Our arrival in Cracow, after four hours of bus travel and five hours touring Auschwitz, could not have come quickly enough, but we realised that we hd come across the prettiest and perhaps most historical town in our journey so far. Raf was in hi element — he is justifiably proud of this town and pleased to show us around, joined by his wife Magda.

The accommodation was interesting, again. We have gone from standard Berlin four-star, to daggy Warsaw three-star too far out of town, to Willa Orla (architecturally, one could describe it as comfortably timber-quirky), to Polish guest house. Interesting, but not what we would usually do, but we are out of the room for so many hours a day that you never notice and sleep is pretty easy with all the walking we are doing — except for the travel days, so I’m not looking forward to the last of the big trips, the five hours to Prague.

Cracow is charming and historical, especially around the square and through the old city. Ironically, many of the municipal improvements were initiated by Hans Frank, who ran the General-Government of Poland from the castle. Our visit to the Schindler Faktory Museum showed a real attempt to celebrate at once the Polish identity of the place, the impact of Nazism, the expulsion of Jews from the city into a ghetto across the river and ultimate liquidation, and the work of Schindler and others in attempting to mitigate the persecution of the Jews.

The castle is a monument to Polish history and religion. Paula remarked that we have never seen such an ornate cathedral, full of memorials to decapitated bishops, good and bad kings of forgotten kingdoms — though never forgotten by the Poles — and saintly queens. It has links with legend, as our visit to the dragon cave demonstrated, and links with modern history, as the Austrian barracks that became Frank’s headquarters demonstrated. No photos inside, thanks god because the crows was worse than any I remember in our travels.

The old town itself is quite unspoiled and the spirit of this part of Poland alive and well: a Church on every corner, a convent down every street, Dominicans in full rig, nuns in proper habits. One street is Trinity street; Dominican St becomes, Franciscan St on the other side of the main road. There are at least three basilicas I could count. Religion and history are wound together. In the market square, the trumpet is sounded every hour to the four compass points, each call cut off because of the fatal arrow that wounded the watchman against the Islamic invaders.

It’s no pure centre of history, though! Krakow is a university town, so all the work in the cafés and bra — hundreds of them — is done by uni students; and every church seems to be in close proximity to a strip club! The amber trade is everywhere but very overpriced. The food, when we got to it on both nights, was plentiful and good.

Tonight is rebellion night — six of us are doing Mexican because we will do something nasty if offered another pierogi! Fresh food it is.