Wot? Or even, "What?", either would be the right exclamation, believe me! We went to Krakow, primarily in order to view the terrible place of unimaginable horrors which is the former Auschwitz concentration camp.

But we didn't get there! 

Honestly, Freda had researched the whole programme for the week, down to the last detail (well, perhaps not quite!) and we had planned to use the public transport system to get to the camp. In the event, it turned out that the twenty minute 'bus service changed to an hourly one at lunchtime. But we didn't find this out until twenty minutes before the last ten minute service left from behind the railway station, which we couldn't possibly get to in time!!!! A bit of a blow, was that. I priced a taxi, but that was prohibitive. There was nothing for it but to admit that we just wouldn't get, on this visit anyway. So, we determined to enjoy something else whilst we had the opportunity.

When we did the golf cart tour we went around the old Jewish Quarter. (Some streets were inaccessible due to a festival.) Before the Nazis turned up there were something like 80,000 Jewish people in Krakow, when they left, only about 1000 were still there. The ghetto pictures were heartbreaking, where 3000 people had lived, the Nazis crammed in 17,000 Jews; they had two square metres each, and 250 calories a day to survive on!

Obviously, these poor unfortunates are well represented in among the various types of souvenirs. There were genuine Star of David patches from the ghetto, and ornate Hebrew prayer wheels. Then there were modern representations of ghetto Jews:

These two little groups are typical, there were a great many similar.

I couldn't help but notice that the accordion players invariably had what is currently known as a "Melodeon face", Being a player, and interested, I see the same expression on YouTube over and over again! Here's a closer shot:

Please don't complain (or even think) that I'm making light of the suffering of these musicians, I'm certainly not! This is just an illustration of a phenomenon which is recognised in the weird world of melodeons.

Back to the present day in Krakow; We did a lot of walking (ooooh, the knees!) and the "Planty" was lovely. The Planty being the area which was originally the walls of the old city, now long gone and replaced with a green belt right around the inner city (2 and a half miles) of trees and bushes of many varieties, lots of grass with well kept tarmac footpaths and lots of seating. On one venture through the Planty, I caught a glimpse of what I took to be a legless bloke, until I got around the corner and past the people in front:

It really was a lovely place to wander, very few dogs, thankfully, and no mess or litter. In fact, when we went to the Wawel Castle, I was so shocked to see an empty beer bottle that I felt compelled to pick it up and find a bin! ("A bit different to Luxor, then." I can hear you saying, Dear Reader! And it certainly was.)

Mentioning the Castle, we had a nice wander around there too. It's only about 10 to 15 minutes from the Square, through the Planty. Not to waste time or megabites, here's a couple of pictures which give a good idea of the layout:

There's no fooling you is there, yes it's a model! It's made of metal, so it's a bit hot to touch, which is a slight problem as all the information which is on the model, in Polish and English, is also in Braille!

I could go on all day about Krakow and its characters, but I've got to stop somewhere, obviously. How about this bloke?

He's real, honestly!

Or this one?

I think that's enough of Krakow now, unless, Dear Reader, you really want some more pictures?

We've been home a while now, with not very much to report. But I caught this man the other morning at 06.45 training for the "Great North Run". Is he crackers, or "wot"?

Yes, that's a real fridge!


1 comment:

  1. I never knew you had to take a fridge with you on the great North Run

    I went to Krakow many years ago and went to Auschwitz, its was a really strange place, just so quiet, even the birds never sang there, it was kind of spooky, it was an eerie sort of quiet

    But Poland is still a place worth a visit