Tag Archives: Crocodile Bar Kazimierz

Weekly Photo Challenge: Focus

Krakow Poland Tram

The Trams of Krakow

Overhead an intricate spider’s web of electric cables was providing power to the blue and cream trams that regularly rattled past on the steel tracks in the roads.  Some of these were modern Bombardier flexi-trams that hummed rather than clanked but my favourites were the certain future museum pieces from the 1950s and 60s that conjured up images of the old days of the Soviet Empire that were heavily engineered and streaked with grime and rust.

I noticed that as passengers got on board they immediately began to look grey and tired and seemed to become a feature of the tram as though locked permanently into a 1960s Krakow time warp.

The trams whirred and screeched and sounded bells to warn of their approach as they drew up and pulled off, setting down and picking up and clattering away again between the rows of neglected buildings and out towards the proletarian apartments of the city suburbs.

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Krakow, the Jewish Quarter and Oskar Schindler


On the final morning we enjoyed our continental breakfast at the Ester, packed our bags and checked out and planned a morning around the Jewish quarter and the Second-World-War ghetto area in the Podgórze district across the river.  On the previous day we had made arrangements for a city guide in an electric street vehicle to meet us at ten o’clock and just ahead of schedule he arrived at the front of the hotel.  His name was Andrew and he explained that he would show us the principal sights of the area but this being Saturday the synagogues would be closed.

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Krakow, The Old Town and Castle

After lunch and with the sunshine getting the upper hand over the clouds we walked around the square and past the grand St Mary’s Church which has a tower where on the hour a bugle call sounds out.  We weren’t sure if there was a real bugler at the top providing the music or whether it was just a recording but there is a legend connected with this tune, which ends unexpectedly in the middle.

The story says that it was played by a guard during the Tatars’ invasion in the thirteenth century, who used it to warn citizens of an attack. He was shot in mid tune and since that day the melody breaks off just at the moment he died and then starts again a few seconds later when someone else picked up his bugle and carried on in his place.

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Krakow, The Crocodile Bar in Kazimierz

It was nice inside and I for one could have stayed longer but we didn’t want the girls getting drunk so after a second beer we left and walked out into the street where it was cold but not unpleasant.  The area around the hotel was quite run down and the buildings looked tired with peeling facades revealing crumbling brickwork and rotting timbers beneath.   After the war, under the Polish Communist regime, Kazimierz deteriorated into a seedy and disagreeable area and it is only since the mid 1990s that the district has begun to rediscover its Jewish heritage and undergo reconstruction and regeneration to become one of the main tourist centres in Krakow.

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