Last week I went to Poland.
To be honest, I don’t know very much about Poland as a country. I still don’t, though I do know a little bit more now having visited there. I went to Poland to visit one of my longest-ever-best friends, Lola, who is there on a Fulbright grant.
She met me in Krakow, where we spent the first couple of days. We walked around the Rynek, or big plaza, and the Cloth hall market. We visited the Wawel (pronounced Vavel) Cathedral in Wawel Castle, and I hugged the Wawel Dragon (he even breathes fire!). We ate lunch at the Restauracja Gessler, drank Israeli coffee at the Cheder café in the old Jewish quarter of Krakow, and ate dinner at a sushi restaurant in the same area of town. The Jewish quarter is now the trendy part of Krakow, and apparently sushi restaurants = Western/modern!
We even rode in a hot air balloon.
Yes, we did this all in one day. I realised shortly after I arrived in Poland that this was the first country in which the language was truly unintelligible to me. I have enough Spanish background, with a smidgen of Latin and French, to navigate around most Romance-speaking countries. Even Cyprus wasn’t entirely foreign: not only was English widely spoken, but I recognised enough Greek letters to read place names and identify cognates. Polish on the other hand… I have no clue. Different sounds are assigned to letters I thought I knew. I entered the country only knowing how to say ‘wróżka’, or ‘fairy’ in Polish. By the end of five days I could say ‘dziękuję’ (thank you) and ‘tak’ (yes). Fortunately I had Laura as my translator and guide!
The next morning we had a delicious breakfast at a charming café called Camelot.
After breakfast at Camelot, we went to the Wieliczka salt mines, but that is worth a post of its own. Krakow is a beautiful city to walk around, and a day and a bit isn’t really enough to give it justice.
Tune in tomorrow for the Wieliczka salt mines!