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. 🙂


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