Ever since moving to Prague just over seven years ago, Sybille and I have adopted the view that we should take full advantage of being based in Central Europe, to explore both the Czech Republic beyond Prague, together with neighbouring countries. So earlier this year, we decided that we would spend two weeks of my 2015 annual leave, visiting the Czech Republic’s immediate northern neighbour, Poland.
Whilst Sybille had made a previous brief visit to Poland in the early 1990s, my only experience of the country was through briefly walking over the border from Ceský Tešín with Sybille, in 2010, and when climbing Snežka in 2011. We also briefly drove into Poland when staying in the Orlické hory in 2013.
Our Polish odyssey began last Wednesday 7th October, when we set out to drive from Prague to Kraków. Ironically, although Kraków lies north-east of Prague, the quickest way to get there was to drive south-east on the D1 motorway to the outskirts of Brno before then heading north-east, passing around Ostrava and over the border into Poland.
For the first time in our travels, we used airbnb to find appropriate accommodation. Using their website, Sybille found us a studio apartment within walking distance of the historic centre of Kraków which also had secure parking for the ‘Carly’. We spent two nights staying in the apartment and the intervening day exploring the city.
First we visited Rynek Glówny, the main market square, where the title photograph and the following three photographs were taken.
Whilst in the square, we witnessed the filming of part of a TV series featuring my namesake, Ricky Gervais, with a drone being used to take pictures, and several ‘heavies’ to keep the crowds at bay!
We also visited Churches belonging to two different Roman Catholic Orders – the Dominicans and the Franciscans. This is the Dominican Church, dedicated to the Holy Trinity. Below is a photograph of part of the reredos within the Church, seeking to illustrate the Trinity, with God the Father portrayed as an old man with a long beard 🙂
Then it was on to the Wawel, the site of Kraków’s Cathedral and Royal Castle.
Directly opposite the Cathedral was this statue of the late Pope John Paul II. He was Archbishop of Kraków before becoming Pope.
We spent the last part of our day in Kraków, exploring the Kamimierz district, the former Jewish quarter. This area is far less ‘spruced up’ than the other central parts of the city and remains a poignant reminder that around 65,000 Jews from the city of Kraków and the surrounding districts, were murdered by the Nazis during the Second World War.