After starting off on the right foot in Gdansk, I made my way south to Krakow, where I was pleased to find myself in one of the most authentic and unpretentious cities I’ve ever traveled to.
Krakow had a certain charm about it. It’s creamy colored buildings with pristine antique facades in the Old Town; an air of casual cool in the Jewish Quarter, Kazimierz, the hustle and bustle of the main square with it’s horse drawn carriages and old brick cathedrals. I wandered around for the afternoon, content that everything was a sight to see and feeling the overall energy of this laid back city envelop me in it’s lushness.
The Wawel Castle sits atop a hill overlooking the river, and I cased it like a thief. I laid on the ground to get photos of it’s highest spires and stood in the garden attempting to take the perfect picture of the majestic building.
Afterwards I wandered down to the Jewish quarter, headed with strong intent to a bar called Alchemia, recommended to me by Mariusz my host father from Gdansk. It was hip beyond words, with dark wooden ceilings and rich red wallpapered walls and antique photos of men with beards. There were candles burning and tulips on every table. I drank a beer and listened to the people talking around me and allowing myself to get lost in the sounds of “tch” and “sh” and “zjh” typical of the Polish language.
In the evening I made my way to the main square looking for a bar called “Wodka.” I wanted to taste test the best of the best, and this little bar offered exactly that. I walked around disguising my city map and feigning competency in Polish until I found the bar. As I stood outside I laughed heartily as the entrance was marked with the Camino shell. I was on ‘the way,’ headed quickly towards a rosy drunkenness that is expected from 6 shots of hazelnut, cherry, crab apple, pepper, melon and pamplemousse vodka.
I drank late into the night and walked back through the empty square to my hotel. I knew I had an early morning bus to catch to Auschwitz the next morning, but I wasn’t letting that hold me back. I would compensate for sleep on the bus the next morning, as I have been this whole entire trip. I must push to see and feel and taste and smell everything that this gorgeous country has to offer–I can sleep later.