Richard Wright

author of strange, dark fictions

Journal

On Krakow

March 9, 2008 by Richard Wright in Journal, Life

Sorry to have gone quiet for you – spent a couple of day in Krakow last week (a surprise for my lady’s birthday), and have been struggling to get back into things since getting back.

Krakow itself was lovely. We spent our time wandering through the beautifully preserved Old Town at the heart of the city, stopping occasionally to feast on pork, vodka, and Polish beer, and that made for a very entertaining time. That I occasionally punctuated conversations with little screams of agony, having thrown my knee out the night before we left, only heightened my lady’s amusement (the knee is getting better as long as I’m careful at what angles I put weight on it, thanks). For the most part, we were snowed gently upon in an Eastern European sort of way, although some dazzling sunshine also made a brief appearance. We were very impressed by the Poles, on three counts. Firstly, their well known ability to remove vowels from otherwise pronounceable vocabulary, at startling speed to boot, amazed us. We were also impressed that we didn’t see one overweight native while we were there, and are seriously considering the health implications of a cigarette, vodka, black coffee, pork, and cabbage based diet. Finally, the Poles love paprika crisps. They just do. I ate quite a lot of them to get into the spirit of the thing, and while they’re fine, I just don’t get it.

Probably what I enjoyed most about Krakow, apart from some stunning architecture, were the bars. Those we sampled were usually underground, accessed by stairs from the street, and they were wildly different. In the United Kingdom, chain pubs owned centrally by breweries, are ubiquitous, and are usually devoid of individuality. In Poland, each pub was entirely its own place, and that really was charming.

So, a nice couple of days, thanks. We’ll go back at some point, mostly because we didn’t have time to visit Auschwitz (we weren’t there long, and an Auschwitz trip would have soaked up a disproportionate amount of our time). It’s one of those places I feel I really should see in my lifetime for some reason, though a merry birthday trip didn’t seem quite the right occasion. You see my point.

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