It was the largest synagogue in Europe, with a capacity of 3,200 worshippers. It’s a beautiful building that was very unique for its time.  It has a Moorish appearance, its architect having been inspired by the Alhambra in Granada, and has spectacular gilded domes that can be seen for some distance.
The New Synagogue has an important history.  Jews in pre-WWII Germany were mostly well-integrated into Germany society.  That ended abruptly with the rise of Nazis.  The New Synagogue was damaged on Kristallnacht (November 9, 1938), when Nazis burned synagogues and destroyed the homes and businesses of Jews across Germany.  The New Synagogue was damaged by fire on Kristallnacht but …

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