Geneva to Krakow

We stopped in Geneva for Fred to attend the inaugural meeting of Libra. Fitting country and month to have the all hands on deck event. I have spent time in Zurich and Luzern but this was my first time in Geneva. I am not sure I’d recommend it although a beautiful clean city it is a bit of a sleepy town. One day and one night was plenty. Photo of the city above.

Now we are off on our planned trip. First stop is Krakow. In London, it was rainy and the leaves were still green but here in Krakow is it an Indian summer and the leaves are changing.

There is a grit to this city. It still feels old almost like Berlin felt 15 years ago. I can not help but think about WW2. The history is everywhere and the city still feels as if it is living in a post-war era. Seeing this tree I thought about the book I just read, the Overstory, that this tree has seen a lot and certainly the older people sitting in the park have too.

The square is large and has been around for thousands of years. This whole area was made a UNESCO site in the 70’s. There are 16 World Heritage Unesco site’s in Poland.

The market place has become what market places have become in most cities, stores of shlock for tourism. It is unfortunate but it is what it is.

Lunch was at a small cafe in the student area called Massolit Bakery and Cafe. Super cute and definitely local. Curry, soup, quiche and salad all for a whopping $12.

We went exploring art galleries and ended up finding one down a long tunnel between two streets. In the back was a bar and the gallery was locked. I asked the bartender if she knew if the gallery was open or not and said she had the key. She let us in. Super casual and very reminiscent of the East Village in the early 80’s.

These pics give some insight into the feel of the place.

We went over to MOCAK (Museum of Contemporary Art of Krakow). They are certainly not shying away from their history. An entire show of before imprisonment and post imprisonment. Hard to see but history is important.

Another install on symbolic design. Many of these artists I have never heard of which is good to see.

This is a piece from Stanislaw Drozdz who is a part of the Polish concept art and one of the most renowned Polish poet celebrating his 80th birthday and the 10th year of his death.

Back to the hotel to rest. More tomorrow.

Comments (Archived):

  1. William Mougayar

    True, Geneva is a big sleepy village. It has never recovered from the banking crisis and the shutdown from US accounts.But it has a good location, very close to a lot of ski resorts – 1-2 hours drive to Megeve, Courchevel, etc. , 1-2 hour flight to most European destinations and 25 mins from France and you’re in the Jura or Annecy.Did you have a chance to walk around the old town of Geneva?

    1. Gotham Gal

      I did. Might be a good location but you would still have to live in Geneva.

      1. William Mougayar

        yupp. if you lived there i meant.

    2. jason wright

      Chamonix. A ski town, but a real town.

      1. William Mougayar

        of course, chamonix too.

    3. awaldstein

      Comparison to Aspen or Vail or Steamboat?I’m a deep powder Rocky Mtn skier and quite curious.

      1. William Mougayar

        I haven’t been to those, but can compare to Whistler, Banff or Lake Louise for eg and I would say that Europe is different at several levels. For deep powder, nothing beats BC/Alberta as even avid Europeans skiers take trips there for helicopter drops. I like the village atmospheres of the european resorts, and the choice of runs is more varied. It is an experience to try maybe Verbier, Chamonix, Courchevel or Megeve. I skied last year in Saas Fee in Switzerland near the Italian border, just behind Zermatt and it was an enjoyable experience.

        1. awaldstein

          Thanks.I’m a deep powder fanatic and family in Colorado brings me back time and time again.Been invited by a friend who lives in a tiny ski village in Savoie to visit this winter so talk to me in the Spring for a comparison!

  2. jason wright

    My most vivid recollection of Geneva has to be the most outlandishly dressed prostitutes (all genders) i’ve ever seen, strutting their stuff on the pavements down from the train station in the direction of the lake. Sorry, i don’t recall the name of the street.There was quite a bit of graffiti, a general air of grumpy resignation (a Swiss thing i think), and private banks.…ée_Ariana… (where the web was invented)… (where the world was carved up in the 1930s)And there’s some interesting residential architecture, but perhaps that’s one for longer days.

  3. LE

    Nice pictures and I see at least one that appears to have been shot with the super wide angle on your new iphone. (The one of the square and maybe the marketplace).

  4. awaldstein

    The further east you go, in my experience, the more ancient and bohemian it becomes, and the more interesting as the mix of old and new and expats define a new culture.Envy you this trip.

  5. pointsnfigures

    WW2 certainly affected Krakow, but the resulting years behind the Iron Curtain were worse.

  6. JLM

    .If you have the stomach for it, you are close to Auschwitz-Birkenau, the notorious German death factory.There is part of it that is totally untouched. It was one of the most moving experiences of my life to stand in that place and contemplate the evil that resided therein. It still felt evil when I was there in the 1970s. It was a gray, rainy day that concentrated the experience.When one sees the sheer magnitude of the place, it is disheartening. With the passage of the years, I have treasured that sobering experience.We can become disconnected from our and the world’s history, but a place like that provides a frame of reference and a grounding that is impossible to ignore.Some years after that I was in Israel and met a man in a professional capacity (he was a commando) whose family had been killed in Auschwitz. He was asking me what I knew about Israel. I can’t recall how the topic came up but I told him I had been to three of the death camps. He looked at me and said, “So, you know.”Some time after that, sitting with a beer, he said to me, “I am what the Germans fear the most — a Jew with a gun in his hand.”JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…