It had been here on business with the Polish Railways a long time ago in October 1965 and had made friends with engineer Marian Rojinsky whose trace I lost after a few years. Wouldn't it be great if he happened to see this and e-mailed me!
I enjoyed visiting the city, which had much improved in the last 32 years, but I did not seek new acquaintances for I was totally absorbed writing my impressions of China and the ex-USSR.
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The huge stalinist style Palace of Culture will be an unavoidable memento of the communist regime for a long time. I wonder how long?
Nowy Swiat (street) leading north to Krakowskie Przediescie (road) and Stare Miasto (square) is a very elegant and sophisticated avenue with many shops to window-shop at.
Zamkovy Square leading to the Old Town Square. The Royal Palace is on the right (you can see one of its corner towers) but the ordinary houses on the left make a better picture for they are more colourful.
Old Town Square (Rynek Starego Miasta). These building appear ancient but in fact they are faithful but recent re-constructions of the original 17th and 18th century buildings that were completely razed during world war II.
Anyone who does not know about the willful destruction of Warsaw by both the Nazis and the Soviets would swear that this Old Town Square has not changed for centuries!
Piwna street near the old market square is also recent but it has recovered an ancient charm...
Happy to have seen the historical heart of Warsaw again, I took the train to Krakow which I had not seen yet.
To the unexperienced eye, there is little to distinguish his typical Polish peasant farm from those I had seen in Lithuania or in Belarus.
Krakow was the capital of Poland from 1038 when it was moved here from Poznan because of german pressure to 1596 when Warsaw became the capital after the Swedish Sigismund III was elected king.
Old Krakow is centered on the large Rynek Glowny (market square) in the center of which stands the 16th century Sukiennice (cloth hall) seen here.
Below, the Old Town Hall Tower on the left and the Church of Our Lady on the right, both also on Rynek Glowny.
Here is the 17th century baroque St Peter & Paul Church on Grodska street on the way to Wawel Fortress and Palace.
Below on the left, the 11th century romanesque St Andrew Church down the street from the Peter & Paul Church and on the right, the belfry of the 14th century Wawel Cathedral behind the fortress walls.
Sixteenth century Wawel Castle saw the zenith of Polish-Lithuanian power which extended from the Baltic to the Black seas.
Walls of the Wawel Fortress as seen from the Vistula riverside.
The Wawel Cathedral built in 1364 inside the walls of the Wawel fortress has been the coronation and burial place of Polish royalty for 4 centuries, 100 kings and queens lie here.
The courtyard of Wawel Castle. Places are not impressive by themselves but the exercise of almost limitless power by one individual is indeed awesome.
Hotel Dom Turisty where I stayed for only 7 US$ per day.
Florianska street in old Krakow looking towards the gate of the same name built in 1307, the only one left of the original seven city gates.
Peruvian street musicians playing andean music in the park next to the Slowackiego theatre. I have seen these modern age nomads in so many places now that I am no longer surprised...
I enjoyed Krakow, it is full of charm, the people are friendly and it had a good cybercafe where I spent hours writing about this trip and e-mailing friends. Finally it was time to move on and I took the night train for Bratislava.