Tuesday, May 6, 2008


Hey all, I'm back from Poland and England! Poland was fantastic, or at least the various parts that I saw. They should provide blogging fodder for quite a while.

Let me start with Krakow, the first city I hit and the main tourist attraction of Poland. I quickly figured out why as I rolled my suitcase across the huge town square (Rynek) at 10:30pm, with the Cloth Hall, church, and other structures looming in the lights of the pubs and restaurants. At right is St. Mary's, which dwarfs the houses surrounding it.

My brother and other discerning travelers may turn their noses up at Krakow and its plethora of tourists, but it's nothing compared to NYC or Paris. Granted that RyanAir and other budget flights have brought in many fine young gentlemen from Britain looking for a cheap drunken weekend, it's still a gorgeous historical city with a fine museum, the Czartoryski (a noble family's private collection, kind of like the Frick or Morgan in NYC), that holds Da Vinci's Lady with an Ermine. It also used to have a famous Raphael portrait of a young man, but it vanished during WWII and has never been seen since.

As you run around the streets of the old quarter, you find pubs, restaurants, clubs, hotels, shops... I don't know where the Krakovians live, but probably not many live in the old city. Still, I saw many elderly Krakovians enjoying a leisurely ice cream topped with mounds of whipped cream when I stopped into the Naber Cafe one afternoon. I had a luscious kremowka, which was pretty much a thick layer of puff pastry, an inch and a half of delicious light vanilla pastry cream, and another pastry layer on top. The old ladies covertly watched this strange Asian tourist girl hack away at it and decide that there was really no neat way to eat it; as an Edna Ferber character says in Dawn O'Hara, by all rights you ought to get in a bathtub to eat it, because as soon as you take a bite (or forkful, in this case), the cream all shoots out the other end.

Every street in the old quarter is charming. Here's a view of Ulica Florianska leading to the Florianska gate, the tower at the end. The kings used to enter this way on coronation day.

1 comment:

jodi said...

Welcome back

That looks and sounds a lot like the Old Town in Prague-- tourists, yes, but very pleasant.

Ferber writes about pastry like nobody's business. There's an absolutely decadent scene about some tempting items in the excerpt from Fanny Herself that my class (ostensibly) read this semester.