Feeling the culture in Krakow

10 Aug

Farewelled my hostel and went to the train station. Bought some pastries for the 3 hour train trip, but the jam filled donuts and scroll didn’t last 15 minutes! Had a heart attack moment when I boarded the wrong train – same destination, similar times, but triple the price! Only became aware when a daggier train turned up on the platform. Still a good ride, you’d be mad to pay for a first class trip.

Arrived in Krakow with a headache. Hadn’t slept well last night and wasn’t in the best of moods. Found my hostel with no dramas, even though the reviews had been ‘hard to locate’. It was in a courtyard and up a floor, so I could see why. Krakow is a much more tourist oriented city, in part because it didn’t get any of the bombing that Warsaw did. A map of the city showed it was kind of like Lucca in that the main part is an oval with many lanes within. I went for a stroll to get my bearings. I hate being unorientated! Found Wawel Castle in the south and took a quick walk through. Old buildings and statues, my impression was that they were more Englandy than Eastern Europe, and that threw me off somewhat. Didn’t bother paying admission to any churches, seen it all before. I had lunch in another milk bar, again it wasn’t set up for English speakers. Had the same meal but without the beetroot soup and with a fruit tea. Not as good as Warsaw. I kept wandering to the Jewish part of town (well, formerly) but didn’t see anything particularly Jewish. Despite this it was still good to get away from the main tourist trap and see the bakeries and clothes shops. Heading in the right direction back, but not particularly sure, I found a large hut with queues of people at some windows. It was in a large square that holds markets, and they were in the midst of packing up. I circled a few times before standing in one of the shorter lines to get a zapiekanka, which is half a footlong loaf topped with flavours. Fortunately there was an English translation and I got mountain cheese, sausage and pickles with Mexican sauce (salsa). Everyone was either ordering or eating them. And it was really good too! Spying on other people, there seemed to be a big range of toppings. Happily, I went back to the main city and had a beer in the centre square. Huge square complete with large church, buskers and horse drawn carts. Krakow is vying for something of a cultural center image and therefore it has plenty of arts around the place. The summer setting I was in faced an alternative band playing on a big stage, kinda sounded like Modest Mouse. Alternative Polish music! Huge crowd gathered too, but I had a perfect view from my seat. Enjoyed my Tyskie beer. Funny thing with Polish women is that they keep up with the men with the big half litre beers – but by using a straw! Also, standard uniform for labourers in Poland seems to be blue or green overalls. The first time I noticed I thought that a guy was dressed up as Luigi, with his matching green overalls and hat! The next guy had a blue t-shirt under his matching red overalls and hat – AND had a fat moustache! I wanted a photo but he looked like a particularly nasty strangler.

It was ninish and I went back to the hostel for a leak and dropped off my valuables bag in the locker. My bed is a good 3m off the ground, highest triple bunk ever! Back out into the streets for another wander. Came across a cinema (OK so I knew it was there) and fortunately a 10:10 screening of Inception was on! In English with Polish subtitles! For only 12zl! 3 euros! Cosy little cinema too. Photos on the wall showed Morgan Freeman had once visited. Mainly show indie films too. Massive headtrip of a movie. I got back to the hostel around 1am, pleased that I wouldn’t be home early. Or so I thought. My room of 9 had only 1 person asleep! I closed my eyes, expecting to be woken up at any time…

2 Responses to “Feeling the culture in Krakow”

  1. tonialeannegray November 10, 2010 at 5:57 am #

    Will — just had time to link to your blog — this is really brilliant stuff.

    Do you mind if — on the front page of our blog — we do a link to yours

    https://williaminthenetherlands.wordpress.com/

    that way lots more will see your blog via the front page of ours.

    regards Tonia

    • williaminthenetherlands November 10, 2010 at 12:00 pm #

      Sure! I have kind of let the blog fester as it got too much during uni, but go for it!

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