|Hotel view of Wawel - so close, so far|
When I arrived on Sunday afternoon, I had plenty of time to go out and do some sightseeing, but given that the weather was still terribly hot, I decided to wait and give it my all on much cooler Monday. I did need some provisions, though, so I found a supermarket just behind the hotel and took the very short walk to do some shopping. Google maps automatically pulls up a few reviews for the places I click on my phone, and the ones for this grocer all said things about how slow the service was, and how the miserable employees seemed to hate every second they spent having to do their jobs. I figured it couldn't possibly be that bad, and well... I was wrong. After spending a few minutes picking up snacks and sparkling water* (sodastream at home has ruined me), I went to the cash desk, which had a woman waiting there and no lineup. She proceeded to start cleaning the inside and outside of her checkout lane, very pointedly ignoring my existence. A few minutes later when all had been thoroughly polished, she finally started ringing up my purchase. Then she realised that I didn't speak any Polish, and she didn't speak any English, which just made her exponentially more annoyed by my presence in her store. In the end I paid and headed out the door with a feeling of accomplishment: within my first few hours in Krakow, I'd not only found the city's grumpiest cashier, I'd managed to make her even grumpier!
After exploring the castle, I walked down the other side of the hill to Old Town, where I found myself surrounded by lovely architecture. And so many churches. SO many churches. I would go to take a photo of one, and check what it was called on the map, but there were so many close together that I couldn't tell one from another. I also saw loads of nuns walking around, probably more than I've ever seen in all my previous travels combined, and was reminded that Pope John Paul II was Polish at every turn. Man, they really love that guy in Krakow.
After a semi-traditional Polish lunch and 6-7 miles of walking, I decided I needed a break and went back to the hotel for the afternoon. Which was where I stayed for the rest of the day, going no further than a brief trip downstairs for dinner, and to bed early enough to deal with my 7am wake up call today.
I've had a great time exploring central Europe, and I do enjoy my solo travels, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't most excited to get to Edinburgh today. Lazing around with Jody for a few days sounds like the best vacation ever. Just a few more hours to wait...
*This reminds me. I've always been a big proponent of drinking good old tapwater, and that's exactly what I fizz up at home, unfiltered. So whenever I travel, if there's no obvious sign saying not to drink out of the tap, well, glug glug glug. Jody, on the other hand is certain that all foreign tapwater is going to kill him somehow -- which I've learned since is a common British belief; they all bring 9 cases worth of products on every holiday because everything non-British will definitely contain poison. I believe nothing of the sort, but because Jody has harassed me about it so much, now I do a quick search on the tapwater for anywhere I visit, and if there's no warnings in the top 3 results, back to the glugging. Which led me to find something interesting about Poland online: a recent study showed that the water is some of the purest in Europe, but none of the locals will drink it because they believe it's polluted. People in the country would rather have muddy well water that only flows 3 days a week, and city folk have at least 9 brands of bottled water to choose from in every corner shop. Apparently it's so bad that the government are now running a campaign called something like clean water, straight from the tap! to convince folks that they can trust their municipal water supply and get them off their environmentally unfriendly bottled water habit. Fascinating.