Robin's Adventures

Central and Eastern Europe
An Adventure Steeped in History

Polish Dining

Dining in Poland offered a few local dishes that we found interesting.

We found one restaurant that specialized in a popular dumpling-like dish called pierogi. There are many different varieties of pierogi, depending on the filling placed inside the pocket created by the dough.

For dinner we had savory dumplings filled with different meats and vegetables. For dessert, blueberry and strawberry pierogi covered with a vanilla sauce.

One rather fancy restaurant served the butter all wrapped up in small squares of wax paper that made the butter look like bits of candy laid out on the plate.

Our guide stopped at a roadside stand one afternoon to show us another delicacy: pork lard. Our driver and guide had some spread on slices of bread, but somehow, it did not look all that appetizing to us.

Travelin' by Train

The high speed train took us from Warsaw to Krakow in two hours and 15 minutes. We were served hot croissants with jam along the way and had a lovely view of the Polish countryside.

In Krakow, we stayed at the Sheraton Hotel.

Market Square

The main square, at roughly 10 acres, is one of the largest medieval town squares in Europe. The use of the square dates back to the thirteenth century when it served as an important center for trade and commerce.

The Cloth Hall, which was built in the 15th century, was a more permanent place for merchants to do business and rapidly became an important center for trade in the region.

The Town Hall Tower, all that currently remains of the 13th century town hall, is 230 feet tall and leans two feet to one side as a result of a big storm in 1703. The original town hall contained a torture chamber and a prison in its cellar.

Saint Mary's Basilica, a 282 foot tall 13th century church, is also in the square.

The Legend of Saint Mary's Cathedral

The two spires of Saint Mary's Cathedral are not the same height and this is the stuff from which legends are made. The story is told that there was a competition between two brothers that were building the church. The brother who built the smaller tower is said to have murdered his brother in a fit of rage and the knife he used can still be seen hanging in an archway of the nearby cloth hall.

Another legend involves a 13th century trumpeter who was shot with an arrow in the throat while attempting to warn the city of a Mongol invasion. To commemorate his bravery, the first part of the trumpet call, with an abrupt stop, is played every hour from the church tower. It is also broadcast live on Polish national radio every day at noon.

Saint Mary's Cathedral

The wooden alter piece at Saint Mary's Cathedral is particularly noteworthy. It was carved by Veit Stoss between 1477 and 1484. It is considered to be one of Poland's national treasures.

During world War II, the Germans took the mantle piece apart and shipped it to Germany.

It was recovered from the basement of Nuremberg Castle after the war, brought back to Poland and restored to its rightful place at Saint Mary's.

That's Entertainment

There were some unique street entertainers in and around the market square. In addition, horse drawn carriages were always available to take people around the large square.

Seen about Town

We spotted some rather unique things as we wandered about the city. Whoever came up with the clever robot-like display for the post box gets high marks for creativity. The use of colorful umbrellas as an awning is also very creative.

The sculpted mask, designed by Santi Gucci, is one of many that is part of the decor on the Market Square Cloth Hall. The sculptures holding up the balcony are also quite unique.

Rynek Underground Museum

The Rynek Underground Museum, covering nearly one and a half acres directly below the current day Market Square, has an amazing assortments of ruins and exhibits that show what life was like in Krakow more than 700 years ago.

Visitors can walk on plexiglass ramps over ancient roads and see foundations of ancient market stalls and burned out settlements. There is a reconstruction of a 12th century workshop, and many displays of artifacts found from the artisans that once lived and worked in this area.

Middle Ages through 21st Century Eyes

As if 700 year old ruins were not enough to make the Rynek Underground Museum a fascinating place to visit, technology is used extensively throughout the museum to bring the ancient ruins to life.

Holograms and projectors are used with fog machines to create medieval villagers who talk about their life and times. There are also more than 600 3D models on touch screens in the museum.

Our visit to the museum was totally immersive and thoroughly enjoyable.

A Moving Painting

Check out this animated painting that we saw at the Underground Museum.