Getting There - Aneel's Travelogue

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Museums and a Train Krakow, Poland, Friday, 14 June 2013 11:59pm

Tinny did arrive last night, and tried to find the apartment her parents were staying in. Unfortunately, she didn't get the email they sent her with the address, so she went to the apartment rentals place (see yesterday's adventure, but compounded because it was midnight, and the rentals office was closed, and because she had two infants with her). She gave me a call, and I gave her the right address.

We met up this morning and traded a GPS for an umbrella (Why didn't I bring the cute tiny umbrella that I bought in Spain? Or put the raincoat I did bring with me into my day bag?). Jarek and Tinny and her family went off to spend the day with Jarek's family.

I headed over to check out some museums. I'd planned to see the Panorama Raclawice, a famous huge painting depicting a battle. Unfortunately, by the time I'd gotten over there, they were sold out of entry tickets until 4pm, so I had to skip that. Instead, I went to the National Museum, which had a large collection of frankly terrible Silesian art, but a really interesting collection of stamps for pressing wax seals, and a very interesting collection of contemporary (1900-) Polish art. Some really interesting glass works and abstract paintings and sculptures. The contemporary collection is in the attic of the building (through an almost-hidden door near one of the other galleries and up a flight of stairs). In some ways the placement seems like an insult, but the space is really interesting in itself. It's criss-crossed with what seem to be structural beams at odd angles and some of the spaces have tensioners spanning them and intersecting the art in strange ways.

After lunch in a mall food court (really good Turkish fast food), I visited the Architecture Museum. It's also in a neat space, a repurposed church. There are a lot of images of architecture (plans, pictures of finished buildings, studies that are probably just abstract buildings) and details from buildings (tiles, locks, stained glass, fireplaces, fragments of window arches, &c.). Unfortunately, I think I missed a lot because of my inability to read Polish. Also, about three quarters of the volume of the old church is under serious construction. They're putting in what I assume are more galleries, which will vastly expand the museum. Maybe I'll visit again in a few years.

I spent some time in the Town Hall, which is mostly a museum these days. There's a lot of information about the history of that building, and some about the city. It's neat to see how it changed over time from a simple structure to its current ornate, strangely-partitioned self.

After all of the walking of the past few days, I decided to take a break and had a couple beers in a beer garden on the main square. It turned out that the beer was brewed in their own microbrewery, so I got to drink a very fresh unfiltered wheat beer and an interesting honey beer.

At 5, Tinny's parents met me at my hotel and we headed out to the train station. It was fairly easy to find our train, and it turned out that we had a whole six-seat compartment to ourselves. The train ride was uneventful, but pretty. Lots of wildflowers along side crop fields, some interesting looking towns, and the occasional industrial area.

We're in Krakow for the next few days. My "hotel room" is ridiculous. It's a two-floor loft with four beds, a kitchenette, and a dining room. Sadly, each bed is tiny, but there may be some rearranging I can do. It may have more square footage than my apartment back in Texas.