I suppose it is a bit surprising to find us in a city where we are not part of a stag-do or a jolly boy’s outing; because most other people here are. Our first glimpse of the Medieval Square is punctuated with various Northern lads giving it the old ‘heave-ho’, perhaps they had a glimpse of the quality art work shown above. Maybe we are getting over stimulated with UNESCO town squares but for us Krakow did not raise the pulse. Yep it’s big and has some good architecture but every building is either a tat-shop or bar. To us, this is another Florence; it has sold its soul to the tourist dollar. It is not to say that we did not enjoy ourselves having a beer in the square on a beautiful sunny afternoon.
But before all that we headed down to look at the Castle before the crowds got there. Wrong the crowds were there and in their thousands. But, as we have no interest in going into another ancient building we just had a quick wander around.
Castle and Crowds
Next stop for us was the Kazimierz District to the south of Wawel Hill. This at one time was the Jewish Ghetto and is now, according to the guide book a lively bar and dining scene, how thoughtful. Except for it doesn’t really, it has some bars that might have been OK ten years ago and a couple of ‘themed kosher restaurants’.
This town is hell bent on giving tourists what they think they want.
Oh, Let’s be Banksy
The Jewish Quarter, in one wall
Unimpressed we went back for a final go around the Old Town. This being a bank holiday the square was now full of people and merriment coupled with entertainment of varying degrees of quality on show. The quality in question went from faded Polish pop-stars, who should know better, to new-age Nazi boy bands ranting on about something.
Still Rocking for Poland
Such Short Memories
The Clocky Church Thing
On the way back to the station we went past the last few bits of Krakow we had not seen, including the Florian Gate where you can buy dreadful, produced in a sweat-shop in China art work.
We seemed to fail to get the point about Krakow, it is no Prague or Budapest, it is overpriced and crowded and similar to Brussels; it rapes the hand that feeds it, E.G., they try and charge you for using the toilets in the bars where they serve you the beer. And to put the final nail in the Krakow coffin we had to put up with a street vendor blowing into one of those annoying bird-call whistles. So unless you are part of a stag then don’t bother.
Back of the Town Square
Schindler’s List Moment
The normal thing to do after visiting Krakow is to speed-off for a day at the Auschwitz Death Camp. Well we didn’t. We are not quite sure what the attraction is. To us, unless you are members of the Jewish Faith, which we are not, it seems like some kind of voyeurism into other people’s misery. Yes, we know all about the atrocities here and pray they never happen again to any race or creed, but we were terribly moved by the cemetery at Montecasino and we did not want to be unnecessarily upset again.
Love to All