Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Day 10- Beautiful Poland

Adam at breakfast at the hotel in Krakow.
This is the longest post yet, but it just goes to show we went ALL day long, not even stopping for lunch most of the time. Did I mention we would come back to the hotel at night and just sit...and sit... not moving, so exhausted on our bed? Our legs were so tired and being so cold all day really takes it out of you. But it was a good tired. Our minds were filled with new sights and information and love for a different culture that we didn't know much of before. I want to spend my life traveling!

Our Polish guide and Adam
We looked around Poland all morning. Our guide showed us around the Jewish quarter. See all the gray fog? It was still beautiful, but the sun makes such a difference!
Karen & Steve and Dave & JoAnn Smith
The Smith's continued on with us through Poland. They were so sweet. They've been EVERYWHERE. Like every continent. It was fun to pick their brain. If I remember right they said Australia was one of their fav places...
Jewish memorial
I just loved that it was the middle of October and there were still beautiful flowers out everywhere!
This section of Krakow was where they filmed scenes from Schindler's List. 

the door obsession continued...

How cool is this? Put grass and bushes in planters to bring a little green to all the cement and stone on the street? Love it.

After the street tour we walked up to the Wawel Royal Castle on the hill. Can you see the gate onto the grounds ahead? Just like out of the storybooks.

This fire breathing dragon is huge in Poland. (I realize I just got the back of it.) It puts out fire every few minutes and all the kids know the story that goes something like this: Once there was a dragon who always ate all the sheep. The people didn't know what to do and were very scared of it. A smart villager decided to trick the dragon and put fake sheep filled with tar and feathers in the field. The dragon gobbled them up, but was so thirsty from the tar that he drank the entire river and exploded. (Our boys love this story now.)
This dragon is a water spout. Pretty cool.
Looking off into the foggy Vistula River.

The Wawel Royal Castle

Inside the courtyard.
JoAnn and Dave, Adam, Sini, Steve and Karen
It was crazy to see such OLD furniture and artwork in these castles. Pretty amazing to think that people so long ago sat in these same rooms and touched and looked at the same decorations...
The ceilings all had a different theme going on, the one above has golden art and the one below, well, it's just scary! FACES watching you? No thanks! The guide told us it was supposed to be funny and it was people the royal family knew.

Wouldn't this freak you out? I bet the little princes and princesses wouldn't go in this room...

There was a stove like this in some of the rooms and it was central heating! It had pipes connected to it going through the walls of the castles. Interesting and beautiful.
I LOVE THIS WINDOW. I could look at it all day. It would be so super cool on a front door or something no?
Guess what the wall covering was made of? LEATHER. Dyed, pressed and carved leather! It was very cool looking. I tried to get pictures so you could see the texture. Isn't it amazing? If these walls could talk...

coolest window meets coolest leather
This is the Swalberg family if we would have lived back then... Adam
Sini and Linc

And Elliott and Oliver. I think one is actually a girl, but they're both wearing dresses so...
View of Krakow from inside the castle.
hidden courtyard
This is the entrance to castle's cathedral, because every castle had their own. 

Steve and Karen were troopers with all the walking they did. Especially since they both had surgeries scheduled for right after we came home! (Steve- heart surgery and Karen- hip surgery!)

Resting our weary legs.

So I took a photo of this couple on their wedding day because it was funny. But really, look how stylish the Polish are! I love that dress! And I've never seen so many cool boots! Every girl had them and every store. I got my little gray booties there because I love boots. 
All the little restaurants are so tiny in Europe. They have all this outdoor seating to allow for more people... but what about the winter? And, we always wanted to eat outside at places, but it seems to be the smoking area since most restaurants don't allow smoking inside anymore. 
After we left our guide, we had some time until dinner, so she told us there was a place where we could "drink our chocolate." We thought she meant like hot chocolate, but no, it turned out to be the largest Polish chocolate factory restaurant. They had a whole menu of chocolate desserts and yes, drinks. They also had so many delicious chocolates to choose from. I can't remember all the flavors but there was one that was pear-chili pepper, can you see it below? So good.

Here are our chocolate drinks. They were cold with a bit of berry sorbet in the middle that melted onto the bottom. Adam's was raspberry, mine was strawberry. So rich we couldn't finish. But wow. I loved this shop. We bought a few chocolate bars for people back home at this shop.

This is inside Cloth Hall, where the hub of commerce has been for the last seven centuries. It is said to be one of the world's oldest shopping malls. Textile trade used to go on in here in the 1300's. Now it's mostly souvenirs. 

We spent a few minutes in this beautiful park just off Old Town Square. It was so beautiful and we were  trying to stay warm on this sunny bench. I always want to remember this park.

more dry tasty bagel pretzels

We hit Polskie Smaki again the 2nd night. We were so sad we were only there for 2 1/2 days. It was the best food of the trip!

Good night Poland. What a beautiful country.


Knudson Family said...

I especially love these pictures! I've never wanted to go to Poland, but I do now. Also, I've been inspired to grow some grass in some planters. My kids would love to have some grass in our backyard!

Mama Swalz said...

It is a beautiful country! One of my favorites...loved the food, the people, the prices of things, the scenery...! I loved that trip! Can I just copy your posts of this whole trip and just change a few names here and there?? Well done, Sini :)

Melissa said...

Wow... once again, amazing pictures!! That really must have been the trip of a life time. So jealous!!

Rachel said...

So amazing! Thanks for sharing all your pics with us!

Emily said...

Keep them coming!

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