Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Ash floods and stress, what a holiday

I'm back home for a night, having arrived at Liverpool instead of Bristol airport 200 miles the wrong way of where I should be. So tomorrow it's back down to Devon to get my car.

Krakaow is an amazing city, full of buildings from medieval times upwards. Every street has more buildings to marvel at.

We got there to a cold evening on Friday, and went to find our way round, going to the main square where this fantastic church is. This is the famous church where every night on the hour a bugler plays half a tune out of the topmost window.

In the middle of the square is the cloth hall, currently under scaffolding as it's been restored. And at the other side of the square is the town hall. A fantastically wonderful building that looks as if it's out of a fairy story.

Many years ago the city took down it's stone walls and planted trees all around the city instead, so to get anywhere you have to walk under the Planty.

At the edge of these wonderful streets is Wawel Castle this is also where the Cathedral is, the gold roof is part of the cathedral.

So that was Friday evening, Saturday is another post completely. And on Saturday evening it started raining. The ground was already sodden from a week of rain previously.

This is the view out of our hotel room of the rain, the river Wistula and Wawel Castle on Sunday morning.

We managed a walk out, but got completely drenched, at the that time although the river was rising some of the paths on the river bank were passable and some were not!

Monday was extremely stressful dealing with getting new flights booked, and a hotel room for another two nights. It was also torrential rain and impossible to go out in, other than literally a 20 minute walk in the evening when it got to just a heavy drizzle.

Come Tuesday the river was very high indeed, it had risen 2.5 metres in 24 hours. It was running very fast and the banks were under threat of collapsing.
This is the view upstream from the fortification walls around the castle. The river when we arrived was halve this width.

This is the bridge nearest the hotel,by this time the flood defences were up around the banks of the river. This bridge which had boats going under it when we arrived was almost breached. As you can see it made the Polish national news. People were just standing anywhere just to watch the water. The bridge was closed and either end fortified with sandbags. There were police sirens going off all over the place.And very efficient police men stopping people from going on the bridge itself.
The rumour was that we in the Sheraton would have to be evacuated. Which fortunately didn't happen. Although further down stream many hundreds of people did.

So not only have we had volcanic ash to deal with but the biggest flood Poland has seen since 1997.

It's been a very difficult and stressful visit for all sorts of reasons. But despite all the things we have experienced we couldn't have done it in a friendlier place. All the Polish people we met have been without fail delightful. They made us feel welcome everywhere we went. And the staff in the hotel were just fantastic at helping us all the time, but particularly Monday. I highly recommend if you are going to get stressed on holiday then Krakow is a great place to be stressed in!


Lyn said...

Sounds like you are finding some bright spots in your stressful vacation Mandy. Your pictures are beautiful and they make me want to see Krakow. Welcome Home!

Sorrow said...

Yeah your home!
yeah you had a good time!
yeah you didn't get swallowed by mountains of ash!
whooot! whooot!
so glad you are taking trips!

Merry ME said...

A place that removed the stone walls and planted trees is a place I'd like to visit. The Cathedrals are amazing. Sorry you got so wet and stressed. Hope there was enough good food and company to compensate!

Beatnheart said...

Oh Darling! Glad you are home safe and sound. What a nightmare for you. bummer times two! Hope you next holiday is a bit more jolly. cynthia

Angela said...

Oh poor Mandy, what a report! Yes, we heard all the news here on TV and radio and I felt with you! But at least you got to see Krakow and could tell us of the tree city walls! What a grand idea! And could you use your Polish? Please also tell us of your visit to Auschwitz.

BenefitScroungingScum said...

Glad to hear you made it back to the UK safe and sound! Sounds like the kind of trip which'll keep you in entertaining stories for years, more fun than the trip itself!
Good luck getting your car etc BG Xx

Paula said...

Glad you made it home safe and sane! Was thinking of you a lot and kept my fingers crossed. Quite an adventurer you are! Hugs across the channel

Mel said...


I don't bother with news or newspapers....WOW that's a whole lot of water FAST. They're lucky the bridge is still standing. Holy moly.... Never a dull moment, huh?!

Oh, but what gorgeous places to have a wander about it--and what lovely captures. :-)

Welcome home, ma'am! :-)

nitebyrd said...

It's good that there were some unstressful things about your trip. The architecture is gorgeous. Your pictures are beautiful.

Safe travels to get your car!

Nicky S (Absolute Vanilla) said...

You've been travelling again?! Wow! You know what, I think you should get yourself a nice painted caravan (with a jet engine) and just travel the world! ;-) So sorry you've had so much drama with flights but glad you're safely home. xxx

Pam said...

Welcome home Mandy. As if you don't have enough rain in England! Looking forward to hearing more, and thanks for sharing your wonderful pics.Apart from the terrible weather and hassles with flights, it seems like it's thumbs up for Krakow and the people there. I would love to go to Europe again one day.

Spadoman said...

Good travelogue. Would love to sit and hear every detailover a cup of coffee. I know thyere are so many stories within the stories. Since I love to travel, I'd like to hear about others who travel.

Thanks for sharing.