It was 8 years ago that I was first taken to Tyniec by my neice, Weronika. Back then, it was all part of the newness of Poland in my experience, and my memories are indistinct. I barely managed to grab a photograph! Time to set that straight, but it was not quite so straightforward as I expected.
On a beautiful, sunny day I set out along the river bank of the Vistula, from Most Debnicki, in the heart of Kraków. The route hugged the river closely and the name of the road, Tyniecka, seemed encouraging. As I drew further away from the city, the path became quieter, with just the occasional jogger or cyclist for company. It was wonderfully peaceful. Too good to be true?
What I hadn’t allowed for is that soon after the above bridge, the footpath runs out. The only option becomes a busy road with no footpath on either side. For a while I carried on, trying not to mind the passing traffic, but a sign suggested it was still 9kms to Tyniec. The option? A bus, of course! No. 112 runs about every 20-30 minutes, and deposits you in the pretty village of Tyniec. Signs point the way to the monastery.
Tyniec lies 12km south west of Kraków in an area of limestone Jurassic hills, the highest of which is 293metres above sea level. The first settlement here dates back to 3000 B.C. In around 1040 a Benedictine abbey was founded by King Casimir the Restorer. It was destined to have a long and turbulent history. Aron, the first abbot of Tyniec , became a bishop of Kraków, with the responsibility to restore order and cement the position of the Church in the newly formed Kingdom of Poland. In 1259 the village was destroyed in the Mongol invasion of Poland. This was just one of a sequence of assaults. In the Middle Ages the River Vistula was a political border. The Abbey would no sooner be repaired and extended than it was beseiged again.
When Poland disappeared from the map of Europe, divided between Austria, Prussia and Russia, the Abbey was used as a fortress to hold off the Russian troops. In 1816 the Abbey was finally dissolved by the Austrian authorities and left to decay. It wasn’t until July 1939, on the eve of World War II, that the Benedictines returned to their ruin. Restoration was begun in 1947 and looking at the complex today it’s hard to imagine all that has gone before.
A series of information boards showed the devastation. I would have liked to take a tour of the Abbey, but these were conducted in Polish unless you had pre-booked an English tour. I doubted that I would benefit much and opted to simply use my eyes. The life of the monastery continues uninterrupted from 5.30 in the morning, with the awakening bell, until 20.30 and the beginning of ‘night time silence’. The website gives details of how a monk spends his day, and much more.
In the centre of a large courtyard sits a well, which reaches all the way down to river level below us. There is a wonderful sense of peace. The most recent additions to the complex include modern reception and shop but they are not intrusive. High on the wall, a small cafe, with beautiful views down to the river. I know you would have liked to see my piece of szarlotka, but it melted into my mouth too quickly to be caught on camera. Accommodation is available for guests, and I can’t help feeling that this could be a very special place to spend a few days.
I had wondered if it would be possible to come to Tyniec by boat from Kraków. Steps lead down through the trees to the river below, and there I found the evidence. Sadly, only in Summer, on Saturdays and Sundays. It would make a wonderful alternative route back.
The best view of the monastery would be from the opposite bank of the Vistula, but I saw all that I could. The path threads beneath the mighty limestone crags and disappears off around the bend. The temptation to follow it was strong, but ‘home’ lay in the opposite direction.
Beside the ferry point there’s a small cafe where you can enjoy a beer and a few Polish snacks. A path leads back towards Kraków and I followed it for a while, not sure if it would rejoin the ‘main’ road through Tyniec. A grand looking restaurant sits back beneath the cliffs, and in the distance, views of Bielany.
Satisfied with my outing, I retraced my steps up through the village and back to the bus stop. This time I stayed on the bus back to the centre. The rest would keep for another day.
Thanks to everybody for their patience and the kind contributions that still flowed in despite my wandering ways. There are double rations from a few people this week, and you may have seen some of these but please be sure not to miss any. If you would like to join me, now or in the future, details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page. Just click on the logo above. Now please grab that coffee and settle down for a good read.
Drake has two offerings- a beautiful moat and castle :
Or maybe Lorelei would suit you better :
Anabel keeps on finding sunshine in Shetland. A neat trick!
Who’s up for a little turtle spotting with Violet Sky?
A really good guided walk takes a lot of beating, as Laura will tell you :
Elisa goes people watching in the rain, in that most beautiful of cities :
Lessons in geology, and pure beauty, from my pal Meg :
While Ruth manages to combine beauty and practicality :
Whooshy water always appeals to me, and Rosemay is lovely company :
You’ll enjoy this sunset with her too :
Over the hill takes on a whole new connotation with Pauline and her four-legged friend :
And you can just picture Pauline and Jack pootling about these stalls :
Then stopping for fish and chips (not greedy- sharing a portion of chips)
Jesh shares some of her beautiful paintings :
And Jill shows us the beauty of her native coastline :
The scenery’s a little more bleak with Jaspa :
Tish is known to be fond of elephants. Combined with bubbles, let’s finish with a smile!
Many thanks to all of you and I hope you have a wonderful week ahead. (weather prospects in England are good!) See you all next Monday, when we’ll probably be back in the Algarve. Take care till then!