On To Krakow

July 31.

It’s a tad rough this morning.

I get about 3 or 4 hours sleep after my late night out, and I’m up early to hurriedly pack my things. I’m not feeling so hot – but that’s my own fault.

Following breakfast, we leave the hotel just after 7:30 a.m. so our bus driver Anthony can get a leg up on the inter-country traffic. Our drive to Krakow will be approximately eight hours, with about three rest stops along the way.

I think I manage to get a half-hour nap before the bus makes its first stop, about 15 minutes in length. Then, back onto the bus.

Once back on the road, trip leader Carla pops in a movie related to our excursion to Auschwitz (happening the following day) – “Schindler’s List.” It’s the first time I actually have seen the movie, and I find it extremely really hard to watch. (Really, does anyone find this movie easy to watch? Probably not.)

Fast-forward about 6 hours … we finally reach Krakow.

Anthony drops us off in the old part of town, where Carla takes us on a brief orientation tour outside the outer perimeter of Wawel Castle. We then go into the old part of town, stopping briefly at the bright yellow former residence of Pope John Paul II when he was bishop of Krakow. (I spot the photo exhibition of Benedict II, which may or may not have been coincidentally placed in the building directly across the way.)

We wind our way through the streets before ending up in the Rynek Główny (or Main Market) Square, close to St. Mary’s Basilica.

After tooling around for a bit, we finally head to the hotel for a low-key evening. It’s a bit out of the way, but that doesn’t matter at all – it’s a brand-new Express by Holiday Inn. 

Upgrade!

The room is bigger, and there’s air-con. The only slight set-back is when Lauren goes to use the shower, only to discover the drain is clogged. Angela goes to reception and asks that houskeeping come and fix the problem. It isn’t all in vain – she gets to talk to a cute reception desk clerk.

Meanwhile, I attempt to call home for the first time in about three days using the free phone cards Carla gives all the travellers when they arrive for the tour. I try the pay phones in the lobby. Doesn’t work. I try using the phone in our room – several times. No dice.

I go to reception and explain my predicament to another (cute!) desk clerk, who tries the card for himself and tells me the card is no good. Oh well. Here’s hoping I can find an Internet cafe the next time we’re in town.

Our group sticks around the hotel for the night – we all have to rest up for a very important excursion which, I can now say, everyone should take at least once in their lifetime.

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