A Swiss in Krakow – discovering an Art Nouveau church

The bus to Ojców? No one understands me…

I easily find the station, where the mini buses leave for all sorts of destinations around Kraków. But without speaking Polish, I am not able to find the bus that is supposed to take me to Ojców at 10:40. Every driver that I ask sends me to a different place. One driver directs me to the huge bus station behind the train station. Here I cannot find an information desk or an overview panel of the many buses ready to take off. After an hour I give up and turn to plan B.

Plan B – strolling along Ulica Kopernika in Wesola

Wesola lies behind the main train station – eastwards. I follow the street Kopernica – named after the man who claimed that the earth is not the center of the universe. The street is ugly, cars drive by, and the first church promised by my guide book is closed for renovation. It is the St. Niklaus Church from the 12th century.

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And then… the Bazylika Najsw. Serca Juzusa: A gem of  Art Nouveau

Between 1909 and 1912 Francisek Macynski built the basilika for the Jesuits. I like the brick construction from the outside.

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Inside, I dive into the atmosphere created by the colorful and modern windows. The room is dominated by the apsis with the hanging figures of Maria and Josef (?) with Christ above them.

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There are also golden mosaics along the walls that give this church almost a byzantine feeling.

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A nun addresses me as “pani” and says something about light. Then she unlocks a gate and asks me to enter. I find myself in a beautiful modern chapel. The altar is an irregular metal oval with the sun in the middle. People are praying and adding candles on the shelf in front of the altar. I also add a candle. I think of Ernst who travels in my heart. I take no foto. The clicking would disturb the solemnity.

The botanical garden – accidently open

A botanical garden in November?  Well I like November gardens. The plants have retreated, only few flowers are left and nature is recovering to prosper again next spring.

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I can see, how carefully the plants from different regions are set up and labeled.

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And I catch a few sad-romantic moments at the pond, where reed and trees are reflecting in the water.

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But then, the gate is locked, when I want to leave. The gardener murmurs that this garden is closed and I understand the word “pokasac” (or similar, meaning “show”). We walk back to the gate and she shifts a small and hidden handle away to open the gate. Then she closes it. This garden is not open for tourists now.

Again – the Mongolians… a Rondo is named after them

The memory of Mongolia, so far from here, seems to stay alife all over in Kraków, not only with the tune of the trumpeter that ends abruptly (as the Mongolians have killed him at this moment) or with the Lajkoniki that celebrate the victory in the 13th century (Kraków defeated the Mongolians much earlier than Moscow). The Krakówians also name a huge and busy Rondo after them, the Rondo Mogilskie. Trams are crossing in a large round pitch that is overlooked by the ugly silhouette of a building from the 80’s – then praised to be the beginning of a new Manhattan.

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Ulica Topolowa and the garden of Strelecki

I flee the busy Rondo and the busy streets leading to it, and I head to the quiet Ulica Topolowa  and the garden of Strelecki.

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Here I can say hello to the Pope that came from Poland. He is venered, as the many flowers show. I can understand that.

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Back to the Rynek, I enjoy a tomato soup in the friendly bar of the Hippolit museum and write my blog. The white and black cat of the house shares the table with me.

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