Until this coming Sunday when I pop my Polish cherry: an inaugural trip to Krakow. Really? That can’t be right? A slightly curious sensation due to the blurring, simplifying, editing effect of memory nagging gently that I’ve “done” Europe.
“Done.” Faintly ridiculous as a tourist notion. For starters I have trouble swallowing the word “done” in relation to travel when people actually mean visited. “Done” oft misses a contextualising prefix: briefly/once/almost/passed through/changed-planes-at-the-airport/school trip/business trip. What’s worse? Dropping it in with a casual one-upmanship flavour. Yuk. (Or maybe that’s merely a bias I have trained myself to listen for in conversation?) Consider for a moment the sheer wrong headedness of one considering to have “done” somewhere. It implies a full data set. (I’ve accidentally lived in a small country town for approaching 13 years and have no sense of a complete working knowledge.) Places evolve. Simple stuff such as new places to eat mean any valid local info’ is – at best – only fleetingly correct.
Another ingredient to throw into the mix is that this is a work jaunt. The classic double-edged sword of experiencing a place on someone else’s coin, yet insulating the traveler from learning the lay of the land outside of the surreal business orbit.
Following weekend in the pub: “Yeah, I’ve done Krakow.”
So as I sit here prepping for work, I also am checking practicalities like mondey, public transport, locations and – inevitably – reviews of stuff. At best, my visitation outside of the client office will be limited to Sunday afternoon and evening on foot. The weekday evenings could well be swallowed up with work or a solo self-guided walking tour of the town. There is potential for some client led dinner and a beer shenanigans, but that’s just potential right now. (It’s also potentially awful as you get trapped into a forced social situation.)
Typically, the modus operandi for the work travel gig is to use public transport where possible, try to eat local food in independent joints, walk around and drink it all in. After a day at the client coal face, that room service burger and Coke is mighty tempting. Getting out of the hotel is the crucial first step. Set mind to “open” and stride forth. (Much of the material for this blog is accidentally gathered thus.)
So by next Friday night I’ll be pooped from a full-on work schedule, but also armed with a flavour of a place that was new to me on arrival.
Can’t wait to experience it.
PS: Krakow top tips welcome.