Sunday, August 31, 2014

poland highlights - part five

On our last full day in Krakow, while Ebert was at his conference, I decided to see the city on a bike. I booked a 4-hour bike tour with the Cool Tour Company. A bike tour is a great way to see the sights of a city and learn some of its history. Ebert and I went on a bike tour in Munich and now that I've done it twice in different cities I think it's an absolute must when traveling. Not only do you get to see more sights than just walking around, but you're also getting some exercise which means you can indulge in more of the local food and drink without feeling guilty. I don't know about you but when I'm on vacation the last thing I want to think about is how many calories I'm eating.

And when we stopped for a snack, halfway through the bike tour, I was not thinking about calories at all. The local fare we sampled was Zapiekanki, which is traditional Polish street food that is half a baguette oven-baked with a variety of different toppings. I got my zapiekanka with mushrooms and spinach topped with a sour cream type sauce. It was so delicious and after all that biking I had no problem eating the whole thing.

There was a wonderful outdoor market at the square in Kazimierz where they were selling the zapiekanki.

The fruits and vegetables were so colorful. I wanted to sample everything.

Then the tour guide showed us this little alley where the stairwell scene from Schindler's List was filmed.

We rode over to the Krakow Ghetto to see the Ghetto Heroes Square Memorial.

It's a moving memorial that consists of 70 empty bronze chairs representing the thousands of Jews who lost their lives during the Nazi occupation of Krakow.

Then we rode to Schindler's Factory. We didn't go inside, we only saw the outside of the factory. The Ghetto is located in a part of the city that is not easy to get to on foot so I'm really glad I was able to see this section of the city on the bike tour.

On the way back we saw more street art. There are so many other amazing things I saw on the tour but riding a bike and taking pictures don't go well together. That's probably the only downside of a bike tour.

And then we stopped for more history about something but I don't remember what because I was too busy taking a picture of that white building off in the distance. What's so interesting about that building you ask? Well…that's where Ebert's conference was located. We rode by that building twice on the bike tour and each time we did there were people outside on the patio. It turns out that Ebert was on a break at the exact same time that we were riding by…both times. Ebert took a picture within minutes from when I took this picture. How crazy is that? We're too far away to spot each other but we just can't believe that happened.

After the bike tour I met Ebert at his conference and saw this amazing view of Wawel Castle.

But the best part of that last day was having Matt and Natalia come into the city to have dinner with us. We met them at that main market square, then walked to the Old Jewish district and had one last fabulous evening together. It was so great spending time with them again. Also, I loved showing Mike the city. He got a quick tour of everything I had already seen like St. Mary's Basicila during the day…

And St. Mary's Basicila at night.

We put off saying goodbye to these dear friends as long as possible and decided to walk them to the train station. As we chatted and walked through the park we came across a band playing swing music and people dancing under the gazebo. Matt took Natalia in his arms and it was a lovely moment to see these two smiling and dancing.

Then we said goodbye to our friends, not knowing when we'll see them next. It was such a bittersweet ending to a fabulous trip. Ebert and I took our time walking back, we wanted to take in all the beauty and wonder of Krakow at night.

Friends…if you ever have the chance to visit Krakow then you must go. It's such a friendly, affordable, and beautiful city with some much history and amazing sites to see. And lets not forget about the great food and drink. I cannot wait to go back.

No comments: