Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Julia attends mass, slays dragon

Well, at least the first part is true. I attended a Catholic service… in Polish! And it was hot and humid enough in Kraków to make me feel like I needed to slay the dragon that was breathing on me (until the hail storm, at least). And I’m not just pulling this dragon stuff out of the far corners of my imagination. There is a legend in Kraków of a dragon that wreaked havoc by constantly devouring people’s sheep. Then a clever person tricked the dragon into eating a sheep stuffed with gunpowder, and the dragon subsequently exploded. (I may be fudging some of the details of this legend, but isn’t that part of the beauty of legends?) I visited the dragon’s purported lair, which also used to house a Kraków pub. Now it just scares small children.

The Dragon's Den is in a cave beneath Wawel (pronounced Vavel), the beloved castle of Kraków.

Oh, but back to mass. It was nice, though I only made out a few words here and there and I had to stand the whole time because the place was packed and I gave up my seat to an older woman (it seemed like the right thing to do, considering I was in a church). The church itself was pretty impressive – big, high ceilings, interesting decorations & architecture on the inside (can’t say what style exactly… Gothic?). But I only managed to get a picture of the church from the outside:

My favorite part of Kraków, however, is the old Jewish quarter, Kazimierz. Despite its depressing history it’s become a hip and stylish part of town that is paying plenty of attention to its past with museums, art, monuments and even this menorah fence:

But I only saved 2 days for Kraków, perhaps not enough, so I might return later this summer. We’ll see. For now I’m ready to devour Prague. I'll have to do this alone for one more day since Alicia missed her flight out of DC and so is arriving tomorrow, not today. I'm not blogging about this to bring shame to Alicia, but rather to prove that I'm not the only one who misses planes (though I may have been notorious for doing this in the past).


cg said...

dragons, castles...where is the moat?

Side note: I flew out of DTW to Atlanta on Sunday, and the airport was a HOT MESS. People were everywhere missing flights and stressing out. All the airline people kept talking about was leaving plenty of time for checking in due to it being peak travel season/summer time.

Anyway, I made my flight, but it was domestic. Seems like international would be even worse, no?

At any rate, keep the blogs coming! I had forgotten what a good writer you are! :)

A said...

missing flights...i feel ya Alicia! slaying dragons...with exploding sheep--sounds like Monty Python. And you in church? when do you arrive in Berlin? i've sent ryan treats for you!