Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Błonia and Mały Rynek

Today, on the advice of those from the English night at the Language Exchange Club, I ran to a local park named Błonia.  As a small aside, "ł" in Polish is not pronounced in any way like the English "l," despite it's similar appearance.  It makes the sound of an English "w".  (The Polish "w" makes the sound of an English "v".)  Thus, Błonia is pronounced more like "Bwonia."

If you click on the "Where is Kraków?" link from above, the Google map places you directly over Rynek Główny.  Go over one screen-drag to the west and you'll see a huge, triangle-shaped park.  That's Błonia. Błonia is enormous.  As I was running down one of the legs of the triangle, I thought it was over a mile long.  Google Earth puts it at 0.96 miles, so clearly my distances have been waning.

The funny thing about Błonia is that it has not one, but two soccer stadiums bordering it.  I later learned from one of my coworkers that these two soccer teams (Cracovia and Wisla, I believe) hate each other.  It seems odd to me that you'd put two rival teams across a park from each other.  That's just asking for trouble.  At least put them a train ride apart or something.  These soccer stadiums are large, but don't appear to be as large as the NFL stadiums I've seen.

It thunderstormed today at work, and this dropped the temperature by about 15 degrees.  It's currently about 65°F outside, which is the coolest temperature I've felt while the sun was still up.  I recognize to those of you in the Midwest, this may seem a bit of gloating.  Just remember: you (probably) have air conditioning at home and I don't.

In my excursion out this evening, I thought that I should clarify something, and I got a nice panorama shot to make the point.  In prior posts, I've referred to Rynek as a major happening place in Kraków.  "Rynek" means "market" and I've been referring to Rynek Główny, or "main market."  However, there's also Mały Rynek, or "little market".  Returning again to the Google map, Mały Rynek is located immediately to the south-east of Rynek Główny, right behind St. Mary's Basilica.  It is smaller (you may even need to zoom in to see it), but it also has its charm; a sideshow to the circus of Rynek Główny.  Here's the shot I got of it tonight:

The umbrellas to the left side of the picture form a series of small restaurants and bars, at one of which I've found a nice apple beer.  On the right side of the picture, the brick building sticking up is the back of St. Mary's Basilica.  The white building in front of it appears to sell religious articles.

I pass by Mały Rynek almost every day; it's even closer to my apartment than Rynek Główny and on my way to many other outings.  I thought it deserved a "little" attention, too.


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