After an overnight flight, a five hour layover in Amsterdam, and a two hour flight, we finally made it to Kraków, Poland last night!! It was immediately clear that this place was like no other that I had seen before, and as soon as we stepped off of our train (yes, there was a train involved, too) I couldn’t wait to see what this city had to offer.
This morning we were met at our hotel by Gosia, who has her master’s degree in Jewish Studies. She was our guide for the day as we toured Kraków and Kazimierz, which was formerly a Jewish neighborhood.
We started our day in the Old Town Square Market, visiting St. Mary’s Basilica to hear the hourly trumpet player from the higher of the two towers.
We then headed to the Royal Castle and Cathedral. The cathedral has many different architectural styles to it, as many of the best in Europe were invited to come build onto it at one point or another, leaving it a melting pot of design diversity.
We walked through Kazimierz, stopping at the oldest synagogue in Poland, which has been turned into a museum. Kazimierz does not have the same large Jewish population that it used to, but is the home to seven synagogues. We visited Remuh Synagogue, the burial place of Rabbi Moshe Isserles, a pinnacle of the Jewish faith.
The wall at Remuh Synagogue– 700 graves were uncovered, many with broken headstones. The pieces were put into the wall, commemorating those whose graves were found
We finished our day with some shopping in the Old Town Square Market and two performances from the trumpet player, each from different sides of the tower. One more side and I will have heard him from all four corners of Kraków! I enjoyed a traditional Polish soup (for the second time — no regrets) and grabbed a gelato for the drizzly walk back to the hotel.
Tomorrow we journey to Oświęcim, the town where Aushwitz is located. We will be staying there until Thursday, visiting Jewish centers, synagogues, Birkenau, and Auschwitz during the next few days.
Be sure to check back for more to come! Dobranoc!!