|A local character
Krakow's Old Town is ringed by green space with grassy areas and old trees sharing space with pedestrians. The crisp autumn air made it especially inviting to walk around the oldest part of the city. And the Old Town itself is centered around the impressive main market square was truly old whereas Warsaw's, having been decimated during World War II, was painstakingly rebuilt. Flower vendors, horse drawn carriages, and musicians shared the square with the hundreds of pigeons and the hoards of tourists that I have come to expect when visiting European cities. Restaurants and cafes filled the perimeter of the square with their outdoor tables, complete with heaters and blankets to ward off the fall chill, inviting people to stop and sit. And we did, on numerous occasions, enjoying traditional Polish foods and warming beverages as we people watched. People watching and absorbing the atmosphere is always my favorite part of any vacation and Krakow proved to be no exception. There was just so much to see here that it made it difficult to leave the heart of Old Town but when we did, we were further rewarded for our efforts.
|The main square at night
|And a bird's eye view
|The grounds of the Wawel Castle
And then there were all of the other things that makes Krakow so special. From the street musicians, traditional crafts, and of course the food, I loved it all. Our best discovery by far was a street festival filled with traditional foods and crafts. The pierogi, kapusta and kielbasa we ate washed down with Zywiec beer reminded me of my grandmother's cooking. Add in the polka music that caused feet to automatically start tapping and it felt as though we were in the midst of a Polish version of Oktober-fest. Although this was my first trip to Poland so many of the sounds and smells were flashbacks to my childhood. I felt like I was home.
|Local pottery- famous the world over