Friday, January 6, 2017

Still More of Eastern Europe: Visiting Krakow

Two years is a long time. But, as we know, there is no going back. I am looking forward to finally restarting this blog. A new title, a new look, and a new commitment to writing at least once a week.

I never did get to finish sharing the amazing things I saw during my 2013 visit to Eastern Europe.  So let's start with a short visit to Krakow and its surroundings.  We arrived in the late afternoon and our hotel was right on the main square.  Although the old walled city does not really exist anymore there is still a thrill driving up the City Gate which is still attached to remaining parts of the old wall.  By the time we settled into our hotel it was evening and time to walk around the beautiful and busy square. The square is busy and bustling day and night with side streets to wander and explore. We were lucky there was even a 'Food Fest' in the Square when we arrived. We wandered around the square, eating and admiring all the while, till exhaustion from our busy day sent us back to the hotel. Time to get rested for the next busy day.

 Morning, breakfast and a short wander, back through the gates, to our bus. Today was the day we would visit the Old Jewish Section.
In Yiddish this was called the Alta Shul
Several of the old synagogues are still there as well as restaurants and it seems to be a thriving tourist area. It is the cemetery that really makes one remember all that happened in Poland during WWII. Our guide told us about the two synagogue buildings that still stand and then we had time to walk through the town to see today's version of this area. 
Other areas were ready for the tourists visiting the area.


We spent the most amount of time in the old cemetery. It is an amazing place to visit. To learn more about it you may want to visit Old Jewish Cemetery: Remuh in Krakow  In one image you will see many small stones that have been placed on the larger headstones. It is a tradition to leave a stone when one visits. At they tell us that the stone is way of showing that someone has visited the grave. There are many other reasons that have developed over the years. Some of them are included at the site listed above.  It is the modern Wailing Wall that is also meaningful in this place. Many of the gravestones were broken and damaged during the Holocaust and WWII years. When this cemetery was restored many of the these broken pieces were collected and used to build the wall that now protects these graves.


 Tomorrow is another big day. A trip to the Wieliczka Salt Mine.  

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