|Dates:||16 Jun 2011 - 3 Jul 2011|
|Duration:||2 weeks, 2 days|
At Krakow airport; Poland 2011 comes to an end.
Lunch-time stroll through old town.
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.
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.
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.
Conference talks all day, followed by the SMB General Assembly, at which yours truly was inducted as President.
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!
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.
Another vegetarian meal, at Chimera Salad Bar. I tried a concoction of nettle and lime juice, which was surprisingly delicious and very refreshing.
I moved from Hotel Wyspianski (my tourist hotel) to the Radisson Blu (my work hotel), where I will stay until next Sunday.
Sitting in the covered garden of Zblizenia Cafe on Plac Nowy, sipping tea and reading my book for nearly two hours.
Muzeum Etnograficzne, with beautiful exhibits of Polish folk culture, including costumes, musical instruments, house decorations, and recreations of 19th-century peasant houses.
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.
Not a day goes by without seeing Pope John Paul II in one form or another ...
Wianki fireworks. Spectacular!
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.
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.
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.
Auschwitz I concentration and death camp. A profound experience, one that offers a new perspective on the Holocaust.
Celebratory group dinner at Restaurant Arka Noego, with live Klezmer music for entertainment.
Back at Hotel Wyspianski, in Krakow.
Still at Oltarz Papieski waiting for the bus ...
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.
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.
Hotel Perla Polonia, in Rytro.
Beautiful views over the Poprad valley on the way back down the hill from Piwniczna to Rytro.
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.
Found another open restaurant, where I had an omelet, which was just enough to convince me to go on a little mini-adventure ...
This hill was a tough climb, but worth the view up top!
Cycling through apple and cherry orchards.
Found a restaurant that was closed but willing to serve tea. With some persuasion, they eventually agreed to serve Apfelkuchen as well. Yum!
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.
Hotel Nawigator, in Szczawnica.
Side trip to the Biala Woda nature reserve east of Szczawnica, with a short hike up to a Gorale shepherd's hut.
Lunch in Lesnica village, Slovakia, with traditional Gorale folk musicians providing entertainment.
At Lesnicke Sedlo pass in the Pieniny mountains, Slovakia.
Cycling through the scenic Dunajec gorge, in Pieninsky Park Naradowy, along the border between Poland and Slovakia.
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.
Hotel Pieniny, in Niedzica. Zurek (Polish sour soup with sausage and egg) and perogies for dinner.
Slowly-moving road block in Kacwin village.
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.
Niedzica castle, built between 1320 and 1326 by Hungarian nobility.
Poland's oldest wooden church, built around 1500, now protected as UNESCO-World heritage site, in Debno.
It's haying season. Much of the work is done by hand and with horse.
Following a narrow path through the meadows along the river shore between Waksmund village and Lopuszna village.
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.
I love the colour of this house!
Haystacks (built by hand) typical of this region.
Chocholow, a village of the Gorale mountain people, filled with rustic log houses, many from the 19th century.
On the gondola to Gubalowka at the top of the mountain. Everything is downhill from there!
Pensionatow Dolina Bialego, in Zakopane.
In the village of Zab (Poland's highest), with a beautiful view over the Zakopane valley towards the High Tatra mountains.
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.
Synagoga Remu in the Kazimierz neighbourhood, the heart of Polish Jewish culture for centuries.
Twenty-six cyclists showed up to the welcome dinner for the bike trip, but the leader did not. Confusion reigns.
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.
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.
Outdoors, on Rynek Glowny, Krakow's majestic market square (and one of Europe's largest).
At Hotel Wyspianski, in Krakow, struggling with jet lag.
Greetings from Calgary Airport! Just downloaded the TrackMyTour app and got it set up on my iPad.
|Dates:||16 Jun 2011 - 3 Jul 2011|
|Duration:||2 weeks, 2 days|