Robin's Adventures

Central and Eastern Europe
An Adventure Steeped in History

Chapel On The Water

This cute little church building, built near Ojcow National Park, was built on concrete supports over a river.

Apparently, during the Russian occupation of this area, Tzar Nicholas II had prohibited the building of sacred objects on the ground of Ojcow. The people complied with the Tzar's edict and built the church over the water instead.

Castle Ruins

After almost three weeks in various cities, we had a delightful day in a natural setting as we visited Ojcow National Park.

We hiked up to Ojcow Castle ruins and would later walk to Pieskowa Skala Castle. Both were part of a defense network designed by King Casimir III to protect the city.

Ojcow Limestone Formations

Ojcow National Park is known for its beautiful limestone formations, as well as its cliffs and caves. The hiking trails wound through some peaceful forested areas surrounded by massive limestone outcrops.

We hiked to Lokietek's Cave, named after the king who was said to have hidden in the cave during one of his battles in his fight for the throne. The cave was a little more than 1,000 feet long and a very cool 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

One of the park's noteworthy limestone formations is a tall thick column that has appropriately been named Hercule's bludgeon.

Scenic Ojcow National Park

We enjoyed walking through the tall coniferous forest which had mostly pine, spruce, and fir trees.

Ojcow's Natural Wonders

Along the trails in Ojcow National Park, there were many interesting wildflowers and different types of mushrooms. We especially enjoyed the orange Lords and Ladies (Arum maculatum) and the spiky purple milk thistle (Silybum marianum).

Small Wonders at Ojcow

A closer look at some of the wildflowers revealed some interesting insects: butterflies, bees, beetles, and a bunch of leaves that were providing a perfect incubation spot for many tiny insect eggs.

Ojcow's Serendipidies

We came upon some delightful random sights while hiking through Ojcow National Park.

We were hiking along a rocky trail that wound through the forest, with a steady uphill incline. We were on our way to the cave, when suddenly we came to a small clearing with benches and a lady selling pickles.

Once we reached the cave, there was a gate covering the entrance that was shaped like a spider web. The legend says that when the king hid in the cave, a spider wove a web across the entrance and this hid the cave from the king's pursuers.

As we reached the outskirts of the park, there was a small road leading back to the parking area. There was a horse drawn buggy there that provided a delightful way for us to finish our hike.

Pieskowa Skala Castle

Pieskowa Skala Castle is one of a large chain of fortified castles, called Eagles Nests, built by Polish King Casimir III during the fourteenth century.

Next Stop: Vienna

A one hour Austrian Airlines flight took us from Krakow to Vienna where we stayed at the Park Hyatt Hotel.

Saint Stephen's Cathedral

Saint Stephen's Cathedral, built between 1368 and 1433, is the tallest building in Vienna. The south tower, which is 446 feet tall, has served has a watchtower during time of war and contains an apartment for a watchman who until recently (1955) kept watch over the city and rang the tower bells in case of fire.

The 364 foot long roof is covered with 230,000 glazed tiles in a mosaic pattern that includes the symbolic double-headed eagle of the Hapsburg kings.