DAY 56 - AUG 5 - OSWIECIM to KRAKOW
It was an interesting day in Poland, mostly along quiet country roads and partially along the Vistula River, which runs right into Krakow. There are levees built up along much of the river and many times a bicycle trail runs along them.
There were two little river crossings handled by a barge-like ferry run by a cable. Both crossings were not longer than 30 or 40 yards. The first one (see picture) run by an old codger (probably my age) had a little sign indicating a toll, I think, of one Zloty. Well, I had no Zlotys since 99% of purchases can be handled with a credit card. This fellow running the barge spoke no English, and of course I spoke no Polish and this was a 1% situation. After some gesticulating I came up with a .2 Euro coin, almost equivalent to one Zloty ($.26). The old fellow looked at me, looked at the coin, took the coin, gave me the stink-eye, and I was on my way.
The second ferry (also see picture), was less dramatic with no toll for bicycles. One other similar incident on a different day when I was in a little village shop and making a purchase of about $2. Again, I had no Zlotys and the store did not take credit cards. I did have this amount in Euros which the clerk did not want either. One fellow in the store noticed the problem and paid my bill and accepted my Euros for which I thanked him profusely. Maybe I should acquire some Zlotys.
I got to Krakow fairly early, checked into my hotel and bicycled around town to check it out. The center of Krakow is a beautiful medieval, well preserved, city! There is a castle that afforded some great views. The main square is charming, quaint, and awe-inspiring, with lovely horse and buggies parading around with tourists. There is an old Jewish quarter, which I briefly passed through. History buffs could go bonkers here.