More diary snippets from Kraków

Wall painting by Stanisław Wyspiański in Franciscan Church in Kraków

I forgot to write about the most beautiful church, St. Francis’ Basilica, that we saw. It was generally too cold to do much wandering about, but after we had been to Mass we managed to buy Jacek a hat.

During the Mass, much to our surprise, we had been invited to renew our vows. That was a very moving experience indeed, especially as it was so unexpected. The newly refurbished cloisters had just been opened, so we managed to take a quick look at them, but we were rushing for lunch. The next day, however, we came back to look at the church which is magnificent, because it is a gothic structure embellished by art nouveau painting and stained glass. I can’t really do it justice here, but please make it your first post of call if you ever go to Kraków. It is so very, very different.

On Monday I managed to persuade Jacek to at least go and look at Wawel Castle from the outside. It was cold. We also tried to get into the newly opened Czartoryski Museum. No more tickets. But we couldn’t go out the way we came. Only through the gift shop. We were very proud and took not one look at it!

Then lunch of course in a lovely restaurant, la Campana, and then dinner in a dreadful resturant la Fiorentina. (I’ve written about this gastronomic disaster elsewhere.) Lots of Italian restaurants in Kraków – some good. some not so good.

Our last day – New Year’s Eve, a little more walking, a little more eating – back to La Campana for lunch and then to Kogel Mogel (this is actually what you call a raw egg whisked with sugar (and brandy if you are grown up)) for our special St Sylvester dinner. We had had to book when we were still in London, sight unseen, though recommended by a friend. We were still quite full from lunch when we arrived just after nine. The restaurant was pretty and also quite pleasantly full. Our six courses arrived one by one – not too big actually and very nice, and then at midnight we noticed that the restaurant was almost empty! Why? we asked the waitress, who’d already told us she didn’t mind being without her man this evening because it wasn’t very special to her. Oh, she said, they’ve all gone to the Rynek to watch the fireworks.

Well, we stayed, in order to toast in the new year in a more civilised fashion, as did the table of six Swiss people next to us. We exchanged good wishes as the clock struck midnight somewhere or other and then we went home.

That walk – maybe fifteen minutes – was not a pleasant experience – lots of drunken Cracovians throwing rockets and making a lot of noise. But we got back to our bottle of prosecco – present from the staff in the hotel and had a relatively early night.

The next day we were going back to Warsaw and to London

Back onthe train we suddently found ourselves looking after a twelve year old boy. His grandparents nervously put him on the train and were very reluctant to get off themselves. In the end we had to reassure them we would look after him (not that he needed it – he was perfectly self assured and self sufficient and very polite) . in Warsaw we delivered him to his mother, who was alo very grateful and he very sweetly thanked us. A good deed without any actual deed!

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