Monday, September 30, 2013


Well, we were 0 for 2 today!

Our plan for the morning was to check out a flea/antique market near our apartment.  We walked over that way, easily finding the market--lots of people!  It was not the most interesting market---mostly old clothes and household items, so we just made a quick walk through and left.

We walked a different route home, and found the "New" Jewish Cemetery, founded in 1800.  During the Nazi invasion of Krakow the cemetery was closed.  The headstones and slabs were used as construction material and to pave a road to the Plaszow concentration camp.  The bones were left uncovered and scattered.  The camp was restored soon after the war, many of the headstones were recovered from the camp site.

I continue to be saddened, shocked and horrified by the inhumanity of the German Nazi's towards the Jews and Poles.  It is an unfathomable disrespect of human life.

A walk through the cemetery:

A touching tribute to a family lost:

We made our way back to our apartment, and spent a couple of hours packing and organizing.  We have an early departure tomorrow--so we need to be ready to go!

The other activity we had planned for today was the Beer Festival, which was just a few blocks from our apartment.  We thought we'd have lunch there, and try a few new beers.  We walked over, and it didn't look too busy.........

We walked into the main building, and we were the only ones there!  It was about 1 pm, so we thought maybe we were a little early.  We decided to order a sampler of their 5 beers, and look at a lunch menu.  We weren't overly impressed with their beer, and nothing on the menu caught our eye.  We talked about coming back later to catch the music, but couldn't find a schedule of events.  We asked the young lady who served us what time the festival started, and she said ----tomorrow!  Hmmmmmmm--I was pretty sure the sign said 9/29/2013.  We walked out into the courtyard to look at the sign, and sure enough--it said 9/29.  Something lost in translation, I guess!   Like I said--our batting average is pretty dismal today!

We strolled around a few block area looking for a likely lunch spot, and chose a small restaurant on a side street.  It was quite charming and very busy with locals out for Sunday lunch!

We shared a small sandwich and an order of spinach and goat cheese pierogis--which were delicious.  We also tried these little goodies--prunes wrapped in bacon, with dill sauce.  Mmmmmmm, good!

After our yummy lunch, we walked toward the river and across a pedestrian bridge.

Interesting new building under construction.  Love how they are saving the old buildings!

We didn't see anything of much interest on the other side of the river, so we walked back towards our apartment, stopping along the way for a mug of mulled wine--it's pretty chilly today.

We stopped to visit the Remuh Cemetery ("Old" Jewish Cemetery), which is located right across the square from our apartment.  As we walked in the the small courtyard entrance, we noticed several memorial plaques on the walls.  This one caught my attention--88 members of one family lost in the Holocaust.

The Remuh Cemetery was established in 1535, and used until 1800, when the "New" Jewish Cemetery was opened. 

Information from Wikipedia:
During the German occupation of Poland, the Nazis destroyed the cemetery tearing down the walls and hauling away tombstones to be used as paving stones in the camps, or selling them for profit. The tombstone of the Remah (Rabbi Moses Isserles) is one of the few that remained intact. The cemetery has undergone a series of post-war restorations. As is common in contemporary Poland, all tombstones unearthed as paving stones have been returned and re-erected, although they represent a small fraction of the monuments that once stood in the cemetery

The Remuh Cemetery today:

The Remuh Cemetery is next to The Remuh Synagogue, founded around the same time as the cemetery.  It was rebuilt in the 1800's, and the interior was looted and all but destroyed by the Nazis.  It was restored to it's present form in 1957.

The very tiny Remuh Synagogue is the only active synagogue in Krakow today.  

After our time at the Remuh Synagogue and Cemetery, we relaxed a bit until dinner time.  As we are most definitely tired of Polish, Czech and German food, we decided we'd like to return to our favorite restaurant right in our neighborhood, Portofino.  We had a lovely meal, each choosing a different pasta dish, and they were both delicious.  Of course, we finished our evening with one last mulled wine!
We said goodbye to our favorite waitress, and enjoyed one last evening stroll through those pretty narrow streets back to our apartment.

Goodnight from Krakow, one of my favorite places ever!

Tomorrow:  We have an 8:00 am train to Warsaw, about a 3 hour trip from Krakow.

Sunday, September 29, 2013


We didn't have a lot planned for today, we just wandered around.  Our favorite kind of day.

We started with a quick trip back over to Plac Nowy, as there is supposed to be a flea market with a few antiques on Saturday mornings.  We didn't see much difference from week days, but we did poke through a few stalls, but found nothing of great interest.  Lots of communist era military medals, etc.

David had read about a church that sounded interesting, so we meandered in that direction.  We enjoyed being a bit off the tourist route.

We came to a lovely looking church--Gothic design.  We decided to pop in for a look, but the doors were locked.  Just as we were walking away, a priest unlocked the doors and invited us in.

 The Church of St Catherine

The Church Of St. Catherine is one of the best examples of Gothic architecture in Krakow.  It was founded in 1363, but was never fully completed as planned--the facade and two front tower were never built. The interior has been restored several times after floods, earthquakes and fires.  The lovely Gothic "bones"  remain unchanged, and the beautiful altar piece from the 1600's is being restored.   There are also original Gothic murals, and some interesting tombs.

One of the many Gothic murals in the cloister area.  This is the first crucifixion portrayal I remember seeing which includes other men being crucified. 

Interesting tombs--don't know who, though!

The only stained glass window in St Catherine's:

We were also able to visit the 15th century Gothic cellars, where there was a conveniently located gift shop, small cafe and a WC!  But really, it was very interesting.

On the corner of the street next to the church there is an old bell tower building containing a small shop selling religious articles associated with St. Rita.  According the the sign outside, St. Rita is the Patroness of Difficult and Impossible Cases.  Of course, David is convinced that she must be my very own personal Saint!  And yes, I now have a small St. Rita statue.

My personal patron Saint:

After leaving St. Catherine's, we walked along a narrow street bordered by a 12th century wall surrounding St. Michael's Church and Pauline Monastery.

Church of St Michael the Archangel and St Stanislaus:

 Statue dedicated to Pope John Paul II

The interior was actually very small, almost cramped feeling. It was given a very Baroque remodel in the 1700's

Yet another memorial and dedication to Pope John Paul II inside the church:

Below the church are the Crypts of the Meritorious, containing tombs of famous Polish writers, composers, artists and scientists. The crypts were added to the church in 1880.

We wandered some more, and saw an interesting shop window with carved wooden animals and angels.  I had to take a look, and left with a lovely carved angel holding a heart.  She's wonderful!

And look what else I saw--a reminder of my dear friend Donna's two lovely daughters, Janna and SaraBeth:

And then--these reminded me of Dear Bren.  They must have moose in Poland?

After all that wandering (miles!) we were hungry, and decided we'd head towards the Food Market Square for some more pork and sauerkraut.  Yesterday we were tired of it, but it sounded good today.

Some pretty buildings along the way:

This booth at the food market is always busy, and for good reason!

Smoked boneless ham hock with more of those yummy mushrooms:

David's grilled sausage and red cabbage--tasty:

The view from our lunch table:  wonderful!

After our lunch we cruised the vendors in the market.  There are a couple of ladies selling beautiful tatting.  They tat while they sit and chat--man, do their fingers fly!  Deb--you now have a Polish tatted snowflake, made by this lovely lady:

For our favorite neighbor boy, Nathan--you CANNOT hit your sister over the head with this!  It's to hang on your wall next to your scary mask from China!  Of course, we have a special surprise for Miss Hailey, too. We have two of the SWEETEST neighbor kids ever!

Each time we are at the food market, we look at this dessert--today we decided to give it a try.  They are filled with goat cheese, and topped with jam.  They were gross, and we spit it right out--ick.  At little too "goat-ish" for me!  But they looked soooo good...........

There's been different entertainment on the stage for each of our visits to the market.  These were just the cutest little girls singing and dancing:

After we finished our shopping in the market, we roamed around some streets south of the market.  We saw this lovely building, a theatre built in the late 1800's.

The Juliusz Slawacki Theater:

 We liked the copper dome:

The faces all around the dome were funny:

By now it was late afternoon, and we'd been walking all day!  We decided we'd head back to our apartment and relax for a couple of hours before dinner.  We took a new route through one of the pretty parks:

For dinner we chose to have Italian again, this time at the lovely Portofino Bistro, where they make that "bests ever" mulled wine.  It's just around the corner from our apartment, and the same nice waitress welcomed us, and asked if we were there for our nightly hot wine!  We enjoyed a lovely dinner of two pasta dishes--both were absolutely delicious, with my pasta with pesto being just a bit better.  The friendly and warm service here is outstanding, too.

David's gnocci with Gorgonzola sauce:

And yes, I enjoyed a hot mulled wine--just to warm me of for the walk home, of course!

Another wonderful day in Krakow,  I'm going to miss this place.

Tomorrow in Krakow:  Sadly, it's our last day in this lovely city.  We have plans for a morning antique and flea market, and then there's the beer festival!