Get update alerts
- .All Trips
- North America
- Central Canada
- Central USA
- Eastern Canada
- Northeastern USA
- Pacific Northwest
- Southeastern USA
- Southwestern USA
- Western Canada
- South America
- Travel Talk
- Car Culture
- Central America/Caribbean
- Food Tour
- Pic of the Week
- .All Trips
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.
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 …
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 …
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 …
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 …
Parked near Wawel Hill in Krakow is a rather fancy old truck, all done up as a beer delivery truck — down to large wooden kegs sitting in its bed. PIWO is Polish for “beer”. I thought this was extremely effective advertising.
The flat bed truck is a Barkas V901/2, an East Germany brand which was made in the 1950s. There were many other chassis put on this frame, but this style was the most useful and popular. These trucks were used in the Eastern European communist block until after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance slideshow)
I’m a sucker for weddings. I understand that many couples don’t stay married, but there’s something appealing about the excitement, optimism and pageantry of the wedding day that appeals to me. I fondly remember my own wedding day some 33 years ago (still happily married), and more recently those of my two sons. I’m old-fashioned enough to consider marriage the cornerstone of civilization.
While traveling, I like to take the opportunity to snap photos of wedding couples when possible and I’m not being intrusive. There were a lot of weekend weddings in fall in Krakow, some of which I had a chance to photograph.
As always, my very best wishes to each of these couples.
(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to …
During my travels I’ve started to focus on certain features of the destinations I’m visiting, especially signs and more recently doors. I find them to be quite interesting and often reflective of the folks that built and use them.
The doors we encountered in Poland were as about as expected. Strong, sturdy, solidly-built and often utilitarian, but with some having a unique and interesting artistic flare.
Here are some of the doors we saw in Krakow:
(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, then right arrow to advance the slideshow)
I loved the days we spent in Krakow! The city was everything I expected — and more. Krakow and its people that have survived a lot of hardship over the years, most recently including Nazi and Soviet occupation. The country and its people are now free and thriving. And remarkably, Krakow has endured the ravages of war and occupation with its beautiful medieval core intact.
There’s a lot to see and do in the town, from historic Wawel Castle (and its Cathedral), inviting Market Square, to beautiful churches and museums in the old town. It’s a city of advanced learning with a strong tradition of faith, from which Pope John Paul II advanced as leader of his church. The former Jewish …