Sunday, August 23, 2009
Aug 1 - 2: Krakow, Poland
Saturday after packing and checking out of the dorm, I took the 10 am train to Krakow, Poland. I changed trains somewhere just on the Czech side of the border. Love the train. The second train was older and bumpy, so that I could barely could write. Noise rattled from broken open doors, squealing metal scraping on metal, buckling joints and train cars bucking up and down. After almost 9 hours, I arrived in Krakow and slept 11 hours that first night.
In the morning I walked through the massive town square center, the largest in Europe, 200 m square. A cloth factory building commands the center. The Wawel castle stands at the end of town. Here I joined a trio of traditionally dressed street music performers. And past that, I entered Kazimierz, the old Jewish quarter, or ghetto. At Pub Stajnia with some sparkling wine, my skin was prickly with humid heat. I watched a man take a shot of vodka and then stir sugar into his cappuccino, a mixed drink waiting next to the little espresso cup. I ate pink cold borscht soup with dill and cucumber floating in it. Poland has avoided the industrialization of food production and their food surprises with flavor and color.
In the nighttime, I discovered fire dancers in the town square performing before an old medieval church. Afterwards I sat at a street café. I was perfectly comfortable and unbothered as a single woman. This is one thing I love about Eastern Europe. I walked all day. My camera has been my companion and allows me to reminisce over the day; a way to record, comment, and remember.