Hello Fellow Travelers:
Welcome to our world of business information, adventure, birding, botanical gardens, good eating and fine wines. This newsletter provides you with The Welge Report for Krakow, Poland.
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Recognition: We extend special thanks to the people who manage and/or own the institutions, museums and restaurants featured in our guides. In some instances we have relied on their descriptions and photos.
Birding Opps: Info for our birding friends. In and near Krakow, Poland you can see these species: Collared Flycatcher, Short-toed Treecreeper, Icterine Warbler, Hawfinch, Golden Oriole, Wood Warbler and Tree Sparrow.
The Fat Birder offers these Anytime Tours at (anytimetours.net/index.php/destinations/europe/poland/birding-in-krakow-and-carpathians).
Here’s where you can catch up with your Birding Pals (birdingpal.org/Poland.htm).
Beverages – Black tea and coffee are very popular. Tap water is safe but not very tasty. Vodka comes in many different varieties. Local beer is good. Wines are imported from all over the world with the majority coming from Italy and Spain.
Transportation: This is your site for public transportation (krakow-info.com/transpor.htm)
Shopping: The Cloth Hall and the Kazimierz District are the best bets, but Poland is not known for shopping.
Business Information: Here is help in regard to your business: (krakow-info.com/business.htm)
Exchange Rates (http://www.x-rates.com/)
Day One: Your first stop is at Wawel Castle – T-Sa: 9:30-4, Su: 10-4, Wawel Hill, 48 12 422 5155
Wawel was first inhabited in the 7th century, and became a royal enclave in the 11th century. Its history includes several periods of expansion and the usual political turmoil.
While visiting the castle you can see several rooms that contain: woodcarvings, friezes, Belgian tapestries, paintings, Italian furniture and royal portraits.
The Wawel Cathedral is also found on the hill noted for its alter painting “Crucified Christ” and the silver coffin for St. Stanislaus.
At Kogel Mogel – L & D: Daily, Sienna 12, 31-002, 48 12 426 49 68 we begin our Polish dining experience.
The goose liver pate with pistachios, fig preserve and a crispy baguette or the salmon tartar with onions and capers topped with black caviar is your way to start lunch.
Follow this with the pork chop, potatoes and fried cabbage and the cod with spinach, celeriac, walnuts and apricots.
Your wine is the ’12 Fumin Valle D’Aosta. Dessert is hot chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream.
The Czartoryski Museum and Library – Tu-Su: 10-4, św. Jana 19, 48 12 370 54 60
The Czartoryski Museum was founded in 1796 by Princess Izabela Czartoryska to preserve Polish heritage in keeping with the Princess’ motto: “The Past to the Future”.
The first objects in her “Temple of Memory” were trophies commemorating the victory against the Turks at the siege of Vienna in 1683.
The collection experienced upheavals, confiscation and theft of many of their holdings during wars and occupation. Many of their treasures were recovered by the Allies Commission for the Retrieval of Works of Art, however, a Raphael and 843 other artifacts are missing.
Its holdings still include a treasure house for regal jewels, war and crown trophies, as well as objets d’art: paintings, decorative works, arms, armor, and celebrity memorabilia.
The 12 apostles in front of the Church of Saints Peter & Paul - Grodzka 52a, 31-044, 48 12 350 63 65
It was commissioned for the Jesuit order of Sts. Peter and Paul. It’s modeled on the architecture of the famous Gesu Church in Rome that features a Baroque facade and great dome.
The stone statues of the 12 Apostles on the fence are larger-than-life-size replicas of the 18th-century late Baroque originals. It is said that the Jesuits spent so much money on the ornate white facade and the sculptures that they ran out of money to finish the rest of the building.
Tonight we are at Szara Kazimierz – L & D: Daily, Szeroka 39, 48 12 429 12 19
Your appetizers are the frog legs with mixed salad and the Swedish style marinated herring with potatoes, egg and a glass of vodka.
Your main is the beef cheeks with horseradish and dumplings and the salmon and perch duet with a caper, ginger, lime butter sauce.
The wine is the ’11 Valploicella Superiore and dessert is the passion fruit Panna Cotta with a cherry sauce.
Day Two: Start your day at Nowa Prowincja – B,L,D: Daily, ul. Bracka 3-5, 48 12 430 59 59
This morning skip the coffee and enjoy the best chocolate in Krakow. It’s dense, sweet, dark and comes with whipped cream on top. The décor is quirky but the cakes are excellent.
First stop today is The Wieliczka Salt Mine – Daily: 8-5, Daniłowicza 10, 32-020, 48 12 278 73 02
The Wieliczka Salt Mine produced table salt until 2007, and was one of the world’s oldest salt mines in operation, however, commercial mining was discontinued in 1996 due to a soft salt market.
This mine has been a tourist attraction for decades with multiple sculptures, three chapels and a cathedral carved out of the rock salt. Other features include an underground lake, exhibits on the history of salt mining and a 2+ mile touring route.
Cousin Zbigniew suggests that we see St. Mary’s Church and Alter. The 262 foot tall wooden alter piece was carved by Veit Stoss.
On the hour a trumpet plays a tune called Heinal Mariacki that breaks off abruptly to recognize a famous 13th century trumpeter who was shot while sounding an alarm before a Mongol attack.
The Veit Stoss altar piece is the largest in the world. The sculptured figures are more than 12 feet high, and were carved out of a lime tree trunk.
The carving at the bottom shows the death of Jesus’ mother Mary in the presence of the Apostles.
At the top is the coronation of Mary flanked by St. Stanislaus and St. Adalbert of Prague.
The panels show the six scenes of the Joys of Mary: the annunciation, the resurrection, a nativity scene, the ascension of Jesus, the three wise men and the descent of the Holy Ghost.
We found a great local spot called Kuchnia u Doroty – ul. Augustianska 4, 48 517 945 338
It’s a little out of the way but well worth the effort to find. Menu favorites are potato pancakes, of course, and goulash, cucumbers topped with sour cream, pierogis, almond chicken and beetroot soup. Beer is our drink here.
We think that it’s necessary to visit the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial & Museum – Open Daily: Dec-Feb: 8-3, Mar,Nov: 8-4, April,Oct: 8-5, May,Sept: 8-6, June-Aug: 8-7, Tours are available in several languages.
The Museum is located on the outskirts of the city of Oświęcim on national road 933, There are PKS and minibus stops adjacent to the Museum, with service to Krakow and Katowice. 48 33 844 81 00
Plan to spend about 90 minutes for the Auschwitz site and the same amount of time for Auschwitz II-Birkenau.
It is essential to visit both parts of the camp, Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II-Birkenau to acquire a proper sense of the place that has become the symbol of the Holocaust as well as Nazi crimes against Poles, Romas and other groups.
Back to Krakow for a leisurely walk along the Wisla River.
This is a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The boulevards stretch from one end of Krakow to the other, and offer photo opportunities of Wawel Hill as well as a pleasant stroll.
There are barges and boat stops on the way giving us the opportunity to take a boat ride or have a meal on the water.
Dinner at Cyrano de Bergerac – L & D: Daily, ul. Slawkowska 26, 48 12 411 72 88 is special.
Your starters are the scallops with dumplings and the ravioli with truffles, foie gras and artichoke mousse.
The mains are the venison medallions with chestnuts and apricots or veal cordon bleu with chanterelles.
Your wine is the ‘’11 Faiveley Mercury Rouge and dessert is the pear and apple strudel with vanilla ice cream.
Day Three: Breakfast today at Dynia Resto Bar – B,L,D: Daily, Krupnicza 20, 31-123, 48 12 430 08 38
Lots of choices at Dynia. We like the grilled sausages with smoked cheese, bacon, pickled cucumber, bread, butter and coffee.
For the more adventuresome, try the pasta with sardine paste and chives. It comes with bread, butter, coffee or tea and juice.
This morning you’ll visit Oscar Schindler’s Enamel Factory – Nov-Mar: M: 10-2, Tu-Su: 10-6, April-Oct: M: 10-4, Tu-Su: 10-8, 4 Lipowa St, 48 12 257 10 17
This museum tells us about World War 2, the people who lived in Krakow during that time and what came after the war. It tells us about oppression, resilience, heroism and deceit.
It tells us about the choices people had to make to survive. It is a story that you don’t want to miss.
Located in the same building is the Museum of Contemporary Art Karkow – Tu-Su: 12-8, ul Lipova 4, 48 226 34000
Here the concentration is on temporary shows that favor photography, video and installations.
Since opening in May, 2011 its own collection is still embryonic consisting of miscellaneous works by Polish and foreign artists that date from the late 20th century through recent times, but it gives a glimpse into the trends cherished by art critics over the last thirty years, notably in Poland.
Farina Restaurant – L & D: Daily, sw. Marta 16 st, 48 12 422 16 80 is your choice for lunch today.
For your first course the beetroot soup with crayfish or the chicken livers with cherry vodka are excelent.
Your main is the halibut with morels and asparagus baked in a parsley garlic sauce and the tagliatelle with baby cauliflower, Kohlrabi and spinach.
The wine is the ’10 Grand Regnerd de Chablis and dessert is strawberries with meringue and schnapps.
Cloth Hall – Grand Square has been the hub of Krakow since the 13th century. It’s where you meet, do business, shop and dine.
But shopping isn’t the only reason to visit Cloth Hall. The National Museum’s collection is here and since 2008 it is known as the Sukiennice gallery.
The Gallery holds the largest permanent exhibit of the 19th-century Polish painting and sculpture in four grand rooms.
Until next time, best wishes and happy travels,
Dick & Dee Welge
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