Kraków. You know I unabashedly adore you. Just not in the bone-chilling month of March. Or when the deceivingly cheery “Rainbow Apartments” decided to skimp on hot water and Internet as promised. (Ok, Internet is not a necessity, but a shower after a four hour train ride and a few more hours of trying to contact the mysterious owner of said apartments with Skype on a mega mall’s temperamental wi-fi is ideal.)
Oh, and for those who are curious if we stayed in the heartless Rainbow Apartments, we hightailed it out of there the next morning, with some of our dignity intact (and thankfully with a partial refund too). We ended up in the ever-reliable Mundo Hostel with its quaint rooms each designed after a different country, where we ended up in the romantic French room (I’ve paid a visit to Cuba and Kenya before). The complementary breakfast as always was a welcome treat each morning, with a delicious spread of scrambled eggs, cheeses, ham, and freshly baked bread. So moral of the story kids is always choose a place that you know or seems reliable, and don’t get lured in by fancy, false advertising.
Despite some mishaps early on, Kraków was just as magical as I had always remembered it to be when I lived here and being able to share this tiny corner of the world with Mustafa was an immeasurable experience.
My paternal grandparents were from small towns just an hour’s drive from Kraków, so this ancestral pull was the factor that initially intrigued me. Quickly the city drew me in with its main square where remnants of history lay dormant around the cobblestone streets; easily awoken if one took the moment to acknowledge them.
Krakow was unusually snowy this year (we meet some Swedes that said even Sweden had had better weather this year). Despite the dreary weather, we made the best of our time, eating delicious fried mushroom and cabbage pierogi in a hidden underground restaurant, U Babci Maliny (Grandmother Rasberry), that was reminiscent of a kitschy, Polish grandmother’s country cottage; drinking hot chocolate spiked with vodka at Cafe Botanica, one of my old haunts as a student and wandering among the snow-drift covered streets.
Krakow, imperfections and all, you still make my heart swell after all these years.