Monday, January 16, 2012

A Photographic Study of Krakow Poland

When this blog started, I always had a lot to write about.  Back then Zack and I were getting out and having "adventures" almost every day of the weekend.  During the week days when we weren't getting out for an adventure I would be writing about our plans for the next adventures we would have.

With my injured back our ability to have adventures is practically nil.  Today with the Martin Luther King holiday we didn't do much.  I had a number of things to do for work and while I did those Zack worked on homework, read a book, watched TV and played video games.  Late in the afternoon after I was done with my work I felt very weary as the pain medication I take to diminish the pain in my back tends to make me sleepy.  On top of that I don't sleep very well as the positions I naturally sleep in are some of the most painful ones for me.  I am typically awaken by pain several times throughout the night even if I take an Ambien.  The end result is that I am tired a lot and we don't have a lot of adventures for me to write about.

Instead of writing about any adventures today, I decided to post a series of pictures I took in Krakow, Poland in 2005.  I posted one of these pictures this weekend as my cover photo on Facebook and I got a lot of complements on it.  So I decided I would go through the entire series of photos I took back then and post the best.  The pictures were taken over a period of 3 months when I was working and traveling back and forth from the US to Southern France and Krakow.  In the end I spent 3 - 4 weeks in Poland which gave me the ability to do a fair amount of exploring throughout Krakow.  One of the more interesting aspects of my time in Krakow was it was shortly before and shortly after Pope John Paul II died.  During my first visit to Krakow he was extremely ill and there were quite a number of church services taking place in the main Cathedral to pray for his good health.  The numbers of people in the church at all hours of the day were pretty amazing.  Then during my second set of trips to Poland in April, it was shortly after the pope had died and the city was still in a state of mourning.  It was a fantastic experience to be immersed in the middle of the national state of mourning for Pope John Paul's death.

Anyway - without further adieu here is my photographic study of Poland from 2005.

(Winter scene in a park in the old city of Krakow.)

(Trams or trolleys are the way most people get around in Krakow)

(Typical street scene with cars and Trams)

(There is very little room on the streets in old city Krakow as the streets are very narrow)

(A courtyard in one of the many colleges that are in Krakow)

(Tower in the central square of the old city)

(The central market in the old city town square.  This is one of the large town squares in all of Europe.)

(St. Mary Cathedral which is the seat of the archbishop of Krakow.  Notice all the people outside - they were in line to get in for a mass that was being said for the health of Pope John Paul.)

(Florian Gate - which is part of the walls of the old city)

(Detail of the sculpture on the Florian Gate.)

(Fortifications that were part of the old city walls)

(Watch tower that is part of the old city walls.)

(Central market from another viewpoint)

(Small little church right next to St. Mary's Cathedral)

(Hallway inside the central market)

(Looking out one of the hallways from the central market out on to the old town square)

(Krakow's airport terminal.  Note the name Jana Pawla II - that is John Paul II in Polish after the pope.)

(My airplane back to the US on the tarmac)

(Trip in the spring - stayed in the suburbs this time.  Notice the nasty looking Soviet style apartment blocks)

(View of St. Marys from within the Central Market)

(Notice the nuns - there are priests and nuns everywhere in Krakow)

(Street performers in traditionally Polish garb)

(A nun looking out for someone's baby)

(Chapel within the Wavel castle which was the court of the princes who ruled Krakow in ancient times)

(Part of the Wavel castle)

(Living quarters of the royalty within the Wavel castle)

(Another view of the large courtyard in the royal living quarters)

(Main entrance to the church/chapel within the Wavel castle)

(View from the top of the Wavel Chapel tower)

 (Huge bell in the Wavel Chapel tower.)

(Another view from the top of the Wavel tower)

(Me hoping the bell won't fall on my head)

(Huge section of the Wavel Castle from near the walls)

(Pope John Paul's residence when he was the archbishop of Krakow before he was elevated to the papacy)

(A priest walking past John Paul's residence.  There literally are priest and nuns everywhere!)

I hope you have enjoyed these pictures as much I enjoyed taking them.  The first set with all the snow in the pictures wasn't that enjoyable to take as it was freezing cold outside - almost zero Fahrenheit and I had just returned from 3 weeks in India.  Needless to say I didn't have a lot of warm clothes with me and I froze my butt off!

Tomorrow Zack will be going back to school.  I am not sure if the Abilify is starting to work or what is going on but his anxiety levels have been significantly reduced.  He is still doing his silly, irrational OCD rituals, but on Friday he was doing them constantly, now he is doing them much less.  I believe the Abilify and the extremely high dose of Lexapro that he is taking have started to change his brain chemistry back to normal.  Now he can control the anxiety and hence I am pushing him harder to stop the OCD rituals and I am getting a much better response from him.

As for me and my life, there isn't too much going on.  I am sleeping a ton because my body is being exhausted by the pain I am in and because of the pain medication I am taking.  So my sleeping habits have changed drastically as I am now normally in bed by 10:30PM or 11:00PM and asleep very shortly there after.  Even when I go to sleep at that time I normally sleep in until my alarm goes off at 6:30AM when it is time for me to get Zack up.  On the weekends I will sleep in until between 8:30AM and 9:00AM.

One other note that I am really starting to notice.  I miss having Shelly to talk to and tell all my little mundane stories of life.  I tend to talk a lot.  One of my key social outlets is utterly gone and I really, really miss having that outlet and having that sense of closeness to tell her exactly all that is going through my head.  With some of the things that go through my mind I really can't tell them to too many people - as they will get intensely bored or they will think I am crazy.  So it something I really miss about the close relationship we had.  I have no one to listen to all my useless trivia and stupid facts that I can spout about almost anything.  :-(

I got all the paper work today for my pre-op blood work, x-rays and EKG's.  For whatever reason the whole back surgery thing has a lot of precautions around it that I haven't experienced before.  When I had my leg surgery none of this stuff was done.  I know that this surgery is seen as being more serious and risky and it is giving me a little pause to think.  Maybe I should say it is making me a little bit more fearful.  It has made me fearful enough to force me to write a will.  That is saying something for me!  Oh well - it has to be done and I will endure!

Well - that's it for the day.  Hope everyone's week is off to a great start!

Thanks and peace to all! ~ J.

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