The great journey begins with a brief flight East
06.06.2011 - 06.06.2011 20 °C
Liverpool - Krakow, Poland
After an early start, from Liverpool airport, we found ourselves arriving in the slightly warmer Polish medieval gem of Krakow. The medieval legend of Krakow is somewhat masked by the communist style railway station and modern temple of retail indulgence that one passes through to reach the old city. However, pass through we did to enter a labyrinth of streets and alleys little changed since 1543 when Nicolaus Copernicus revolutionized the field of astronomy by asserting that the earth travelled around the sun, here in Krakow, and the enlightened King Zygmunt reigned over a Polish empire that stretched from the Baltic to the Black Sea.
With the fading light of a warm, overcast summer afternoon to guide us we wondered past the main tourist draw – Wawel Castle – through the old town to Rynek Glówny (Main Market Sq), Europe’s largest medieval town square. Located in the centre of the square is the 16th-century renaissance Cloth Hall – a market for the last 400 years, although today very much of the tourist, souvenir variety.
The Old Town is a splendid place to wonder, map-less. Around each corner lies a 14th-century church or 15th-century town hall tower. To the north of the city we found another tourist hotspot, a gathering place for artists and souvenir hawkers, the 14th-century Florian Gate. Walking through the Gate and out of what remains of the old city walls the defensive bastion of the Barbican, built in 1498, still remains.
After canapés at the Sheraton our evening was spent, once again, wondering the old town enjoying the sidewalk cafés and the extensive promenading through Rynek Glówny of both tourist and local alike. The gentle lifestyle of the Old Town would be interrupted tomorrow as we plan to visit one of the most haunting places in modern history.