Today was another hot day for MYWE here in Krakow. We spent the morning sight seeing in the old quarter of the city. We went into St. Mary’s Basilica, a beautiful brick cathedral in the central square, where we saw the ceremony to open the giant wooden alter. The cathedral was beautiful, with hand painted ceilings and marble, wood, and gold decorations everywhere. We also got to hear the trumpet call from the very top of the church steeple. Apparently a trumpet plays this specific call every hour of the day, four times (one in each direction, N, S, E, W). Our guide Isabella explained that the trumpet call commemorates a trumpet player in the 13th century who was killed by an arrow to the throat while he was trying to sound the alarm for a Mongol attack on the city. We heard the trumpet player play many times throughout the course of the day. At one point, we even all waved at him from the ground below, and he waved back!
After free time for lunch, everyone had the option to take a tour of the oldest university in Poland, Jagiellonian University, or have more free time. About half the group, myself included, decided to go on the tour (I think the air conditioning swayed many people). Inside was an amazing collection of old documents, scientific instruments, and treasures as well as the preserved dining room, living room, and lecture hall for the scholars. They even had a first edition of Copernicus’ De revolutionibus orbium coelestium!
After meeting up with the group again, we headed back to the hotel to get ready for our concert at the Krakow Conservatory. Upon arriving at the hall for a quick rehearsal, we were all surprised by how dry the acoustics were. It took some getting used to after the resonance of the salt mine! During the concert, we performed some pieces that we had not played on the send off concert, including the Ives Symphony #2 Finale. The audience was smaller, but seemed receptive to our music.
After a dinner at a local restaurant back in the old part of the city, we came back to the hotel to get some sleep for the final leg of the trip. Tomorrow, we are going to drive four hours to reach Warsaw. I think everyone is excited to see yet another beautiful city!