Krakow

by achuggabug

It’s the morning of the 19th, and once again, the Chuggabugs prepare to depart. After a day an a half in Krakow we’re getting read to get on the road toward Slovakia and into Hungary. We’ve only got about five (so probably eight with our sense of direction) hours of driving today, so it should be much more pleasant than our exodus from the Czech Republic. Considering we’ll be camping tonight, I can only hope the weather holds.

Krakow has been an amazing city to stay in, and I’m not the least bit ashamed about how much of a tourist I’ve been. Will showed us to the Old City Square where we got some awesome photos. After that we went walking around and found a little pub for lunch. I was excited about ordering weiner-schnitzel, but I was surprised to find out that it’s just thin friend pork chop. When my plate came, it was bigger than any three other meals I’ve eaten on the whole trip. It was good though. Along with the schnitzel I got two spare ribs and a duck leg and thigh with potatoes and sour cabbage on the side. I ate every bite, even though it hurt.

After the big meal, we wandered some more, and Chase dropped his film with the developers. We went back to our hostel and unloaded our things into our room, and I had a hard time fighting off a nap. Then we walked Will down to the bus stop. After his bus came, we walked over to get some ice cream and pick up Chase’s photos.

Back at the hostel, we crowded around the computer to look at the expertly taken pictures (alongside the amateur ones), and then we prepared to go our separate ways for the night; every once in a while, it’s good to split up so that we don’t spend so much time together that we hate one another. I’m not entirely sure where the others went, but I decided to pub hop and found some wonderful places to stop and watch a soccer game.

I do feel bad that I didn’t find anyone to talk to; I passed a few groups I heard speaking English, but one group was a family, one was a pair of women fighting, and the third was a group of guys leaving a bar as I went in. I will try to do better in the future, and, if I’m honest, the sound of Polish is terrifying to me so I’ve been a bit off balance since we’ve been here.

I’ve had to face a few hard truths about traveling and myself so far on this trip, but it is giving me an idea of what I’d like to improve in the future. The most important thing (and, unfortunately, one I can’t easily fix) is that continental Europe doesn’t believe in normal drip coffee; you either have to spend $2-3 on an Americano (espresso mixed with hot water) or settle for instant. So far I’ve been doing a mixture of both, but, for financial reasons, I’m about to get very comfortable with the instant. It would be nice, after all, to be able to enjoy being in the amazing places we’ll stop like Istanbul and Ulan Bator without worrying about how much it’s costing me.

On a more personal level, I’ve discovered I’m much more timid than the last time I went outside my comfort zone. I’d like to believe it’s due to my expectation that nobody around me speaks/understands my language, but I know it’s something less excusable than that. I can’t exactly put my finger on it, but I think it’s something to do with a fear of them not accepting me in some strange, intangible way. My only option is to plow through and start talking to people; hopefully I’ll still have plenty of opportunity to meet some interesting people and bring their stories back with me.

Our next two nights will be camping, so I’m not sure if we’ll have any easy access to WiFi, but after that we’ll be in Bucharest at a hostel. Given the relatively short time we’ll be on the road, I’m sure I’ll have plenty to upload on Saturday.

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