Jo’s Monday walk : Beside the Wisła

Balon Widokowy and na Skalce

Balon Widokowy and na Skalce

Isn’t this just a strange sight?  The hot air balloon, hunkered down on the banks of the river, dwarfing one of Kraków’s biggest churches!

I think this might have to be my last Polish Monday walk.  I’ve been home for a couple of weeks now, and already have English walks that I want to share.  So let’s take a city stroll, beside the River Wisła (Vistula).  I think you’ll enjoy it.

It's quite an idyllic scene on a sunny day, isn't it?

It’s quite an idyllic scene on a sunny day, isn’t it?

The swans are more than happy!

The swans seem happy enough

And there are riverboat restaurants to keep the people happy too

And there are riverboat restaurants to keep the people happy too

Though you couldn't tell from this face, could you?

Though you’d never guess from this face, would you?

The Vistula is quite an amazing river, which flows the entire length of Poland, 651 miles in total. In doing so, it passes through many of Poland’s finest cities.  From Silesia in the south it meanders through Kraków, then via Sandomierz to the nation’s capital, Warsaw.  Continuing north it sweeps past Płock and Torun, finally emptying out into the delta beside Gdansk, on the Baltic.

All kinds of craft use the waterway

All kinds of craft use the waterway

In Krakow the tourist gondolas are numerous

In Krakow, there are numerous gondolas for the tourists

You can stroll through the centre on either river bank, and both will afford you fine views of Wawel Castle.  If you’ve never been, my K is for Krakow will take you on a tour of the heart of the city, Stare Miasto.  It is a beautiful place.  Or you could sit on the terrace of the Japanese Cultural Centre, gazing across the river, and sip your wine in style.  But for now we’ll keep walking, under bridges and over bridges, in the delicious sunshine.

Underneath the arches

Underneath the arches, Wawel ever present in the background

Always, boats have me reaching for the camera

Gazing down into a tethered boat

Just beyond Most Grunwaldskiego, with its rattling trams, you can see the spires of Na Skalce, the Pauline Church- a special place. Let’s take a little diversion there before we return to the river.

The Pauline Church and Monastery

The Pauline Church and Monastery

The grounds of the church are very beautiful

The grounds of the church are very beautiful

With a fountain and statue at its centre

With a fountain and statue at the centre

Long columns and statues

Tall columns and statues of bishops

And majestic heraldry

Majestic heraldry

Combining modern and ancient

Combining modern and ancient

While Pope John Paul II looks tenderly on

While Pope John Paul II looks gently on

Named for the rocky hill, Skalka, on which it was built, this is Kraków’s oldest shrine and Poland’s second holiest sanctuary after the Jasna Gora monastery at Czestochowa.  King Boleslaw II, the Bold, had Kraków bishop Stanisław put to death here in 1079, creating another martyr in the battle between Church and State.  Stanisław was canonised and throughout the Middle Ages his cult was pivotal in forming the Polish nation, with an emphasis on the accountability of those in power. Following their coronation, Polish kings made a point of doing ritual penance at this sanctuary.

Beneath the church is a crypt, cut into the rock of the hill, now a mausoleum to famous Poles, including Stanisław Wyspianski, locally born painter and writer.

Back on the river bank it's time to board one of those restaurants

Back on the river bank, it’s time to board one of those restaurants

And sample a little szarlotka? (apple tart)

And sample a little szarlotka? (apple tart)

I’m going to leave you sitting in the sunshine while I amble a little further.  I can’t sit still for too long and you won’t get lost if you stay by the river.  See you soon!

Ending as I began, with the hot air balloon

I’ll end as I began, with the hot air balloon

For anyone not familiar with my Monday walks, I host this feature every Monday and anyone is welcome to join in.  All you need to do is send me a link to your walk in the Comments below, or include a link to my walks in your post.  It’s up to you which you prefer to do, and you can join in on any day of the week.  I will include your link at the end of next week’s walk, to give everyone a chance to see it, and share on social media when I read it.  Happy walking!

I had a terrific response to my walk last week so there are some wonderful shares below.  I’m going to start you off though with a Memorial Day posting from Yvette.  Such is her charisma that she even got President Obama to join my walks!  :

Please spend some time with my friends.  These are all terrific reads!


  1. Statues of bishops, brilliant image, Jo! You have a small camera now – I don’t dare to think what you could do with my Oscar. Nia, wants an Oscar too. *smile Fantastic walk – I love how they have decorated those pillars, very interesting. Or is it chess pieces??? You have a fetish now for under the bridge shots – like it very much.

    1. I’d be useless with a ‘proper’ camera, Vivi. I don’t have the patience to play with settings and such. And I’m quite often disappointed with my results. Sometimes the photos are so much better in my head. 🙂
      They are replica chess pieces. Not sure why they are there. I thought it was a temporary exhibition the first time I saw them but they were still there, to my surprise.

      1. Jo, I don’t play around with settings neither – like you I don’t have patience – I use the macro .. sport and night setting. Everything is taken on Auto settings.
        You take fantastic photos and of course we have one picture in our head, but I think it’s when we don’t give the subject the time it needs – so for my moon shots I took over 30 images, and used 8 ..
        Anyhow I think you will be a “killer” with a little more advanced camera.

      2. Wow, have you taken your camera swiming …. silly girl.
        I think a new camera is about time. But it’s hard to give up a faithful friend.

  2. Wow. it has been more than 20 years since I have been in Krakow. So clean, now; and beautiful and tourist friendly! Do you speak Polish? I barely do any more, though I was pretty fluent long ago. Help me with “Przystan Wawel”. I remember “przystanek” meaning “a stop” like a bus stop or a tram stop. This looks like a floating restaurant or bar. Does it mean something like “stopping place”? Like, place to take a break near Wawel?

    1. Yes, Wawel stop would be a fair translation, Kate. The marina in Szczawnica was labelled ‘przystan’ too. I don’t really speak Polish, or not enough to be much use to me anyway. By the time I return to the UK I’m just starting to get the hang of it but I never keep it going so I have to start afresh each visit. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I think it’s nice that the hot air balloon matches with the church 🙂 , and how you begin and end with the balloon and that parting scene over the art display. I love those tall bishops’ statues and those painted columns too. It looks like another lovely walk, Jo. You must be getting ready for your trip to Tavira!! Have fun!! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Cathy 🙂 Yes, trying to tuck my last couple of Polish posts in this week! Pouring with rain here so apart from the ironing and watching Rafa I’ve plenty of blogging time. Done t’ai chi this morning so that’s my healthy bit over. Coffee and naughtiness from now on 🙂

      1. Sorry about the rain, Jo! I forgot to mention that delectable apple tart in this post. I would sure like some of that this morning. Off to work I go: first day of my part-time class. I think I only have 10 students, so it should be a breeze!! I hope… Good for you and your t’ai chi. 🙂

  4. come sempre le tue foto svelano la tua grande personalità, la curiosità di scoprire e l’eleganza e l’originalità dello scatto, tu sai veramente entrare nell’anima stessa di quello che vedi e che riesci a far conoscere a chi ti segue, sei una grandissima fotografa, cara Giovanna!
    un grande abbraccio con ammirazione

    1. You are far too kind, Ventis 🙂 I just like to have a little fun, and then to share it. 🙂
      We receive so much love in this blogging world of ours. I don’t think I could live without it.
      Hugs speeding to Italy from a wet and windy England. Un bacio, cara!

  5. So enjoyed your last walk in Poland Jo. That hot air balloon is huge, great shot! I wouldn’t dare to go up in one of those things though…bad enough having to fly 😮 I like the idea of stopping at the on-the-water restaurants and that apple pie did look quite tempting! Love the river and as always your great photos. Hope you enjoyed your walk in the moors and the rain held off for you…it’s been drizzly and grey here all day…still, I got a walk in but just into town to my Asperger’s support group so nothing exciting 😉
    My blogging plans for this week are already going pearshaped…never mind…see what tomorrow brings! 🙂

    1. I started to write ‘U is for Urszula’ tonight and part way through realised I’d already got one, Sherri! Change of plan 🙂
      I did go up in the balloon, but it was tethered. Fabulous views but I held tight! The weather’s a bit crazy but it was fine here on Monday. Camera dilemma meant I didn’t get any shots 😦
      Hope tomorrow is happy, whatever it brings, Sherri 🙂

      1. Ahh…changes of plan! Glad I’m not the only one haha 😉
        Well you are braver than me Jo, tethered or not I wouldn’t do it but I can well imagine the views would have been incredible!
        Sorry about your camera problems though…and yes, let’s hope tomorrow is indeed happy for us both 🙂

  6. Such a shame about the camera mishap Jo :-/ hope it’s salvageable .
    So many great shots you’ve taken here along your riverside walk . Those columns and bishops I like very much … the fancy pinnacles and turrets … oh and I don’t suppose I would have missed out on a slice of that delicious looking Apple Tart either 🙂

    1. I’m playing among different turrets tonight, Poppy, in an effort to bring the Polish saga up to date. (I’ve even got a ghost in store) 🙂
      Thanks for your kind words. I think the camera is going to survive, though I probably don’t deserve it. I can now open the shutter and view the photos stored on camera, though I haven’t used it yet.

      1. Oh I feel a breath holding moment for you at some point Jo … not tonight though perhaps 😉 …you get on with those
        turrets … Rapunzel … Knights … Shining …

    1. Thanks, Elaine 🙂 It’s such a lovely surprise when another contribution comes in. My armchair takes me to some wonderful places! Thanks a lot for joining me.

  7. Now that is one HUGE hot air balloon for sure. Great shot Jo!

    Now that is an idyllic scene for sure hon. Wow! It’s so beautiful there and those swans are just so beautiful. I love how they posed for you. 😀

    Those columns are just fascinating. Such great artwork! Stunning shots of this beautiful place Jo. I hope you saved me some apple tart! LOL! One of my favourite treats – with a glass of fresh milk of course. 😀

    Thanks for the lovely walk and for sharing hon. ♥ Big Hugs ♥

    1. Thanks, Sonel 🙂 On to my second cup of coffee on this drizzly morning. This Summer of ours ebbs and flows like the tide.
      The view from the balloon was fabulous, Sonel, and it was tethered so no fear of drifting away anywhere. A shame really! 🙂 Take care.

  8. Another lovely walk with you along another river. You like the water don’t you? And I liked the tart, very nice. I think you are dong a fine job in encouraging people to visit Poland.

    Hope you resolve your technical problems. I spilt red wine on a camera, which didn’t do it much good, but eventually it worked again (though I did buy the OH a new one for his birthday yet he still brings it up!!) I shall have another local walk for you later in the week. I am now off to catch up on where everyone else has been walking 🙂
    Jude xx

    1. I was so cross with myself, Jude. It was just a morning walk and I don’t usually carry water with me but I have a new small cooler bag which seemed ideal. Unfortunately I put the camera, without its cover, in the bottom and the bottle leaked! I took a few shots but I was just getting going when the screened fuzzed up and the camera wouldn’t function. It was a perfect day up there too 😦 The camera’s sitting on a towel forlornly. Me too! I’ve gone off water all together 😦

  9. Fantastic stroll, Jo. The swans are really lovely, and the apple tart would go down so well after a good walk. Those puffy clouds in the blue sky are lovely. I so enjoyed my walk with you. 🙂

      1. Yes, 3:00 – 4:00 posted Sunday morning, I try to schedule them to go early in the day each week. 🙂 I thought it would be a quiet post for me but found a surprise right in the middle of the hour. 😉

    1. I still just about fit into my jeans, Jill 🙂 No wonder I have to do all this walking!
      I’ve been near drowned the last couple of days so it was a relief to see a bit of blue again today.

  10. Dzień dobry, Jo! Your photos and descriptions of Krakow (and Poland) are wonderful! Brings back happy memories of when I visited the land of my maternal grandparents!

      1. Thanks for the opportunity Jo. The beaver was an exciting find for sure! I am so slow most people walk faster than i run so come on over. We will go get some croissants after . 🙂

      2. I’m trying to watch French Open tennis, answer my comments, dry out my camera (which I managed to get water inside this morning- yikes!- no photos!) and I have laptop problems too. I think you’d better keep the croissants warm a while but I’ll be there! 🙂

    1. The little mini tour buses get everywhere, Viv. One or two pulled up to offer us a ride when we got caught in torrential rain (but I haven’t told that story yet) I’m trying to watch the French Open and battling laptop problems at the minute. Yikes! 🙂

  11. Happy Monday, Jo. Another great walk, full of interesting tidbits and photos of life and culture along the river. Your walking participants are growing. Such a great idea and I’m pleased Obama joined in. 🙂

  12. I didn’t even see the Wisła when I spent a day in Krakòw. What a loss! Although I suspect your Wisła is even more beautiful than the real thing.

    My family have plans for the length of the river: J. wants to buy a little wooden boat and examine it that way; my daughter and her family can’t wait for the cycle way along its length to be built. The twins have their first helmets, in readiness.

    Thanks for listing my walks in your round up. I’m honoured.

    1. You know, we really are quite in tune, Meg 🙂 Since I discovered the route the river takes I’ve always wanted to navigate the length of it and end up (or start) in Gdansk.
      I got some fabulous walks last week and am really enjoying doing this 🙂

  13. An eclectic walk Jo!! That balloon is indeed incongruous in that landscape. I love the giant chess pieces and the tall columns with statues of bishops. And the apple pie of course 🙂

    1. It’s a lovely city, Madhu. This was on our last day in Krakow and we spent quite a while on that riverboat, just soaking up the atmosphere. (and cake!) 🙂

  14. a gorgeous walk Jo, and I learnt some more about Poland … I love the river views but I could just as easily float off for a bird’s eye view!

    1. It was superb up in the balloon, Christine! We didn’t do it this trip but we have in the past. I think there’s a photo in the Krakow post that I meant to include here, but enough is enough 🙂

    1. I meant to post my photo riding high in the balloon, Drake, but I forgot! I think it’s in the K is for Krakow post anyway 🙂 I’m off to the Moors walking this morning. Have a good day!

      1. Enjoy the moor walk – amazing landscape… 🙂

        I bought the TV series “Heartbeat” on dvd for my old parents back in Denmark – it is recorded in the area around the North York Moors especially Whitby and the village of Goathland – they are very excited about the beautiful nature footage… 🙂

      2. My mother in Norway watch “Heartbeat” every day. 🙂 Now I got the chance to see it too.
        3 years ago Klausbernd and myself went to the North Yorkshire Moors and just by chance we ended up in Goathland. We had never seen the “Heartbeat” or heard about the place. You can’t imagine the expression on our faces as we turned around the corner and were set back in time. The expression of the locals were even better; you have never ever heard of ..?!?!?!?

      3. I was further north on the Moors today and had a calamity with my camera, so no joyous memories of today, I’m afraid. But it’s close enough for me to be a regular visitor (and I hope that my camera will be ok- I got water inside!)

  15. As ever, a great walk Jo, and I can have a nice stroll in interesting places virtually even if I couldn’t manage it in reality due to declining stamina!

    1. This one’s quite gentle, Sue, and you have a choice of riverside restaurants. But the armchair will do just as well. Thanks for joining me. Have a restful day. I’m off to the Moors (walking, of course 🙂 )

  16. Fun juxtaposition in the first photo. I am sorry to hear this is your last Polish walk Jo. I am having a rather difficult day at the office, but I will link my scheduled Monday walk to this post now 🙂 Happy bank holiday!

    1. Thank you so much, Paula 🙂 A busy day at the office! Ugh!! My last Polish walk but not my last Polish post by any means 🙂
      The sun is finally shining here so I’m off to the Moors soon. I took so many rainy day photos I think that’ll need a post soon too 🙂 Thanks again for your support.

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