May 10, 2014: Zakopane and Krakow

There were no tours scheduled for today, so some of us decided to visit the town of Zakopane while others explored Krakow.

Zakopane, which is described as ‘the winter capital of Poland’, is a town near Poland’s border with Slovakia. We drove through the Polish country side, passing through villages including Zawoja, the longest village in Poland at 20 km long. Image

Driving through the Polish country side

We arrived in Zakopane and made our way past numerous shops and through a large outdoor market to the funicular, which we took to the top of a mountain. Luckily, we had some great weather.

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The view from the top

 

The top of the mountain had even more shops, which we explored. We had some traditional snacks and ate a lunch of different meats grilled over a wood flame.

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After lunch, we did a few runs on a toboggan course. We ended our day in Zakopane by taking the funicular back down, and then headed back to Krakow.

MEANWHILE IN KRAKOW

We started the day by casually strolling through the streets in Old Town towards the market square of Krakow, the largest market square in Europe.

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Streets of Krakow

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Panoramic view of the market square

While waiting for a tour, we decided to have a quick lunch and went to shop for souvenirs inside the market square.

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Shops inside the market

After lunch, we went downstairs from the market to the Rynek Underground Museum. Once inside, we saw what the old market square looked like, as well as excavated rubble from the pre-existing structures that use to be the marketplace. We also saw the square’s development from the 15th century to the present, and horse and human burials that were discovered by archaeologists. An interesting fact is that due to the belief in vampires, the dead were bound hand and foot and decapitated to prevent them from disturbing the living.

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Old bridge and walkway

At night, we went to the market square again to view a free opera held by the Jagiellonian University in celebration of their 650th jubilee.

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Panoramic of the setup

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During the event

Matt & Garth

 

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