In my March 6th blog, I stated that it was a light day. Well let me tell you, today wasn’t that. One member of group, Amanda, has been keeping track of our steps, and while I not what today’s exact tally is, if it isn’t the greatest of our trip so far, her Fitbit must be broken.
We started the off by exploring every corner of old-town Krakow. This tour made me realize just how little of Krakow, I saw last time around. The market square is so much more spectacular, containing both with it’s big pieces of architecture and small nooks and crannies of history . This was particularly highlighted for me with a knife that is just casually hanging high atop the market building. I would have never noticed it had our tour guide not pointed it out. Yet, with this knife, legend says one of the brothers who built the towers of St. Mary’s Cathedral killed his other brother, thus ending the construction on the Cathedral’s two towers.
Outside of the market square, the statue of Tadeusz Kościuszko was awe inspiring, (Who would have thought that I would learn American history by coming to Poland), Wawel cathedral and its bell tower from tall person hell was quite the experience, and I’m sorry UMW, but I’m afraid I’m going to transfer to Jagiellonian University.
But the part of Krakow that truly took the day was visiting the only Jewish synagogue in the city. We happened to arrive there at the same time as some sort of festival was taking place, at which 50 or so Orthodox Jews were praying, dancing, drinking and just having a good time. It occurred to me here that even though we have visited so many Jewish places and museums over the course of this trip, that we hadn’t seen many Jews. (The Polish population of Jews is only about 7,000 these days.)
These men and women belong to a truly Jewish world, one that I had never experienced in the flesh until today. A world that isn’t just in history books and museums, but a world that has a pulse. A world that could be so much more vibrant in Poland, had it not been for the barbarity of the Nazis.