Sunday, December 16, 2007
Friday, December 14, 2007
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
OK, so we tried again to do a short "stop-over" at a town we wanted to see on our way home from Gdansk. This one went better than our side trip to Zamosc, but not by much. The nice weather we experienced in Gdansk turned to nasty rain (at least it wasn't snow and ice) by the time we reached Torun. But this time we had the train schedule for getting back to Krakow before we stopped and bought our tickets home before we went into town.One of the gates leading to Torun's town square
Torun is best known as the birthplace of Nicholas Copernicus (the university here - Copernicus University - has a prominent astronomy program) and for its gingerbread. We stashed our luggage in a locker at the train station and took a taxi into town...took pictures of the old town square, including the statue of Copernicus, walked down to the ruins of the Teutonic Knights' castle (which the locals dismantled brick by brick in the 15th century after they chased the Order out of town - guess they were happy to see them go), and stopped in one of several gingerbread stores to stock up on a supply of cookies for Christmas.
A little of what's left of the Teutonic Knights' castle and fortification walls
Then we grabbed a bus to get back to the train station...it was very crowded and John and I got separated. He was by the door and I could see him. When the bus stopped, I saw him nod and thought he meant this was the place to get off, so I exited the bus. As the last one of the crowd to get off, the bus door closed right after me and when I looked around, John wasn't there! (Later I found out his "nod" meant that there was a seat for me up front with him.) Fortunately, I saw the route the bus was taking and it wasn't too far a walk to the train station. And John was there waiting for me. Just another little adventure! We made the train - a long trip back to Warsaw and then back down to Krakow. We love these little trips, but it's always good to get back "home."Torun is also known for its magnificent old brick buildings...here are a few:
Monday, December 10, 2007
John look much more like a "media celebrity"!!!
Sunday, December 9, 2007
One of the advantages of touring in the winter is the lack of crowds. One can only tour the castle as part of a guided group, but since we couldn't understand the Polish, we were free to wander around on our own using pages from our tour books as a guide. This is a very large, old castle! The amount of brick used is amazing.
Inner castle courtyard with well in the most protected area of the castle
My favorite part of the castle was the Grand Master's Palace "Grand Refectory" room - the delicate palm tree vaulting in the ceiling was amazing for a brick building this old.
We had seen the castle from the train on our way from Warsaw to Gdansk and I thought I would be satisfied with that (and bypass the 45-minute train trip back to tour the castle). But John wanted to see it, so we made the half-day trip from Gdansk and I'm SO glad we did.
Saturday, December 8, 2007
The 15th century crane, used for loading ships, is considered the symbol of Gdansk
The Gdansk Armory - a "pearl" of Renaissance architecture
Mariacka (mar-ee-AHTZ-ka) Street
The beautifully carved main alter and large stained glass window of St. Mary's Church
Gotyk House B&B
And, yes, there are shipyards in Gdansk. Here, the monument to the shipyard workers who died during the protests that eventually helped end communism in Poland.