Rynek Glowny on a partly sunny day
We visited Krakow during a cool spell. The calendar said summer, but the temperatures felt like early winter. Fortunately, we were prepared and brought our entire winter wardrobe: rain jackets and sweaters (1 each)--it wasn't quite enough. We still explored. The architecture of the old city is splendid.
From 1964 to 1978, Archbishop Karol Wojtyła who later became Pope John Paul II, lived on this street in the yellow building on the left visible in the above photo.
Rain or shine, day or night horse carriages line up along one side of Rynek Glowny (Market Square). The horses are beautiful, healthy, and lovely to watch.
One evening, we chose an elegant, understated carriage with a matched team for a ride around the old city. It is a peaceful way to move through the city streets with the hypnotic klippity-klop of hooves on cobblestone. The two horses are brothers, 11 and 9 years old. In addition to the driver, there is a driver's assistant whose job it is to catch the horse shit before it hits the road. The most import tool of this trade is a long-handled scoop. The scoop part of the tool is a wire loop fitted with a heavy-duty garbage bag. Our driver's assistant was very skilled, and whenever he sensed the slight raise of a tail, he quickly positioned the long-handled scoop under the appropriate orifice. Once the horse finished, the driver's assistant pulled the scoop back to the carriage to remove the now hot, smelly bag and ready the tool for the next elimination. There were four such episodes on our 45-minute ride and while the assistant never missed, carriage passengers do sit downwind.
What happens if the assistant isn't a skilled scooper? We were witnesses to the results of just such an ill-positioned scoop. The carriage stopped, and the assistant, dustpan and short broom in hand, squatted down and swept the street clean.
Me, still 58, with my Prince Charming
View of the Wawel Castle and the Wisla River
Inside the Wawel Castle, we visited some of the State Rooms, the Treasury, and viewed the "Woman with an Ermine" by Leonardo DaVinci.
The 15th-century Altar in St. Mary's Basilica (Mariacki Church)
On June 29, we visited Auschwitz-Birkenau.