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A July Trip to Poland and the Czech Republic

A July Trip to Poland and the Czech Republic

Old Jul 27th, 2022, 02:01 PM
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I know it is often tempting to compare Warsaw to Krakow and which is better. I did so myself as we were planning this trip, not so much whether we visited one or the other but how we allocate our time between the two. Old Town Warsaw aside, Krakow, in my view, has more character and is more visually pleasing. We spent four nights in Krakow and could have easily filled more, but the same is true for Warsaw. Given our limited time, we did not visit the numerous museums that dot the city. We very much enjoyed Wawel, particularly the Cathedral, but also found Kazimierz very pleasant for wandering.


St. Mary's Basilica

Alterpiece at St. Mary's Basilica

Cloth Hall

Wawel Castle

Courtyard at Wawel Castle

Monument at the New Jewish Cemetery

Schindler's Factory

St. Joseph Church

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Old Jul 27th, 2022, 02:04 PM
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And here are a few of our photos from Auschwitz-Birkenau and one from Oswiecim Old Town Square.





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Old Jul 28th, 2022, 08:17 AM
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I didn't go to Warsaw so I can't compare the two. But I can tell you that the historic core of Krakow has a very special vibe of a rather mysterious Eastern European city. Just look at the rynek, which is jaw-dropping, and you will see St Mary's basilica has two towers that are of different architectural styles and heights, one topped with a gothic cupola, the other renaissance. There is an imposing independent tower looming over the cloth hall that looks like it had some connecting wall stripped away, leaving it scarred. When I was there, bats were swooping at high speed toward the tower, making a last-second 90 degree swerve to avoid collision. There is a small romanesque church, St Wojciech, with a dome (!) that occupies one corner of the square. All through the old town is evidence of architecture that had to make do with limited resources. The defensive walls of the city that remain have a wooden gallery attached. Not only is everyhting old old, but it is all of a piece that comes together in a kind of harmonious hodgepodge.
And none of it is completely given over to tourism. It still is very much a place for the Poles to meet, pass through, or stop by the cafes.
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Old Jul 28th, 2022, 01:13 PM
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We visited Krakow, a beautiful city, but we did not visit Warsaw, so it's interesting to see photos of both cities to get an idea of their differences.
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Old Jul 28th, 2022, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by tripplanner001 View Post
Reflecting back on our trip, we most enjoyed the Old Town. While reconstructed, it was full of life while we were there and such a vibrant antidote to the destruction that ravaged the city in World War II, not to mention the centuries of partition and occupation preceding it. We saw Warsaw as a powerful reminder that there could be a viable life after war, especially given where things are in the world today.
I'm just getting a chance to read your report and am enjoying it! Thank you for sharing. I've been to Warsaw briefly twice and had the same feeling - similar to Hiroshima. I am hoping we can get back to that area sometime. Since my previous visits, I've been trying to do some genealogy work and have ancestors who came from areas to the northeast of Warsaw.
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Old Jul 28th, 2022, 05:27 PM
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Shelemm, you’re so right about Krakow. There are so many layers to Krakow and more and more reveal itself with time. And agree with you about the presence of locals throughout Krakow. This was also true in Warsaw, especially outside of the Old Town.

KarenWoo, yes, indeed. Having seen Krakow made me appreciate the faithfulness of the reconstruction in Warsaw’s Old Town even more. At quick look, the Old Town Warsaw is very central Europe. But upon closer examination, especially in the decoration and ornamentation of the buildings, it becomes clearer how much of it is Polish.

Ms_go, welcome. Awesome that you’re able to trace your ancestry back in this way. Hope you get a chance to see some of the places your family touched if you haven’t already.

And without further ado, here are some photos of Olomouc, much regarded as the Czech Republic’s “second” city. We enjoyed the city for its ease of exploration and the lack of tourist crowds, although, to be honest, we wouldn’t mind if it was a bit livelier. Could be that we were there on a weekend or perhaps it’s slower to recover from COVID. It’s also possible that we were there over summer when school’s out as it is also an university town.


Old Town Square

Column of the Holy Trinity, colloquially referred to as the Plague Column

Town Hall

Astronomical Clock, rebuilt in the Soviet era

One of several fountains found in Olomouc

St. Wenceslaus Cathedral

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Old Jul 28th, 2022, 05:33 PM
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We originally planned to use of extra day in Olomouc to explore some of the countryside, but with the on-again, off-again showers of the previous couple of days, we took a pass. Didn't really want to walk / hike in mud. And reading about the Archbishop's Palace and gardens in Kromeriz, we decided to give it a go. We were very happy we did. We only encountered a handful of visitors during our time in Kromeriz but saw plenty of locals at the cafes and restaurants and interacted with some in the public park adjacent to the palace. Definitely an undiscovered jewel.


Town Square

Archbishop's Palace from the public park (formerly park of the palace grounds)

Flower Gardens

Fountain within the flower gardens
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Old Jul 28th, 2022, 05:45 PM
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To get from Olomouc to Cesky Krumlov, we hired a driver. Along the way, we stopped in Trebic and Telc. Trebic was fine. We found the square in Telc charming. And we absolutely loved Cesky Krumlov. The highlights were a visit to the castle as well as a raft ride along the Vltava River in the center of town. With more time, we wouldn't mind basing there and exploring some of the nearby areas.


Inside of a synagogue in Trebic

St. Procopius Basilica, Trebic

Town Square, Telc

Building on town square, Telc

More buildings on the town square, Telc

Cesky Krumlov with castle

Cesky Krumlov from the castle

Castle with Baroque Theater in the foreground

St. Vitus Church, Cesky Krumlov
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Old Jul 28th, 2022, 06:28 PM
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I am enjoying your photos! And I too found the reconstructed old town of Warsaw not "fake" but rather a moving testament to the fortitude of the Polish people. The Uprising Museum really put it in perspective. Krakow is amazing, beautiful, intimate--nonetheless Warsaw has a lot to offer.
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Old Jul 29th, 2022, 09:05 AM
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Leely2, thanks. And agreed on the Uprising Museum.

Now here are some photos from our day trip to Kutna Hora, which we took from Prague. Kutna Hora surprised me in its charm and the number of places of interest. Santa Barbara is stunning and the silver mine tour was fun. It was one place we wished we had more time, possibly even spending the night.


Cathedral of Our Lady of Assumption and St. John the Baptizer

Santa Barbara Cathedral

Alterpiece at Santa Barbara

Ceiling of Santa Barbara

Organ at Santa Barbara

Italian Court

Plague Column

One of the squares in Kutna Hora
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Old Jul 29th, 2022, 09:53 AM
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And last but definitely not least, a sample of our photos from Prague. We enjoyed the city on our first visit but totally fell in love this time. We could have spent a week in Prague or more if we had the time. Enjoy some views from and of the Old Town.


Old Town Square

Old Town Hall with Astronomical Clock

One of the rooms inside the Old Town Hall

Tyn Church

Black Madonna on one of the buildings in the Old Town

Powder Gate

View of the Municipal House dome from the Powder Gate observation deck

Wenceslaus Square

Wenceslaus Up Close

National Theater

An ad from a shop selling trdelnik, a delicious Czech treat
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Old Jul 29th, 2022, 10:02 AM
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Photos from Prague Castle and the Lesser Town directly below the castle


Prague Castle

St. Vitus Cathedral

Inside St. Vitus, looking towards the altar

Stained glass rose window at St. Vitus

Organ at St. Vitus

Tomb of St. John on Nepomuk

South Tower of St. Vitus

Loreta Monastery

Strahov Monastery

Library room at Strahov Monastery

Another library room at Strahov Monastery

Church of St. Nicholas

Upper gallery at Church of St. Nicholas

Wallenstein Palace, home of the Czech Senate today
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Old Jul 29th, 2022, 10:08 AM
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Photos of Charles Bridge and the Vltava River


Old Town Gate leading to Charles Bridge

Prague Castle and the Vltava River from Charles Bridge

Charles Bridge and Old Town Prague from the South Gardens of Prague Castle

Going under Charles Bridge to Kampa Island

Old Town spires from Charles Bridge

Lesser Town end of Charles Bridge

Old Town end of Charles Bridge

View of Charles Bridge and Prague Castle from the Old Town Bridge Tower
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Old Jul 29th, 2022, 10:15 AM
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And a few more from parts of Prague that most tourists don't visit.


Fred and Ginger

Ginger up close, of Fred and Ginger

Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul, Vysehrad neighborhood

Nave at Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul

Inside the Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul

Inside the Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul

Church of St. Ludmila, Vinohrady neighborhood

Pavilion building, Vinohrady

View of Vinohrady buildings

Soviet-era ornamentation, Vinohrady

TV Tower in Zizkov

Viktor Monument, Zizkov neighborhood

View of Prague skyline from Viktor Monument
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Old Jul 29th, 2022, 11:17 AM
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Thanks for an evocative report and stunning photos ~ one of my favorite touches in Warsaw was the “Chopin benches” throughout the city ~ https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/...chopin-benches

And also, of course, the wonderful Chopin Monument in Lazienki Park.

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Old Jul 29th, 2022, 12:00 PM
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I love your photos especially the ones of Prague! You did an awesome job capturing the beauty and essence of this lovely city. One of my favorite places, crowds and all!
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Old Jul 29th, 2022, 03:32 PM
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NYSE, yes on the Chopin bench. I only came across one though and expected a few more.

KarenWoo, thank you. After this visit, I'm not eager to see Prague during the holiday season. It must be magical.
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Old Jul 29th, 2022, 03:56 PM
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My daughter studied in Prague in 2003 during the fall semester. So she was there during the Christmas season and said it is beautiful.
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Old Jul 29th, 2022, 06:28 PM
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Wow, Strahov Monastery is a stunner!
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