Another lovely morning, another free hostel breakfast. That means cereal, grains, breads…all carbs.
It also meant hot, instant coffee with milk. Not good, but does the job of helping to wake you up.
I was seated at a table with several people, but they paid me no mind. Why would they, a guy was holding court with stories about his travels
It sounded like the dude had been most everywhere and had an amazing story to go along with it. I hoped to be able to match his tales one day.
As I recall, one tale involved drinks with attractive girls, but he seemed to be more impressed with the inexpensive liquor vs. the ladies as he kept bringing up how much each bev cost.
“Yo I bet we could get a whole bottle over there for what we pay for a drink over here!” he exclaimed several times. What about those ladies!? How about the music at least?
I was soon out the hostel and out onto the tourist ave.
Today brought human statues into the usual busker, beggar mix. It had to have taken hours to put on all the clothes and make-up.
I met my friend at her apt and we took the path along the river to a bridge that went over to the other side.
We talked about life in Poland and how different it was on most basic tasks. Take banking, or shopping over here.
Pretty much cash is used everywhere. Some places still don’t have a card machine much less an ATM. You go to the bank before going shopping, it takes some getting used to since we use a card for pretty much everything. Some places in the US don’t take cash.
We were on our way to forum przestrzenie, a rather ominous building that used to be a watchtower over that part of the city back in the communist days.
It had stood empty awhile before a company ventured to buy it and install a nice coffee shop, brunch spot inside. Perestroika boys.
Once inside, the place felt oddly like an auditorium, gymnasium. It seemed they moved all the furniture at night and held athletic events here.
It was fashioned like a modern coffee shop also equipped with a sammitch station and small bar.
I recalled seeing a handmade poster for a rock show on a wall near the restroom and wished I could have gone. It was to be held in a VA type building in town. Very homemade poster, shitty design, they probably played loud and fast.
We talked freelance jobs between soup and sandwiches. There are so many ways to make a living, you just have to keep your eyes and ears open.
We soon parted ways, her to a meeting and me to wander around the city one final night.
I felt the best option was to walk around the city via the greenbelt, the former moat.
I paused several times, sitting on a bench to enjoy a fountain, watch kids play or listen to one of the performers squeeze an accordion or strum a stringed instrument.
Sundown lead me back to the river, the Vistula. I’ve read that all great cities are built near water. Add Krakow to this list.
I had no idea about Krakow or what Poland was really about until this trip. In my mind it was just the country where John Paul II was from which was a big deal everywhere, but I never got what the big deal was.
Having walked the streets, I get it, this is a small country population wise. They are very Catholic, rule following people, he was their hometown boy done good story.
I was also to learn of the horrific past that Krakow and Poland faced both during the Wars and the Communist recovery. The country had been much larger before the wars but after each, more and more was cut away. They had been occupied for decades, unable to self govern.
They needed someone, a hero perhaps, something positive because it was mostly bad news for decades.
Reality hit me and I came to sitting on a bench watching 2 homeless guys argue about something when one of them grabbed his walking stick and swung away as the other ran, right into some bushes.
Ah yes here I am, Krakow, Poland, EU, Earth.
After the sun went down, I strode over to the House of Beer, a bit excited to see what would happen, yet a bit melancholy since it was my last night in town.
Nothing out of the ordinary happened, usual scene of people having a good time. In one corner some were playing trivia, laughing at no doubt clever answers.
There were a few window seats where the table was a big barrel and these were where the couples sat.
I was once again seated at the bar, watching people pour beer, set bottles and glasses on trays and especially stand in a corner to check their phones for messages or maybe to see how many likes their post received.
I had a couple pints and then left just before midnight.
Walking around a city at night is one of my favorite pastimes. Finally you can see the whole city square, no crowds of people blocking a view. No buskers or beggars to fight off.
Sure, night-time was the prime time for robberies so I was on guard. As is usual, you’ll turn a corner to see a dark route due to a light burned out.
Don’t go down dark streets at night kids, pro tip. There is usually another lighted way to wherever you are going.
I unlocked the gate to my hostel an walked upstairs to my bed.
Tomorrow I was off to Warsaw, Warszawa, the capital of Poland.
Song: MGMT Electric Feel