I’m back in Poland, one of my favorite countries. It is vastly underrated by tourists (which is a good thing), though they’re wising up and coming more often (which is a bad thing). Every time I’m here I hear more and more English being spoken both by the natives and the travelers (which is both good and bad). It is home to some of the most beautiful women Europe has to offer and some of the friendliest and welcoming people I’ve met.
I arrived in Wroclaw at about 10am and headed to Magda’s house. She’s one of Jack’s cousins. We met and had some tea (herbata) and some snacks, as is the custom. And as is the custom she insisted that I bloat myself on the delights. After that I made plans to head to Krakow (pronounced Krakoov by the Poles) for the weekend since the weather was so nice.
I found the Mundo Hostel online and it looked good. It’s set on a quiet street just off the old town, on the way to the old Jewish section. I called and booked with them, promising to be there by 10pm, as my train was set to arrive at about 9. Well my train was an hour late leaving and couldn’t make up much time on the way (actually it was delayed more) so I called back and let them know since they made me promise I’d show up.
When I got to Krakow it was dark and I strolled around the old town for a bit looking at the sights. It’s a really pretty area. I went and checked into the hostel and asked if they knew any places that would be good to hang out on a Friday night. Anita and Michal (if you stop by tell them I said hello) were friendly and spoke great English and one thing led to another and we all sat down and chatted. I offered some of my Jameson that I’d brought from Dublin and we ended up talking all night, about politics, music, culture and the general state of the world. They also revealed that before I arrived they thought I’d be an old man who didn’t know what a hostel was and who would be upset about not having a TV and a phone and room service. Do I give off that impression?
One other thing we talked about was whether it was better to be blind since birth or to have had the sense at one time. Michal’s argument was that you wouldn’t miss seeing if you were born blind and therefore would be better off. My argument was that you could rely on your memories and, though you may miss seeing, you would be happier having once been able to appreciate the sighted world. I think his point of view boils down to: absence of feeling is better than pain. My position, however, is that pain is better than numbness. This is a basic philosophical argument to which there is no clear answer. Your view, I suppose, is based on your your tolerance for pain and your experience with loss. Can predictions be made from this hypothesis? I doubt it since there are only subjective measures of both. But I think it can give a heuristic premise from which to work.
With the sun threatening to rise we broke up the festivities and I decided I’d head to the Jewish area and get some pictures and maybe some breakfast. I stopped at the market and got some pickles and apples and bread and headed back. I passed out before I ate more than one pickle and one slice of the bread.
The next day was also gorgeous so I hung out in and around the old town, just relaxing and taking in the sights, smells and sounds. Time went by and day became night and I headed back to the Jewish section. There was a little bar called Propoganda that I wanted to go see. It was pretty cool with lots of crazy Communist era stuff on the walls, but there were too many tourists. I went to another place called Singer, named for the sewing equipment and it was cool, too, but with the same drawback. That’s the problem with the tourist towns, they’re overrun with tourists.
Sunday I headed back to Wroclaw to meet Magda, her daughter and Marysia, another of Jack’s cousins. We had Easter dinner together and had a great time. Monday we got up, had lunch and I was off for Warsaw and back to working life.