Saturday, October 30, 2010

Wawel Castle, Krakow, Poland

 Narges gifted us with a private English language tour throughout the Castle in Krakow.  I was going to take notes...because I can't learn and remember 1000+ years of Polish history in 3 hours ( I am sure I heard every detail, however).  Luckily WikiPedia has a nice summary for your review and a couple of photos that we couldn't get.  The tour guide was an art history major with a minor in Polish history - and is/was a teacher so she was perfect for the tour guide of the castle.  I'm putting in a few photos of the art.  Amazing stuff that people can do in the art field!

 Tour guide in Castle court yard
 "Furnace" - keeps the castle warm - the art work on it is wonderful.

 Look at the size of the tapestry
And the rug size

 Heads of state!

Private chapel for mass
 off the king's bedroom - so he didn't have to get dressed.

 Just a few of the multiple pieces of art still in the castle.
Swords from what period? displayed in the castle.

From WikiPedia - 
The Gothic Wawel Castle in Cracow in Poland was built at the behest of Casimir III the Great and consists of a number of structures situated around the central courtyard. In the 14th century it was rebuilt by Jogaila and Jadwiga of Poland. Their reign saw the addition of the tower called the Hen's Foot (Kurza Stopka) and the Danish Tower.[1] The Jadwiga and Jogaila Chamber, in which the sword Szczerbiec, was used in coronation ceremonies, is exhibited today and is another remnant of this period.[2] Other structures were developed on the hill during that time as well, in order to serve as quarters for the numerous clergy, royal clerks and craftsmen. Defensive walls and towers such as Jordanka, Lubranka, Sandomierska, Tęczyńska, Szlachecka, Złodziejska and Panieńska were erected in the same period.
The Crown Treasury situated in the historic Gothic rooms which were used from the 15th century on for storing the Polish coronation insignia and Crown Jewels, feature on display objects from the former Treasury that survived plunder, among them the memorabilia of Polish monarchs including members of their families and eminent personages, as well as the coronation sword Szczerbiec.[6]

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Poland and Italy Vacation Food

In Krakow - Pancakes and
 Goolash (much different than in U.S.- more of a beef stroganoff. An option was french fries with it).

                In a mountain resort area in Poland, these cheeses were for sale in a souvenier area
                  Friends of Narges made and served maybe the best food we had while we were gone!
                                It was cold in Krakow but who cares - hot wine with vodka !

Now why don't we have cheese like this in U.S.? For $2.50 per round?

 The farmer's market in Bielsko, Poland  was within walking distance of the condo - the pictures above         and  below show the many good choices. Bring your own bag.
 One picture I didn't get was that of a woman selling eggs - with an 8x10 color photo of her chicken who laid the eggs!  The young woman was evidently very proud of the eggs' heritage!   I was too "shy" to take a photo of the man dipping fresh milk out of an "old fashioned"  milk can for a customer. 
            Venice lunch - a good sized pizza for $8.00, wine was $3.00. It tasted about the same as in U.S.
Now we're back in Poland in the Tatra Mountain area and the rainbow trout.  The staff suggested that we split one fish because of the size - U.S. doesn't do that.  This is all that was served unless you ordered side dishes.  We ordered hot beer - much better than it sounds to the uninitiated.

 This lettuce is also from the farmer's market.  Isn't it beautiful! I sure wish we had this kind of lettuce in U.S.!

                   This is one meal I made after Narges left: Fresh salad, red wine, lamb chop and perogies. 
                                                                  Isn't it gorgeous?  Yummmm

All that and I lost 3 lbs. while we were gone.  All that walking, maybe.  Or maybe it was the (hot) beer or wine at lunch?  I like that possibility better!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Venice, Italy

We arrived in Venice at 10:00 AM after a 15 hr. bus trip from Poland.  We were told it would be very warm.  It wasn't. Luckily I still had my coat with me from Poland.  We arrived by boat (Venice is an island, after all.) After getting set up with our local tour guide, one of the first things on the schedule was the gondola ride.  It isn't too romantic at 10:00AM but it certainly began our day nicely.  After not sleeping much on the bus, no shower or change of clothes, we have pictures of us in Venice - not how I prefer to look for the camera but better than not being there!  You'll see by the last picture how we felt by 4:00PM when it was time to get back to the boat, to get to the bus to ride another 1.5 hrs to get to our hotel.  That first day was our clue that this tour was going to be a grueling tour.

                                                      One of our first views of Venice
                                       Boat docked just before we pulled into the Venice dock.

                                                                 Gondola parking lot?
                                                           San Marco Plaza - cathederal
                        Our Polish/Italian bus tour "pilot". She had no trouble getting the guys to follow her!

                                                                This is us in Gondola

                                          Getting up these steps from the boats must be tricky.
                                                 Water taxi how non-tourists get around town.

                          San Marco Plaza during high tide.  The city is sinking 2 inches every 10 yrs.
                               On the left you can see people walking on risers to keep out of water.
                                              Bob enjoyed his afternoon nap even in Venice!