At Krakow airport; Poland 2011 comes to an end.
Posted: July 3, 2011, 7 a.m.
Lunch-time stroll through old town.
Posted: July 2, 2011, 11:30 a.m.
Mid-day break from the conference, with a guided tour of the Collegium Maius, where Chopin's piano is on display in a room with a funky inlaid wooden floor.
Posted: July 1, 2011, 11 a.m.
Conference dinner at Folwark Zalesie, a facility in the beautiful countryside just outside Krakow. We were treated to a folklore evening with traditional Polish cuisine.
Posted: June 30, 2011, 7 p.m.
Conference excursion to the Wieliczka Salt Mine, one of Poland's Unesco World Heritage sites. The mine was in operation for over 700 years. Many of the chambers contain carvings made by miners, including the massive (54m by 17m) Chapel of the Blessed Kinga, with this impressive carving of the Last Supper.
Posted: June 30, 2011, 2 p.m.
Conference talks all day, followed by the SMB General Assembly, at which yours truly was inducted as President.
Posted: June 29, 2011, 5:25 p.m.
Mid-day break from the conference, consisting of a bike ride with Christina (on single-speed bicycles made available by my hotel) along the south side of the Vistula River to the Benedictine abbey in the village of Tyniec, just west of Krakow. There was a small store selling products made by the holy men still working at the monastery. The mead that we bought there must be good for us!
Posted: June 28, 2011, 9:30 a.m.
In meetings from 9 until 4, followed by a stroll through town and then a run through the Planty Park that surrounds the old town.
Posted: June 27, 2011, 7 a.m.
Another vegetarian meal, at Chimera Salad Bar. I tried a concoction of nettle and lime juice, which was surprisingly delicious and very refreshing.
Posted: June 26, 2011, 6 p.m.
I moved from Hotel Wyspianski (my tourist hotel) to the Radisson Blu (my work hotel), where I will stay until next Sunday.
Posted: June 26, 2011, 4:15 p.m.
Sitting in the covered garden of Zblizenia Cafe on Plac Nowy, sipping tea and reading my book for nearly two hours.
Posted: June 26, 2011, 2 p.m.
Muzeum Etnograficzne, with beautiful exhibits of Polish folk culture, including costumes, musical instruments, house decorations, and recreations of 19th-century peasant houses.
Posted: June 26, 2011, 11:45 a.m.
Oskar Schindler's Deutsche Emaillewaren-Fabrik still exists, and opened last year as a historical museum. The story of Schindler's List is told alongside the story of Krakow under Nazi occupation.
Posted: June 26, 2011, 9 a.m.
Not a day goes by without seeing Pope John Paul II in one form or another ...
Posted: June 26, 2011, 8:05 a.m.
Wianki fireworks. Spectacular!
Posted: June 25, 2011, 9 p.m.
Listening to a concert by hip hop and reggae performer Wyclef Jean, the star at this year's Wianki festival in Krakow, on the bank of the River Vistula, near Wawel Hill. The Wianki festival celebrates Midsummer Night.
Posted: June 25, 2011, 7 p.m.
A simple and delicious vegetarian meal at a restaurant near the hotel. During the last week, I've eaten more meat than I normally do in a month, and a meatless meal is a welcome break from the routine.
Posted: June 25, 2011, 5:30 p.m.
Auschwitz II (a.k.a. Birkenau), a gigantic and horrific factory of death. The impact of Auschwitz is felt here through the massive size of the camp and the remnants of four humongous crematoria.
Posted: June 25, 2011, 11:30 a.m.
Auschwitz I concentration and death camp. A profound experience, one that offers a new perspective on the Holocaust.
Posted: June 25, 2011, 8:30 a.m.
Celebratory group dinner at Restaurant Arka Noego, with live Klezmer music for entertainment.
Posted: June 24, 2011, 6 p.m.
Back at Hotel Wyspianski, in Krakow.
Posted: June 24, 2011, 3:45 p.m.
Still at Oltarz Papieski waiting for the bus ...
Posted: June 24, 2011, 11 a.m.
Oltarz Papieski in Stary Sacz. Oltarz Papieski refers to the papal altar that is preserved at the site of pope John Paul II's 1999 Holy Mass.
Posted: June 24, 2011, 9:45 a.m.
Left early in the morning to head back to Piwniczna, in the opposite direction of our bus pickup point, to pick up this coral necklace that I had seen there yesterday. I was there at 9 am, but the gallery did not open until 10 am. The wait went quickly with a good book, and then I still had plenty of time to cycle to Stary Sacz, where the bus was scheduled to pick us up at 12.
Posted: June 24, 2011, 8 a.m.
Hotel Perla Polonia, in Rytro.
Posted: June 23, 2011, 4:50 p.m.
Beautiful views over the Poprad valley on the way back down the hill from Piwniczna to Rytro.
Posted: June 23, 2011, 4 p.m.
Posted: June 23, 2011, 2:30 p.m.
Solo mini-adventure: side trip by train from Rytro to Piwniczna, and then further by bicycle to the villages of Mnisek nad Popradom, Kace, and Medzibrodie in Slovakia. It is a world of difference just across the border: thinly populated, uncultivated land, and abandoned houses.
Posted: June 23, 2011, 1:58 p.m.
Found another open restaurant, where I had an omelet, which was just enough to convince me to go on a little mini-adventure ...
Posted: June 23, 2011, 1:15 p.m.
This hill was a tough climb, but worth the view up top!
Posted: June 23, 2011, 11:30 a.m.
Cycling through apple and cherry orchards.
Posted: June 23, 2011, 10:30 a.m.
Found a restaurant that was closed but willing to serve tea. With some persuasion, they eventually agreed to serve Apfelkuchen as well. Yum!
Posted: June 23, 2011, 10 a.m.
Corpus Christi procession in Lacko. Today turns out to be a Polish national holiday, and all the shops and most of the restaurants are closed. This is catching all of us by surprise, and we're more than a little worried about provisions. It's a relatively long day today, with significant hills to climb.
Posted: June 23, 2011, 9 a.m.
Hotel Nawigator, in Szczawnica.
Posted: June 22, 2011, 4:15 p.m.
Side trip to the Biala Woda nature reserve east of Szczawnica, with a short hike up to a Gorale shepherd's hut.
Posted: June 22, 2011, 3:30 p.m.
Lunch in Lesnica village, Slovakia, with traditional Gorale folk musicians providing entertainment.
Posted: June 22, 2011, 11:15 a.m.
At Lesnicke Sedlo pass in the Pieniny mountains, Slovakia.
Posted: June 22, 2011, 10:30 a.m.
Cycling through the scenic Dunajec gorge, in Pieninsky Park Naradowy, along the border between Poland and Slovakia.
Posted: June 22, 2011, 9:30 a.m.
At Cerveny Klastor (a.k.a. Red Monastery), one of Slovakia's national cultural monuments. The monastery was founded by Carthusian monks in 1320, in the hands of secular noblemen between 1569 and 1710, and run by Camaldulian monks between 1711 and 1782.
Posted: June 22, 2011, 8:30 a.m.
Hotel Pieniny, in Niedzica. Zurek (Polish sour soup with sausage and egg) and perogies for dinner.
Posted: June 21, 2011, 4:30 p.m.
Slowly-moving road block in Kacwin village.
Posted: June 21, 2011, 3:50 p.m.
Adventurous excursion (on dirt roads and through an abandoned communist-era collectivised farm) to Osturna, in Slovakia. Osturna is a historic village of the Ruthenian people. The architecture is traditional wooden construction, painted with folk motifs.
Posted: June 21, 2011, 3:15 p.m.
Niedzica castle, built between 1320 and 1326 by Hungarian nobility.
Posted: June 21, 2011, noon
Poland's oldest wooden church, built around 1500, now protected as UNESCO-World heritage site, in Debno.
Posted: June 21, 2011, 10:50 a.m.
It's haying season. Much of the work is done by hand and with horse.
Posted: June 21, 2011, 9:40 a.m.
Following a narrow path through the meadows along the river shore between Waksmund village and Lopuszna village.
Posted: June 21, 2011, 8:05 a.m.
Hotel Goralski Raj, in Nowy Targ. The hotel is on the edge of town, next to farm fields filled with haystacks and sheep. Lots of time for reading a book here.
Posted: June 20, 2011, 1 p.m.
I love the colour of this house!
Posted: June 20, 2011, 11:50 a.m.
Haystacks (built by hand) typical of this region.
Posted: June 20, 2011, 10 a.m.
Chocholow, a village of the Gorale mountain people, filled with rustic log houses, many from the 19th century.
Posted: June 20, 2011, 9:45 a.m.
On the gondola to Gubalowka at the top of the mountain. Everything is downhill from there!
Posted: June 20, 2011, 7:30 a.m.
Pensionatow Dolina Bialego, in Zakopane.
Posted: June 19, 2011, 4:05 p.m.
In the village of Zab (Poland's highest), with a beautiful view over the Zakopane valley towards the High Tatra mountains.
Posted: June 19, 2011, 2 p.m.
On the bus to Zab, where we start our cycling adventure. More confusion through lack of information, which is turning into frustration. But it will all be OK once we are on the bikes and we can go our own way.
Posted: June 19, 2011, 10:07 a.m.
Synagoga Remu in the Kazimierz neighbourhood, the heart of Polish Jewish culture for centuries.
Posted: June 19, 2011, 8:30 a.m.
Twenty-six cyclists showed up to the welcome dinner for the bike trip, but the leader did not. Confusion reigns.
Posted: June 18, 2011, 7 p.m.
Collegium Maius, Poland's oldest university building, dating back to the 15th century. It is part of the Jagiellonian University, founded in 1364, which hosts the conference that I will attend next week.
Posted: June 18, 2011, 3:48 p.m.
Wawel Hill, Poland's treasure chest, complete with a castle that was the seat of kings for over 500 years, and a cathedral that was the final resting place for many of them.
Posted: June 18, 2011, 11:11 a.m.
Outdoors, on Rynek Glowny, Krakow's majestic market square (and one of Europe's largest).
Posted: June 17, 2011, 6 p.m.
At Hotel Wyspianski, in Krakow, struggling with jet lag.
Posted: June 17, 2011, 11:03 a.m.
Greetings from Calgary Airport! Just downloaded the TrackMyTour app and got it set up on my iPad.
Posted: June 16, 2011, 6:10 p.m.