Day 2 - April 29th 2008

Going back to Nature

After a granola breakfast and a perfect shower we were heading for the hills. Getting out of Kracow was relatively easy, even though the way was 100% correct. It was not long and we were out in the bush, bush and we turned off to drive through the park. It was very pretty with lots of rocks. It is called Ojcowsky National Park. Lots of green with nobody else around. After a while we have found that we had driven out the other side so a quick U-Turn was made and as this time we were driving the other way, we could actually see the castle. We parked and payed out 10Zt tax and headed up the hill to the ruins of the Ojcow Zamek (chateau). As they were just opening the ticket office, we were privileged to be the first customers of the day to pay the 5zt taxation. So, in we went and up in the gate tower was a model of what the place used to look like in its prime. Impressive! Then we had a look into the watchtower, the well and admired the view from the ruins ‘living quarters’.

Then we decided to walk along the valley for a while. Had a giggle at a lady trying to protect her sausage dog from a small terrier. As we walked down the road along a many a summerhouse with ‘noclegi’ signs on almost all of them. Then we saw a tree that looked like it had been felled by a beaver? A EUROPEAN BEAVER? (Earlier on we had stopped at the Krakow gate (big Rocks) and ventured down to the very beautiful stream where we discovered a beaver sign.) We continued on down the road until we came upon a lookout. Against the best wishes of our legs, we decide to climb it anyway. It was a very nice view over the valley up to the ruin. We could also see some fishponds down below which led us to investigate. It was a fish farm with fresh water coming in from an aqueduct into the ponds. There were 100’s of little trout swimming around in these ponds. Many a feast will be had at the end of summer.

So back to the car and on elsewhere to find our lunch at our next destination, Zamek Pieskowa skala. We parked in the car park for a lowly 6.50zt after the attendant had told us the restaurant was open and cooking. As we walked into a cold, dark and empty restaurant smelling of nothing that resembled food, we thought ”You lying bastard”. Two rings of the bell later and surprisingly a friendly cook came out and took our order. Zuz had the tackle soup, which just looked plain wrong, a big sausage and half a boiled egg floating in a sour soup - hence the name ‘tackle soup’. Neil played it safe and had a more conventional meal of steak and chips.

All full up we struggled up some more stairs to the castle. The gate said tickets in the museum. There were no directions or mention of any museum on the castle map. Zuz finally found the museum by climbing an anonymous set of stairs deep in the castle. We paid our 10zt each and went through a tour of history ( namely gothic, renaissance, baroque, rocoque and classicist art and furniture in two stories of the castle). The thing that got me the most was that they would need 1000pl to go on the tour each day just to pay the wages for the people paid to watch us watch the exhibits. (15 guards for 15 small rooms and no photos allowed inside either.)

Next it was out of the castle and to Hurcules mace which is a 50m high club shaped limestone rock. Zuz took a photo for a passing family whose dad thanked us with a ”dzenuji, grazie and thank you” Talk about well mannered. Gave us a good laugh. Zuz also managed to butcher the cheesy rock-in-hand photo before returning to the car via a couple of memorials, the unknown soldier and the 63 victims of the ‘freedom uprising’

It was time to end our day in the wilds, and all was good until we hit Krakow with the map, yet again being incorrect and not showing all of the no left turns (lets not blame the navigator, shall we). This caused us to circumnavigate the old town before we found our way and also managed to find a parking spot outside our apartment. We rested and then decided to go out for dinner. After a bit of a stroll and not much luck, we took the fall back option of the restaurant offering Georgian Cuisine and I was extremely glad we did. We both had beautiful meals with 3 sauces and it was literally as cheap as chips with a very nicely tasting beer (called something like Ocie). We watched some fire twirlers come fire spitting dudes after dinner in the square. We also walked down to Florians gate and up Florian St, which was a very pretty walk.

Back to Krakow page or on to Day 3.