On the Sunday we all got on a minibus that Dominika and Ewa had organised and set off for Cracow. Cracow at one time was the capital of Poland and as such still retains much of the glory of those times.
Our first stop was outside the Hilton Hotel where we met up with Susanne and Nina from Sweden who had arrived in Cracow the night before and decided to spend the night there in anticipation of our visit the next day.
They assured us that they had not spent the night at the Hilton... and we believed them. on the picture on the right you can also see the charming guide that we had who took us all tound the city and proved to be remarkable in the amount of information she was able to tell us. I can only remember a fraction of everything she said and that is really a lot as it is.
Our first real stop was the castle of Wawel.
This is the ramp up to the main entrance.
The castle is really very impressive and, for me, there is something essentially Polish in its construction. It has a long history but the main thing I remember is that during the war it was the official residence of the German governor of Poland and that now it is missing all the artwork from inside. In fact we didn't go inside as Ewa advised us that there is really nothing to see.
Apart from the castle itself the other important element of Wawel is the cathedral.
It looked spectacular but we didn't get to see the inside as they were in the middle of mass and tourists weren't wanted, understandably.
In fact on the door there were a couple of charming "guards" posted to keep us out and to welcome all the real devote.
Opposite the entrance to the cathedral there is a statue of Pope John Paul, who of course lived for quite a long time in the city and is beloved of them. In fact a short time after this we were able to see the house where he grew up in the city.
We moved further into the castle and into this central courtyard which I found really spectacular.
We left the castle through another gateway and were greeted by this scene of the river below us.
Out of the castle we headed into the city itself, still following out guide, and passed John Paul's house when he lived in Cracow. This is now a museum but unfortunately we really didn't have time to visit it.
Finally our guided tour ended in the central square of Cracow. It was bitterly cold and bits of Guillem had started to turn blue so when the choice was offered of going to look at some churches, a shopping centre or to the restaurant where we were to have lunch for something hot to drink... we really had to think hard.
After lunch we did indeed go back to visit the very original market that is in the middle of the square and bought some things too, one of them was the very original post card that we sent to the school.
We walked around the square some more seeing the sights and admiring the centre of Cracow.
Then once we were all together again we set off towards the point where we were to meet the bus once again. This was in a street near the walls of the city next to what appeared to be the eternal flame to the fallen in some war or other. By the way, it was out.