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The journey not the arrival matters I believe that travel is the best education. I wanted to learn more about myself and the world so I embarked on a journey, with minimal plans, eager and ready to discover new places, new people and to be adventurous!

Killer Kraków

POLAND | Sunday, 16 June 2013 | Views [543]

I fell in love with this city instantly ...It's soul, the energy it exuded, the fact that there is always a festival/concert/celebration, the musical nature of the city with dozens of jazz bars and talented musicians, the food- of course the pierogi and ponćki, but also great bread rolls, sausages and rich soups (yes, I look like a hefalump now!), the lovely big green park near where I lived, the beautiful old buildings and architecture, especially the main city square with St Mary's Cathedral and the beautiful long market hall with archways in the middle, Wawel Castle by the river, the cosy little underground pubs and restaurants with a million different rooms you don't think the place ever ends!, the youthfulness (mostly due to the prestigious Jagiellonion University) and of course the language! It was so cool to just hear it all around me every day... I actually started 'thinking' in Polish as soon as I arrived, but my lack of vocab slowed me down :) ... so time for a language course!!
I lived in a house with 3 lovely girls - 19 yr old Victoria from Germany (who also has Polish parents) and we were a bit of a pair (see what I mean about the youngsters!) - similar in many ways and the age gap wasn't a problem at all! Then there was Sonja from Minnesota - super ambitious and conscientious in her studies of the music of the holocaust... She reminded me a lot of Bella - she's in her first or second year of classical voice using her stipend for a research project to immerse herself in Polish culture, meet WW2 veterans and go to lots of music concerts and operas! Finally there was delightful Lilia from the Ukraine who celebrated her 25th birthday during the course. Every day we caught the bus to school for class from 930-12. I was in class A-1 (the one above beginners) with Victoria, and had great teachers! They spoke only in Polish which was cool but tricky at times, especially when trying to describe more abstract words... One day the teacher tried to explain what the word 'zdanie' means and I just had no idea what it could be when she kept writing something on the board and putting a full stop at the end! ... The word was 'sentence' Haha. I came to realise that my prior knowledge included very limited vocabulary, I had no clue about the grammar and it is hard!!! I had a bit of homework every day and a test at the end with a score of 68.5/70!! I still can't really 'talk' fluently but I definitely improved my vocab and have bought an exercise book to continue learning!! During my post test celebrations (and this was pre-beer mind you) I got my ear pieced 'hook' type... in the cartilage).
In between lessons we had some social and cultural activities including a karaoke night where we performed a Polish song for the drunk English bucks show lads, visits to a few museums including Schindler's factory, a couple of jazz concerts, walks around the lovely city centre and Kazimierz-the Jewish district, and Wielicka- the salt mine museum where there were entire rooms and a church underground, made of salt! One day, I located some family - my grandpa's sister's late son's wife and her daughter (Jadwiga and Agnieska) - an unexpectedly super emotional experience - I cried!! And then spent an hour trying to communicate with them in broken polish- I was so drained afterwards!! I felt so at home in krakow. I had a great routine every day, I actually enjoyed the rain and the cooler weather and I could definitely see myself living here happily ... If it wasn't for the shitty economy and no jobs situation! :( I can't wait to go back there with mum and dad in August! 
Yesterday I arrived in Rome. Maybe I'm tired, or too hooked on liking Krakow but so far it's just extremely touristy, dirty, a bit smelly and there's a lot of vandalism. I walked to the Colloseum and it looked pretty amazing but I was too hot, tired and had sore feet and I knew I wasn't appreciating anything. So I've come back to the hostel to chill, write emails and chat with the 19 yr old American and 21 yr old Japanese boys in my dorm who both play professional soccer in Germany!!! Mr USA looks like Tom Cruise and was delightfully distracting, doing pushups and sit ups on the floor next to me while I read... I was on the same page for a good 15 minutes!! :) Well I'm gonna rest up now so I can actually give Rome a better go tomorrow!! 

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