Wednesday, September 25, 2013


We love train travel in Europe!  Last night we boarded our train to Krakow about 10:30 at the Prague main station.  We were shown to our "couchette"--a double berth tiny private room by the conductor, and he even helped me with my bag.  He said he would wake us up 1/2 hour before we arrived in Krakow, and asked if we would like coffee in the morning!  Of course, we said yes.  We quickly settled in, I claimed the lower bunk.

Our "bunk beds", all made up with fresh linens, they were pretty comfy:

There's a small closet to hang clothes and store our luggage.  Note the brown telephone on the wall--who am I gonna call, anyway?

We had a small sink, two towels, and the WC was just one door down.

Here I am, all tucked in, getting ready to read my Nook:

I read about 4 sentences, and then I was sleepy!  I've definitely, for sure caught a cold--yuck!  Soon we were both asleep, and we managed to get a few hours rest--with the help of earplugs.  We both woke up before the purser woke us, and we raised the shade to watch the countryside roll by.  At 6 am sharp, there was s knock on our door, and our coffee was delivered.  They also gave us croissants with butter and jam---pretty nice for "cattle class"!

We pulled in to Krakow right on time at 6:30 am.  We couldn't check into our apartment until 9 am so we found a nice restaurant near the train station, ordered breakfast and relaxed for a couple of hours.   After breakfast we found a taxi stand, and soon we were pulling up in front of our apartment building.

Our apartment is located in the Jewish Ghetto district of Krakow, set on a small square lined with restaurants and outdoor dining.  I'm not sure we'll be dining "al fresco much--it's a little chilly!

Our apartment building is the green one, right in the middle, we're on the 2nd floor facing an interior courtyard--should be nice and quiet.

A nifty fact:  This building was the childhood home of Helena Rubenstein, the founder of Rubenstein Cosmetics.  

We rang the bell for recption, as were greeted by a nice young man named Matt.  I think we can remember his name!

The beautiful entrance hall:

We're on the 3rd floor--no elevator!

Living room:

Kitchen and table:

Small but nicely furnished bedroom:

Big bathroom, with a rain shower!  There's also a washer for our use:

And we have a balcony, too!  Wish it was warmer so we could have our morning coffee there:

We did our usual "quick unpack, get organized and then hit the streets".  First we walked a few blocks over to stock up on a few grocery essentials for our stay.  It's pretty hard to shop when we can't speak or read the language!!  We had a difficult time deciding which butter to buy--we prefer salted.  We finally figured it out, after I hunted down the salt and found that it was "sol" in Polish.

After we walked back to our apartment and put our groceries away it was time for lunch.  We decided to walk towards Old Town Square, looking at menus along the way.  We got to the square, and there was a food/gift market--we were in luck!

This meat on the grill really smelled great, but we've had lots of meat and pork lately, so we moved on:

Look at these huge loaves of bread:

Mmmmmm-cheese!  I think we'll be trying some later in the week:

We chose an assortment of pierogis and a bowl of cooked red cabbage to share--we're kind of hooked on red cabbage!

And here's David having his first Polish beer--it was pretty good!

Along the way to Old Town Square--pretty streets here, too.  I think we're going to like Krakow!

St Mary's Basilica is right on the square, so of course we had to take a look.

St. Mary's Basilica, originally built 1222 A.D., rebuilt in the 1400's.

The interior was incredible--very colorful with lots of details:

The vault is painted a pretty blue with gold stars:

The altar is definitely the highlight!  It was hand carved of oak and linden wood by the Polish artist Veit Stoss in the years 1477-1489.

Large pipe organ:

Plaque dedicated to Pope John Paul, who was born and raised in Poland

Right across the square is the Church of St. Barbara, built in 1583 as a cemetery chapel.

Pretty Baroque Interior:

There's an odd sculpture right in the middle of the square--quite a contrast to the historic buildings lining the square.  This is "Eros Bound", by the Polish artist Igor Mitoraj, installed in 2004.

Church of the Holy Trinity, dating to 1241, renovated in 1850 after a fire:

Nice Gothic interior:

The carved wooden detail is pretty amazing:

We wandered around the square for a while longer, and I was feeling worse by the minute.  This darn cold has really kicked my behind!  Hopefully this will be my "worst" day, as David is feeling better today.  David suggested we head back to our apartment and rest for awhile, but I'm stubborn and  I really hate to "waste" a travel day.  But I finally gave in--and we walked back to our apartment, stopping along the way at a pharmacy to get some cold meds.  We rested for a couple of hours, and I even took a nap!

For dinner tonight, we decided to eat at one of the restaurants right in our square.  We walked exactly one door down, and had a nice dinner at a small place serving traditional Polish and Jewish cuisine.  There was a musical trio playing lovely traditional Polish and Jewish music, but it was pretty loud, so we chose to be seated in the lower level--and it was lovely!  We really enjoyed the cozy candlelit atmosphere.

We ordered a bottle of Israeli kosher wine--it was delicious-probably the best we've had on this trip.  For dinner we started with a bowl of beet root soup.  I was expecting a thick soup, but the broth was clear and had a wonderful beet flavor.  I'd love to try to make this at home.

I chose veal stuffed cabbage rolls with a mushroom sauce, and it was quite yummy!  David had a "Hunter's Stew", and it was good, but not great.  After we finished our meal, they brought us small shots of cherry vodka--and I drank mine for purely medicinal reasons, of course!  We both really like it.


We didn't have far to walk home--just one door down!  We're all settled in our cozy apartment, and I'm going to get a good nights sleep and wake up tomorrow felling wonderful!

Goodnight from Krakow!


  1. Hope a little rest and cherry vodka is all you needed to get over the nasty cold..

  2. Wow that train and the accommodations. Produce looks wonderful in Poland. I like cabbage and pierogies...cheery your talking...and the wine...yes. Your apartment looks lovely, so clean and even a rain shower in the bathroom. Churches beautiful...I think I like Poland! Keep those pics of you in the blog....I truly love seeing them!

  3. Looked like your traun compartment had all the comforts. Sorry to hear that you still have a cold. mine has definitely been a tenacious bug---2 weeks and still not all gone. Dang I never thought of getting some cherry vodka maybe that would have taken care of this pesky virus.