From City Wall to Planty Park

Planty Park? The Polish name seems to mean park of plants, or something to that effect. You’d think the city would have come up with something more evocative of Kraków’s distinguished past, but so be it. This marvelous urban green way is one of features that gives Kraków its captivating charm.

Like many ancient and medieval European cities, for many years, the historic urban core of Kraków was enclosed by a defensive wall and a moat. Eventually, as artillery that could fire explosive projectiles replaced catapults hurling stones, walls lost their defensive edge and cities began to remove them. In the 1800s, Kraków replaced its wall and moat with a green beltway that rings the city’s Old Town.

Today Planty Park is a beautiful common space with lengthy walkways shaded by stately trees. While it never felt crowded to me, the park was full of people, from locals going about their business to visitors with cameras. A place for strolling, quality thinking time, meeting friends, texting, or catching some morning rays.

Finally, when you have walked your fill or gotten where you are going, the city is never far away.

Government House, Annapolis, MD

Annapolis is the capital city of Maryland and home to the US Naval Academy. It is a lovely, manicured, very affluent small city. The Maryland State House, the oldest state capitol building in continuous service in the US (since 1772) was covered in scaffolding while it got a facelift. So I had to make do with this photo of the entrance to Government House, Maryland’s governor’s mansion, located across the street from the State House.

In one of those historical ironies that I very much enjoy, the next resident of Government House will be Maryland Governor-elect, Wes Moore; he will be the state’s first African-American governor. The man who designed Government House, completed in 1870, was named Richard Snowden Andrews, an architect and, during the Civil War, a general in the Confederate States Army. Hope you are rolling over in your grave, traitor.