I've been a little delinquent with the blog, to that I must admit. Between recovering from jet lag and getting a new English Village up and running in six days flat, my mind hasn't exactly been blog-oriented. Plus, how do you address nearly three weeks in Krakow in a bloggable form?
So first, I'll talk about Krakow's Old Town (Stare Miasto), which contains the Rynek Glowny, a huge square in the center of town. The oldness of Krakow is what struck me the most. And not in a dirty, broken-down way (New England textile mills), or even in a backward, unmodernized way (how people stereotype central Pennsylvania), and especially not in a plasticky, designed-to-look-old-but-is-actually-brand-new way (Disney's Thunder Mountain Railroad). It was, at the risk of sounding like an uneducated teenager, awesomely old.
Maybe it's my lack of real European experience (9-year-olds can't appreciate much), but seeing universities and cathedrals and buildings that have been around since before Columbus got to the "New World" was disorientingly incredible. The oldness of Asian temples and cities isn't quite the same; when most buildings are made of wood, it gets replenished over the years so what you see is basically a replica of what was first built. "Europe" old and "Asia" old feel entirely different.
While Jonathan was working at his new lab (at Akademia Gorniczo-... let's call it AGH), I spent a lot of time walking around the Stare Miasto, taking pictures of buildings whose names I didn't know, and enjoying the fact that I could buy pretzels on every corner. In Taiwan, my host brother calls pretzels "salt cookies," and you can only get them at Costco.
So, without further ado, here are the pictures I took of some "old stuff" around the city center. I could look up the names for you (or you could tell me), but I think seeing (not reading) what was all within a 5-minute walk from my temporary apartment might better reflect the "wow" feeling I had for much of my stay in Krakow.
All of these pictures were taken on my first Monday afternoon in Krakow. For those with a burning desire to be educated, I'm making a Powerpoint with pictures and captions for my students, which I will certainly, eventually share with all of you.