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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!