More unusual driving – maybe our navigation is set for no-tolls, because we were directed a few times off the main road and through small Czech towns. We were in no hurry and preferred being able to drive through the little towns anyway. We had planned a few small stops over the past two days to see particular sites, but we thought it best to just plug along. There is just too much to see and we will have to return I guess.
We took one random exit hoping to find a grocery store and perhaps a WC. We drove until we found a “super market” but we couldn’t find the parking lot. We ended up parking by some apartments – Soviet style apartments – and walked across to the store. The produce section was a bit pathetic, but both the apples and the oranges were some of the best we have eaten. We bought some Studenska chocolate because we heard that was a local favorite along with some other snacks for the car. No WC to be found but we discovered an “Amigo” gas station with very clean bathrooms and an ice cream treat. We thought we would keep our eyes open for Amigo in the future but haven’t seen another one yet.
When we crossed into Poland our phone began to work again and this definitely gave us more confidence. We drove to Krakow and found our hotel and then headed into old town. We ate dinner at one of the closest “milk bars” that we could find and then headed to the market square. Krakow’s market square is huge and in Medieval Europe it was the largest. The evening was warm and we wandered about, in and out of stores and happy to see some cool churches. We sat and enjoyed people watching and were glad to hear the Krakow trumpeter play on the hour. Tradition says that sometime around the 12th century the trumpet warning called from this tour to alert Krakow of the invasion of the Tatars but partway through the warning the trumpeter was shot through the neck by an arrow and his song was cut short. So every hour a trumpeter plays a tune that is cut short. He works a 24 hour shift and plays it in all four directions each hour. We were a few blocks from the square but with our windows open I could hear it a couple times during the night when the streets were finally quiet.
I can’t remember if I told you about border crossings? To go from Germany to Austria there were random border checks – they would stop a car and check papers – so we would have our vaccination cards and passports ready but try to look like locals so we could get waved through, and we were always waved through. We were told that if the kids took the train from Salzburg to Munich they might get some hassle since they are American, but we could drive right over the border and catch the train in Germany. That obviously wasn’t a problem. From Germany to Czechia there wasn’t any sort of border control, but we were also on a rather small road. They did check our vaccination papers at the hotel but not at the restaurants in Czechia (as they had in Germany and Austria). There was no border control entering Poland but we saw a sign that said something with the word kontrolla so we got our papers but… nothing. Our hotel checked our passports but almost scoffed when I offered our vaccination papers, and no restaurant has asked at all. Just a little Covid update for October 2021 travel.
We can already see that we will need to come back to Krakow! We immediately love it and have such a short time here!
Not too many photos today – the first few are our hiking to the grocery store, our little black Kia next to the Soviet-era apartments (they are so ugly when the rest of the country has so much character), our happy moment of finding ice cream and Krakow photos including the tower from which the trumpet plays. Ok – I just added a few more of our first pierogis, awesome lemonade, hotel room and that moment of panic when you come to a toll booth but have not zloties (they take visa). And I’ll add one more keeping you up-to-date with the view from our hotel room window.