Racing along the tracks in the land of my ancestors. It always feels like coming home here… as if on some level my being understands Poland once was home. We have been with my parents for the last 10 days and the joy of Poland coupled with the relief of respite has me in a state of bliss and relaxation.
After our exhausting night train, we met my parents at their hostel in Krakow. Walking the silent sunny streets at 7 am, I felt joy well up inside. Krakow feels like my city, and I slide into life here as if I have never left.
We have decided to rent a car for our journey to Zakopane, as the train has been swapped out with a bus and I’m not doing a winding bus ride with T. This turns out to be a good decision as there is a key fiasco in Zakopane and we end up needing to go back and forth 4km from our apartment to get the keys from some random wooden box on a wall. This would have meant an extra 8km of walking with packs had we bussed.
At this point T and I are still recovering from whatever illness had hit and aren’t really up for the hiking that we had planned to do here. We opt instead to spend a day foraying into Slovakia where we hope to visit a castle. On the way, we need a washroom break and stop at the side of the road. Immediately we start noticing bright blue and green rocks at our feet! The kids and I clamber up the hill like goats with Mom following close behind. We find truckloads of what we are pretty sure is green obsidian and load our pockets and coffee cups and t-shirts with this beautiful rock. I have no idea how this is going to make it back to Canada at this point, but I decide to worry about it later (4.5kg of rock ends up being shipped home from Krakow). After a speeding ticket, where Dad had to leave his licence and drive to the next town to find a bank machine, and lots of idyllic towns, we make it to our castle and have a little walk.
The rest of Zakopane was uneventful, we mostly just wandered the town, checked out the cemetery and recovered from our illness.
Returning to Krakow, we arrive to find that the apartment is nothing like described in the ad. It says it has a bedroom and turns out to be a studio, so I message to ask if we are in the right place and receive a very aggressive response. We are here for 7 nights, and have to squish into a fold down couch and a loft bed that shakes every time we move. The kids and I squish in the loft and Mom and Dad take the couch. It was nothing like we expected plus not in the location advertised, so we are not pleased but make the best of it.
Krakow is amazing, and we have come for the international singing competition week. We attend 4 nights of concerts. The most amazing choral music ever! There is a young choir from Sweden that just blows our minds. Plus all the concerts are in beautiful cathedrals throughout the city. We also enjoy the street performers, the quality of all the music here is phenomenal!
This trip to Krakow is more about music and hanging out enjoying the city, so we don’t plan any activities outside of this. We do take several free walking tours. The kids come on the Jewish traces and Street Art tour and Mom and I do the Macabre tour one evening alone. We also check out how candy is made one day. Mostly we wander and eat borscht and pirogies. It is sweltering hot almost too hot to move, so we try to enjoy the evening hours wandering in town. Mom and I meet a wonderful woman from Australia one morning and spend several hours having coffee and chatting with her. We also meet some amazing people while walking on the walking tours. The week goes by so fast I almost blink and miss it. Everyone is sad to leave Krakow as we all are in love. I would like to come back one day and spend a month or two.
Now we are on the stifling hot train to Poznan. Two more weeks and we are done.