This is not my first visit to what is called here the Polish Royal City. I was here for Pope Benedict’s trip in 2006, the first foreign trip he personally chose as Pope in order to honor his predecessor, Polish-born St. John Paul. Benedict XVI did celebrate Youth Day in Cologne in 2005 but that city was chosen by his predecessor.

I had a delightful trip on Alitalia and was picked up at the airport by a taxi the hotel sent for me. The first part of the short ride was through delightful countryside – the sun was shining and it seemed the perfect way to start a trip.

Parts of the airport and the city are still getting ready for World Youth Day next month but I’m sure all will be in order for that big event presided over by Pope Francis.

A word of warning. More people smoke here than any place I have been in recent years, certainly waaaay more than in the U.S. Smoking is allowed outdoors at cafes and restaurants.

I went to the wonderful, world famous main Market Square and had a bite to eat as I read notes, compiled a list of things to do, places to visit and people to call. Solving the phone situation was my priority as I wanted to avoid the roaming charges that I’d incur by using my Italian cell phone in Poland. I hoped to buy a Polish SIM card but discovered my Italian TIM service has special offers for abroad so I hope that solves the problems. Where there seem to be cell phone stores every two or three blocks in Rome, they are much harder to find here.

These are the only two photos I’ve taken so far as I have walked around to acclimate myself to the city. The carriages here are immensely beautiful as are the horses – I may have to see what a carriage ride costs and where they take you.

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Just a quick note as I prepare to go out for dinner. Tomorrow promises to be a full day and I’ll catch up if and when I can.

Before I close – a shout out to the United States where June 14 is Flag Day! Be sure to display yours!