Krakow... Family Style
Spring Break in Krakow
at the wire...
just before our return...
we were able to squeeze in a bicycle ride
it did not seem like it was going to happen... but it did
this was not a bicycle trip... other than the direction where I pointed the camera
sure I had cycling shorts... just in case
but I did not bring helmet, pedals, or shoes
I did not try to make this an athletic vacation
this was not my vacation... this was my family vacation
I had done no research on mountain biking or mountain bike rentals in this area
this was not my trip
this was my dad's trip
this was my family's trip
there was a rough itinerary scripted by my dad... my boys' grandfather
it would be my father who would be the master of ceremony
my dad, Dr. Bob the bug doctor, was the host on this trip my dad put us up in his temporary apartment while he is in Krakow for a week long class that he is teaching at the medical school at the university here
he would teach for a week and then the following week he would be involved in a series of meetings
our visit would correspond with his series of meetings
my father would be with us in between his meetings
this is the third year in a row that my dad has hosted his kids and their grand-kids on a family trip to visit the motherland, Poland
last year my sister... her husband and their two kids made the pilgrimage
then the year prior my brother... his wife and their two kids also made the pilgrimage
we were all very excited to get our turn
on my first day after the first night I scoped out the Krakow Bicycle Share
while the family slept I checked out the bike share and snapped some shots of cyclists buzzing around the sleeping city
coming out from getting coffee I missed the shot of a guy on a tall bike
bummer... I would have loved a good shot of the man on the tall bike
saw him again... but again... I missed the shot
the trip went along well... but other than my investigation of the Krakow Bike Share locations and a glance at the web page... I had not given it much consideration
it was not clear to me if it would be convenient
I tried to piece together
the possibility of a family bicycle ride
I was not sure how we would manage...
not sure if it would happen at all
I tried to get the basic information on convenient bicycle rental places near our apartment
there were a few constraints...
time constraints and then also finding a bicycle that would fit young Dean and even younger Grant!
we thought our best hopes would be a small adult women's frame for Dean and then either sidesaddle on the crossbar or hanging off the back on the rear rack for Grant
as a trail-a-bike seemed unlikely
time was running short... we had not ridden bikes
and it did not look like we were going to make it happen
any family bicycle ride would have to work around the events that he had planned for us
there were visits to castles and walks around the castle walks... many viewings of the Bugler of Krakow... then also salt mines... the Jewish ghetto... a short boat ride on the river, a horse drawn carriage ride in the mountains, and alpine slides in between a tram ride up the mountain and a scramble down the footpath back to town in Zakopane
all with classic Polish meals in between
most of our week was spent in Krakow proper but one night my dad took us to the mountains in Poland, Zakopane was amazing
also one day Lisa and I took a day trip to Auschwitz.... intense
all this scheduling left little time for a family bicycle ride
but... in the afternoon of our last day I seemed to have it all sorted out
not Krakow Bicycle Share... but a rental place just off the square
the rental price was not so grand and I felt that we could figure out the bicycle situation
sure enough... they had children's bicycles for rent!
SMALL WHEELS ROCK!
on our last evening in Krakow before dinner plans with a professor friend of my father's we made it happen
we all got on bicycles and toured the city that we had gotten fairly familiar with on foot
it was awesome
they had a bicycle that fit Dean... a bicycle that fit Grant... a bicycle that fit mom... and a bicycle that almost fit dad
ah... to be on a bike
the price was right 5 Zolatsky per hour
not much at all!
quite a deal really
we tried to stay off the streets and on the bike lanes, bike paths, and the green way
which was easy because the bike paths are everywhere and well marked
but of course was not without its set of variables
people on foot people on bike
skateboards... toddlers... young couples in love... mindless tourists... the same sort of variables we are used to on the bike paths at home all quite amazing!
we did a short loop just outside of the main square
then tried to get onto the bike path out of the city
as much fun as we were all having I could sense that my notion of time on the bike was cutting into the boys plans to do some last minute shopping
so we reversed our route and we returned three of the four bikes
then I got to get out on my own while Lisa took the boys back to town to spend the rests of their Polish money on things other than their already purchased
toy swords, shields, dragons, salt from the salt mines, Polska sweat jackets just like dads...
and who knows what else!
this was fine... I wanted to ride off the bike path
with a little less than an hour on my own I raced the falling sun and our dinner engagement to try and investigate the city outside of the main square
in one direction I went a little further than I had gone to the Galleria and the bus station... looping an arc back around back to the city and then out across the river on one bridge and then back on another
enjoying the civilized experience... stopping and waiting for the green light and such... just as the others were doing
I returned the bike after breaking a bit of a sweat
got home and got out of my one set of long pants and collared shirt into my other slightly nicer collared shirt and slacks
although I was cutting it closed I was cleaned up and dressed without holding up the process one bit