for fellow travellers

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Wawel castle

The Wawel Royal Castle and the Wawel Hill constitute the most historically and culturally important site in Poland. For centuries the residence of the kings of Poland and the symbol of Polish statehood, the Castle is now one of the country’s premier art museums.
A column fragment of Wawel Castle has been incorporated in Chicago's landmark Tribune Tower. Located in its own niche over the upper-left corner of the main entrance, it is a visual tribute to Chicago's large Polish populace, the largest such presence outside of the Republic of Poland.
We had decided to go to Wawel castle in the morning and the Oskar Schindler factory after that. Breakfast was at the hotel, assembled ourselves, we had wai wai, mathri and tea in the kitchenette, in the apartment. We checked out of the hotel, and put our luggage in the room next to the reception. There was a water dispenser in that room also, from where we filled up for our drinking water. Drinking water was an additional expense in Krakow, as we were not sure if tap water was safe for drinking.
The receptionist told us it was best to walk down to the Wawel castle, or rather upto the castle, as it was an uphill walk.
Just outside the hotel
on the way to the castle, we bought a pretzel from a street vendor.

The ticket which we bought was for circuit A, the family ticket cost us 222zl,
The lady at the counter guided us, she told us to do the Lost wavel first at 11:30am, then the Armour and Treasury, next the State Apartments, then the guided English tour of the Royal Apartments at 2pm.
We took two student audo guides. The audio guides were modified iPods.

 We had to store our backpack in the locker room before entering the state apartments
We took a break after the State apartments as we had an hour left for the guided tour of the Royal Apartments.
There was a lovely cafe in the grounds with a great view.
A panoramic shot from the cafe.
We had blueberry and strawberry tarts. Coffee and sandwiches (open sandwiches on flat bread).
The Wawel castle is a historic residence museum. We got familiar with the history of Poland.The palace was not opulent as it has been plundered several times. The striking part of the apartments in Wawel castle, were the stoves, which were there in most rooms. They were to keep the room warm. Servants would put keep putting the wood from the outside and would ensure that it would keep their masters warm. Along with the stove there was the fireplace also. Another thing was the 'small beds' only 5feet in the apartments, the kings used to sleep half sitting up, as lying down was a posture of the dead. 
I thought John III Sobieski was the most impressive of the Polish kings, he was married to Maria Kazimiera. The Royal couple became famous for their love letters, most of which were written from 1665 to 1683, when they were parted either due to John III Sobieski's military engagements or her travels to Paris. The letters give insight not only into the authentic feelings of the loving couple, but also their reflections on contemporary issues and difficulties, as well as down-to-earth matters concerning the royal household and little day-to-day decisions made by the monarch, who often consulted his wife about them. Published long after the death of both of them. After that we started the return journey by returning the audio guides, going out through the Dragon's den.

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