You might remember, a few weeks ago, I had the bubbly and delicious company of Gilly on the banks of the River Wisła (Vistula) in Warsaw. Fast forward a mere 5 days and there I was, beside that same river but many miles further south, in Poland’s second city, Kraków. A mighty river, this one, it begins its journey on the Baltic Coast and flows south for 1,022 kilometres (635 miles). How I got there is another story, but my mission today is simply to take you for a wander and, as luck would have it, a boat ride.
Earlier that morning I’d been in Kraków’s green and leafy suburbs, assisting with toddlers aged 3 and 18 months on an outing to the park. Wilting in the heat, the little family had been glad to return home. A cooling drink, then I hopped a bus into a city that never fails to delight me.
With no particular aim in mind, as I approached the river it was almost automatic to jump off. If cooling breezes were to be found anywhere in Kraków, this would be the place. Truth be told, I didn’t get very far before the notion of a glass of wine and an icecream became very appealing indeed. What could be finer than sitting on the deck of a restaurant boat, facing lovely Na Skalce (the Church on the Rock)? The steady hum of traffic crossing Most Grunwaldzki became a soothing murmur. Hooray! Here comes the paddle steamer, big wheels churning. And a burst of speedboat cleaves the water in front of Wawel Castle.
I couldn’t sit there enjoying myself all day. Time to cross over the river. But scarcely was I on the other side than temptation struck again. No, not cake! The first time I ever came to Kraków I walked my husband’s legs off. He was more than happy to agree to a boat ride, just to sit down. Unfortunately on that occasion the ride was accompanied by a light drizzle, whereas this was the perfect day to be afloat. One of those lovely little wooden boats was about to leave the jetty. It was meant to be, and 30zł (about £6) for an hour wasn’t going to break the bank.
The boat sailed in one direction along the river, as far as the Salwator Church, then returned to the jetty. This half hour trip cost 15zł, but if you stayed on board it then sailed in the opposite direction, passing Na Skalce and a sequence of bridges before returning to the jetty. This second leg I found fascinating as the area was less familiar to me. An idea was germinating that I might return the following day to explore on foot.
Trams and trains passed overhead, but it was the bridge Kładka Ojca Bernatka that particularly captured my imagination, and I resolved to come back for a closer look at the figures suspended over the river. A building with an industrial chimney and appearing to be clad in corten steel also caught my eye. On the river bank, the footpath stretches grandly into the distance, stylish riverboat restaurants just calling out to be visited.
Disembarking, I look wistfully up at Wawel Castle. No time today. I am being summoned to ‘obiad’, late afternoon lunch with my Polish family. Walking back to the bus stop I mingle with school trips, and the riverside coach park bustling with vendors. Billboards shout holiday destinations, demanding my attention, but who would willingly leave this fair city?
Come with me next week and we’ll explore the world beyond that beautiful bridge. Meanwhile there are many stories to tell. Thanks for bearing with me as I flit from here to there. I’m grounded now, for a little while, and looking forward to my English summer. I hope you’ve got the kettle on as there are some wonderful walks to share. I’ll go easy on the cake as I over-indulged at an Open Garden event yesterday.
From high in the Alps to the lovely capital of Malta, with my good friend Drake :
You can always rely on Debbie to make life colourful and interesting :
And for Susan to write beautifully, whatever the weather :
32 years together! Lady Lee shares a special celebration :
Share an extravaganza of food with Jackie, and then…
Jesh takes a look at life, always in her own unique way :
While Jaspa takes us back in history for a closer look at these ruins :
Persistence rewarded for Eunice and ruins of an entirely different nature at the end of her walk :
Emma treats us to one of Wales’ great beauty spots, lovely paintings, and even a hang glider ride!
Who IS that mysterious lady on the beach? Walking with Meg always makes me smile :
It’s a while since Jude took a walk. She’s usually too busy in the garden. Wild orchids and butterflies, a lovely reward :
Another orchid, I think, from my lovely Gilly, enfolded in lushness with a dramatic dragonfly :
And in complete contrast, Cathy finds spellbinding beauty in the desert :
A magnificent collection and many thanks to one and all. Join me any time on Jo’s Monday walk and I’ll try to make you welcome. The sun is still shining here in the north east and it’s time I rejoined my English walking group. Wishing you all a lovely week!