After some travails via the ordeal that is Squeezyjet and a replacement bus service from airport to town the opportunity explore Krakow presents. Replacement bussing takes one round the houses, which – with a near pillion to drive’ – is plenty interesting. Alighting at the train station – albeit a train free station today – I’m soon ditching the ‘case at a pleasingly central hotel. Shunning maps, books, Google, I put best foot forward and see where the mood takes me. I find this tactic diverting and arresting because you don’t know where you’re going, what to expect, the force/flow/fancy taking the helm.
Disclaimer: Clearly I’ve not discovered Krakow. From the look of it, plenty of folk have beaten me to it. But I am new in town. New to Poland.
Crikey, it’s rather lovely.
I also note that those making a drunken scene in the old town are Brits.
In the evening several young fellows inquire to my well-being in Polish and then helpfully translate when they clock that my grasp of their language is zero. Apparently I look like I am in need of a lap-dance. Such kind chaps, looking after an older fellow. “Thanks for you concern, but this bracing air is all I require my good man. Good evening to you.”
Odd really, I never get spoken to in Arabic in Dubai. But here I get spoken to in Polish… How can that be?
I walked for hours, punctuated by weapons grade coffee, baked goods and a dinner of most of a pig, breaded.
Next day at the office, the locals chuckle at my experiences. Apparently, they enjoy a good whinge about air quality is a thing here: Rural Poles will burn anything. The way we Brits complain about the weather, the Poles do smog. (I just commented on how warm it was.) In bemusing juxtaposition to Brexit fuelled xenophobes, you can imagine what a Krakow native thinks of the Brits “cammin over ere drinkin arr beer, pukin on ourrr cobbled streeets, fillin arrr lapdancin’ bars. Who do vey fink vey are, eh?” (Although why they are heavily accented like a Cockney cabbie in my imagination is anyone’s guess.)
And all this without reference to, ahem, the darker tourism here: the infamous forced labour camps, Schindler’s factory, Soviet rule. IE: the horrors of the twentieth century.
Still, work hard by day, wander the old town by night following an early dinner. Am not an instant local, but am instantly relaxed by the vibe here. How come it’s taken me 49 years to visit?