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Adventures in Writing, Reading & Book Culture

Krakow #1 — Around the Planty & Market Square

Asia and I took the 9:32 from Prague train station. We quickly got into our jammies and slept the night on the rocking train to Krakow. We arrived at Krakow Glowny before sunrise. Our hostel was a brisk 15-min walk down the Planty, the green park that surrounds Krakow’s old town. The town was in morning repose, and the street lights and low fog made a quiet walk in an otherwise bustling city.

Asia at Krakow Glowny

We stayed at Nathan’s Hostel, getting a private room in this hostel just off the planty and around the corner from Wawel Castle, on the Vistula. Surprisingly, our room was ready for us, so we pitched in our stuff and went downstairs to eat our pre-prepared breakfast: peanut butter & cheese on a big crusty croissant. Then it was time to set out to see the city.

AsiaMark at the Planty

This was Asia’s first time in Krakow. I was here four years ago on my travels around Europe to research & photo parks for my european-city-parks travel website. Our mission: to see the sights, eat the eats, stroll the streets, shop the shops, buy the ptasie mleczko and wodka.

Asia at the Planty

The Planty is a ring park made from the old city walls, taken down in the 1800s. The green separates the busy streets and old town cobblestones. It’s a lovely park with benches and gardens and fountains and ponds. You can spend your day walking around and around the Planty, ducking into cafés, into the market square, and relaxing.

Asia under the sign

The day began brisk: 40 degrees or so. We were bundled up but needed to walk and move. From the planty, we went into the town square, where a flower show was to take place, and a stage was set for music. The town square is big, open, square-like, with a market building in the center, next to the bell tower.

Mark at Barbican

The market building has held market stalls for centuries. Today it has tourist kiosks selling overpriced nick-nacks.

Market Square, Krakow

Some of the old city walls stil exist. And outside these you’ll find street musicians dressed in traditional costume.

Krakow street musicians

We walked and walked, and walked some more. Krakow is a university town, with lots of young people wandering about. It is also a city filled with churches and religious studies centers. I haven’t seen so many nuns on the loose since visiting Rome.

beer wagon, krakow

We brought along my voodoo doll, for good luck and to ward off evil. Evidently, the little devil worked.

Voodoo Doll

Both days began foggy and cold, but the sun burned through by noon and gave over to blue skies, warm temps, and perfect days for wandering. To end our Sunday sunny day, we toured the botanic gardens, which were lovely in their autumn flowers, mossy paths, hot hothouses, and sunny benches.

Asia at Krakow botanica

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