I got back to the hotel from my trip to Weliczka to find Chris, our tour organizer, busy wrapping the czupaga I got a few days earlier. He’d promised he had a way to send it and he was true to his word. There were some other parcels of Chris’s to that were being wrapped. His friend Anna from Krakow was over and helping as well. So I helped him finish wrapping and eventually we went to the Post Office with about 7 packages to mail. There we had a very efficient clerk who took very good care of us. My czupaga should be arriving in about a week to my home. How nice. All told, the various packages we mailed cost just over 800 zloty, but some were books and quite heavy.
After that, I took off for the center of Kraków. I wandered around for a while but eventually found a great place for lunch, a place called Restauracja Jadełko. I had an excellent lunch there. I will write more about it in my food blog at http://lakemaryfoodcritic.blogspot.com when I have a chance, but it was a good Polish lunch. I started off by telling the waitress, Pierwsze, piwo, drugie! But for my meal I had barszcz czerwone z uszkami, pierogi ruskie, and coleslaw. It was all very good. The barszcz was a bit to salty for me and, honestly, the barszcz I made last Wigilia was better, but this was very damned good too, as were the uszki in it. The pierogi were also quite good, as was the coleslaw. The atmosphere was very nice, in an old storage celler, underground. I’m sure there was a history there but I was not about to ask!
After that I did more wandering and the like, then I went to the church on the corner near here. I forget the name at the moment, but it is very historic and very old. This church was here and in this building when the Turks (or was it Mongols, I forget) came to invade in the 13th or so century. Legend has I that the lookout in the tower saw the Turks invading and sounded the alarm with his trumpet, but the invaders killed him with an arrow. Now, each day, and every day, and every hour, even through the night, a trumpeter plays out of the windows in the tower, once to each direction, North, East, South, and West, and sounds the alarm, but the song ends in mid-note to commemorate the sudden death of the trumpeter. And yes, this is played at the four directions 24 times each day, on the hour. I have heard it myself a good half dozen times.
So guess what, you can actually climb this tower. And I did. All 237 steps up. And they are not easy nor shallow steps. It’s quite a trip up and equally treacherous on the way down. But apparently in Poland they don’t have all the scummy trial lawyers and the ADA to deal with. Poles are reasonable people and I knew to be careful. It was quite a hike up—and down. But a beautiful view, even on this cloudy day. I’m glad I went.
Yes, it is cloudy and rainy at times today. Well, not a real rain, but a drizzle. But that’s OK. And even in the midst of this less than ideal day, there are tons of people on the streets. It appears that Krakowians know to carry their umbrellas. So there were things going on in the square, rain or shine. It really is an alive place.
After my climb to the to top of the church, I sat under a big umbrella on the square and people watched for a while—and recovered. And I had a Żubrówka and a piwo drugi. That went down well. Then I shopped. I found some very nice stuff and I may go back for more. I found some wycinanki, a szopka, and a few other trinkets. Look out to see how I decorate this year for the holidays! I did a lot of walking today. At times I just wandered down some streets to see what was there and where they’d take me, no set goal in sight. It was a lot of fun and I had no fear of getting lost. Of course I have my iPhone for a backup plan.
Speaking of getting lost, what happens in Poland may stay in Poland, and I won’t mention any names, but several of our party had a bit or a challenge getting back to the hotel last night after our tour and dessert. I won’t mention any names, but I ran into two of our party whose initials are Pat and Sonja. I was walking down Ulica Święty Tomasz toward the hotel, and they were coming towards me. They said, thank god we found you. I asked, “where are you going.” They said “to the hotel” I said, “well, then you have a long way to go because the hotel is the other way.” Now in all honesty, someone gave them bad directions. But it was funny. And they were not the only ones. But for some reason, I’ve had an easy time finding my way around her. I am confident that next time I’ll be able to explore even further off the beaten path. I am looking forward to that.
So now I am back at my hotel, at least for a bit. I may go out again before we go to dinner. I’m actually going to dinner a bit early with Chris and his friend Anna and some of this other friends. They may all speak Polish, but after a few vodkas, as Anna said, she’ll speak and understand better English and I’ll speak and understand better Polish. Oh, and our dinner is at Wesele. Even I have heard of that before. Look it up, it’s a somewhat famous restaurant here in Krakow and famous in the world, I believe. Or at least, I’ve heard of it before for some reason. It will be an enjoyable dinner, for sure, and you know I’ll write about it when I can. But for now, it’s time to rest…or maybe have a piwo or some wódka, we’ll see!