The Pope’s Kayak

We have been to Krakow often enough that we are starting to seek out the smaller tourist attractions. These are often the best, anyway. Or at least the oddest.

Our goal for a couple of extra hours we had last weekend was to visit the medieval art collection at the National Museum at the Bishop Erazm Ciołek Palace. But we accidentally went into the building next door, which is the Diocesan Museum of Krakow. To be fair, there were some bits of medieval art inside, which is why we didn’t cotton on to our mistake right away. But it did occur to us that there was an awful lot of Pope John Paul II stuff on display. It just kept going and going.

As it turns out, the building was the home of Pope John Paul II, AKA Father Karol Wojtyła, from 1952 to 1967. Now it houses a collection of his possessions and other memorabilia. Despite JP II being highly venerated in his home country, we were the only visitors. It is a very odd little museum, but we liked it. (Next time we’ll check out the Bishop Ciołek museum!)

The man in question: one of several portraits which vary wildly in quality.
The man in question: one of several portraits–which vary wildly in quality.
His bedroom and study are quite cozy.
His bedroom and study are quite cozy.
His prayer bench.
His prayer bench.
Several papal outfits are on display, along with considerable bling.
Several papal outfits are on display, along with considerable papal bling.
A collection of gifts received by the pope. This is a monstrance containing a relic.
A collection of gifts received by the pope. This is a monstrance containing a holy relic.
I thought this little tabletop sculpture kind of cool.
I thought this little tabletop sculpture was kind of cool.
Karol Wojtyła in his youth.
Karol Wojtyła in his youth.
His wallet and money.
His wallet and money are among numerous random personal items on display.
His matches.
To wit: his matches.
Karol Wojtyła was quite the athlete, playing soccer and volleyball, biking and hiking. A bunch of his gear is displayed at the museum.
Karol Wojtyła was quite the athlete, playing soccer and volleyball, biking, hiking, and kayaking. A bunch of his sports gear is displayed at the museum.
And here is the Pope's kayak.
And here, as promised, is the Pope’s kayak.
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2 comments

  1. What an interesting museum to stumble into! I didn’t realize he was such an athlete. This reminds me of the Ataturk Museums in Turkey where his spats, clothing, toiletries kit, etc. are all on display. Every time I go to a “former home museum” of someone famous I always come out with an urge to declutter my own home. Not that I’d become famous and they’d keep all the random crap, but the idea that some future disconcerting eye would be checking out ‘my life’ via my possessions and making assumptions (probably true) about how twisted or lazy or troubled I ‘was’ – it makes me want to do some damage control. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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