Wednesday we woke to brisk blue skies which afforded us a glorious (but crisp) day in Kraków. As it turned out, our tour of Auschwitz-Birkenau was Thursday (I had it wrong), and that gave us another full day to explore the city.
Clara and West left early to find their breakfast amongst the fabled Milk Bars of Kraków, as we headed out for more cobbled wanderings of the old town back streets. We popped into various shops (Pepita purses, Pączki, Polish pottery, another coffee, maybe a beer) as we meandered our way towards Wawel Hill (where in the caves thereunder the mighty dragon Smok Wawelski once lived) and then atop to Wawel Castle where we met up with Clara and West for a self-guided tour of the state rooms, and a guided tour of the royal private apartments. Unfortunately the caverns below the castle wouldn’t be opened until later in April.
The castle didn’t allow photos, so I have none to share. But the tapestries were epic (especially the Noah’s Ark series which proves that unicorns and dragons made it on the Ark), the coffered ceilings amazing (in particular the “head room” ceiling where carved wooden heads stare down upon you watching your every move (presumably to keep you from taking pictures of them). One thing of particular note was the leather wallpaper, all hand tooled. It was a castle full of treasures and artifacts from the 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th century, so it wasn’t hard to be impressed.
After storming the castle we made like peasants and went to a nearby inn to fill ourselves on pints of ale and
As the low sun turned sherbet in the west we made our way back to the old town market square with a quick stop at the Church of St. Peter and Paul.
Once back in the old square we enjoyed the sunset on St. Mary’s and the Town Hall and some additional shopping before heading out again.
We had a quick drink and appetizer at Czeczotka Bar before trying to get into Harris Piano Jazz Bar. We had put in an online reservation, but apparently not early enough. All the tables were taken when we arrived. Our plan B was to see if there was live music at Piwnica Pod Baranami, but they didn’t have any music that night and suggested we come back tomorrow to see Mea Culpa and Jazz Roosters. We made a plan of it.
We wandered the back streets of Kraków looking for some Polish food. We settled on an interesting place called Zalimianki by Polish celebrity chef Ewa Wachowicz where we had our first bottle of Polish wine and enjoyed an innovative menu of updated regional dishes.