Less than 24 hours after returning to Vienna from our Prague adventure, we were on the road again. Krakow was our destination for a long weekend visit. Poland. Land of some of my people. Although we are not sure exactly where our Polish people emigrated from (paging the research department!), the food brings a flood of happy thoughts of my Italian Grandmother cooking Polish specialties, learned through marriage into the Slavic clan.
This union of Italian and Pole makes sense in the context of Bona Sforza, the Italian royal who married Polish King Sigismund the Old in the 14th Century. The Queen brought Italy and Poland together, helping to incorporate Italian foods and artistic styles of the Renaissance into the Polish Court.
Italian poet Gianbattista Guarini wrote of the connection:
"I luoghi sono ben lontani, ma gli anni son vicini"
"the places are so far away, but the spirit is close"
I get it.
|St. Mary's Basilica|
|Cloth Hall Market|
|Saint John Paul II|
|Wawel Cathedral Complex at the Castle|
|St. Florian's Gate|
|St. Kinga's Cathedral in Wieliczka Mine (all made from rock salt)|
We also continued educating ourselves and our 10 year old about Hitler and Nazi atrocities, by visiting parts of the Jewish ghetto. Polish Jews lived in Krakow from the 13th century until Nazis forced more than 65,000 men, women and children into the Podgorze ghetto and systematically orchestrated their deaths there or in concentration camps, like nearby Auschwitz. Even the Old Jewish Cemetery (established in 1535) was destroyed by the Nazis. Tombstones were demolished to make paving stones for the camps. Much of what is viewed today is post-war restoration.
|Remuh Cemetery-Old Jewish Cemetery|
|Building in Kazimierz|
|Memorial to the 65,000|
Oh Krakow. We did not have enough time to fully appreciate all of your gifts. We will return. Our desire for pierogis and golumpki (aka piggies), along with a breaded pork chop and an ice cold Tyskie is far too great to keep us away.