Today was our last substantive day, and I set the morning aside for touring Kazimierz, the former Jewish district of Krakow. In some ways, this was out of order chronologically, since most of the sights here are 16th-18th centuries. But I thought it would be a good way to explore the postwar history of the community through the story of what happened to these buildings under communism.
We toured the various synagogues and walked around the Remuh cemetery. By noon, the students were tired and hungry so we went out to lunch next to the Kupa synagogue. After that, we headed up to Wawel Castle, where we walked around, looked at the view, and had coffee and crepes. Then we walked back to the Stare Miasto. I wanted to find a book on the Roma and Sinti exhibit at Auschwitz (they were sold out in the English language version - I should have just bought the German). The students went off to do souvenir shopping, while I looked for the bookstore. The skies started to look very, very threatening, and about a block from the bookstore, it started pouring. Of course, after carrying around my umbrella for days, including that morning, I had dropped it off back at the hotel before heading to Wawel Castle.
All that effort was for nought as the bookstore didn't have it either. I took my guide to Krakow, opened it up, and put it on my head as a hat. I got a lot of strange looks, but my head stayed dry. Back at the Rynek I found the students who had taken shelter under an awning. Lots of photos of me looking bedraggled. Then we headed off for dinner.
I made reservations at Szara Kazimierz, which the students really loved, for our farewell dinner. I told them that I would pick up the costs of all food, including appetizers, main course, and dessert, but that they would be on their own for drinks. The steak was terrific and we all enjoyed our meal immensely.
Back at the hostel, the students did all my course evaluations and we made our plans on how to get to the airport tomorrow. My next blog entry should be in the U.S., when I can start posting travel photos.