Sunday, September 7, 2008

Polish National Day!

Howdy from Krakow.. it's Saturday night here, with celebrations of all kinds going on outside (in the main city Market Square) - live music, stalls selling exotic cosmetics and beer and other useful things. It's warm (28ishC) and humid - yes, sigh sigh, my personal weather dark star is working again; locals tell me it's NEVER humid here, and hardly EVER this warm at this time of year. And our hotel, while purrfectly ok, has given us a west-facing room, oh sighhhh. We do have two fans however, cos we have our own as you know, and there is one in the room. We can manage a rather nice cross-current across the beds, which is enough to cool me, but not so windy that it bothers M.

I have travel-ennui.. perhaps partly because of the bloody Vilnuis fark-up and the physical and mental strength required yesterday. I will post the details when I come back to this 'net cafe with my lappie... but, briefly, nothing went wrong, it was a huge relief to get here so easily compared to the rather dire train option.

[We got into our room, changed to cooler clothes, staggered out to the nearest cafe selling sandwiches and fresh juice, and then collapsed for a long sleep. Then repeated the activity in the evening - up, out for dinner, then collapse for sleep again. Showers and sorting a big bundle of washing for the hotel laundry service happened too. Damn the expense, I'm sick of washing stuff in small bathroom basins..]

I had a big catch-up sleep (in part I think to help fend off a small throat thingie, which I believe I picked up thanks to someone sitting behind me on an airport bus, who sneezed several times before I had the chance to get a tissue over me face - 'airport bus' meaning the buses which took us from the terminal to the plane and vice versa; in one case, because of the long and roundabout route, we were convinced we were being taken to the back blocks to board an old helicopter or perhaps one of those bi-planes where you can get out and do Hollywood posing on the wings...).. I woke up very down. Why??? I asked myself, am I doing all this travel? Another bloody hotel room. More time to be spent finding things and hunting for food and managing suitcases and avoiding cigarettes etc etc. Moop moop I went. M was out, getting concert tickets for tonight and looking around and having a big 'net fix and being NORMAL. There was no chocolate left in our stash.. no trashy mags or new bottles of purrfume... I want a CAT, in fact I want TWO CATS. And my garden and ALL my shoes, and .. and .. home. Even the filing I haven't done yet, waiting for me in boxes in my study....

M returned looking very happy, with bananas, the concert tickets, and lots of news about various useful places he'd found. He tempted me with loving patience to have a banana (low blood sugar fixed), more water (ditto dehydration, probably), gave me a gentle pep-talk ('we can't go home now, think of all the ppl reading your blog who'd be disappointed'; 'our house-sitter would be suddenly homeless'; 'think of having to go home on one of those 27-hour flights with no stopping half-way to recover and shop in Hong Kong'... ok, he didn't really say that last bit but it's a good point - even with those super-don'tdropdeadfromaclot-socks my legs and feet swell alarmingly on planes. And yes, I DO twiddle me legs and walk and stretch and drink water like a fish etc etc... but I digress, again).

He asked me if I'd cut his beard and hair and that was excellent distraction; I spent a long time over it and made quite a big mess in the bathroom - which *I* don't have to clear up! That was enough to get me considering a bit of smiling again. Once we'd washed the hair off ourselves and dressed, it was a bit cooler outside and I was ready for some coffee. M took me to see the wondrous combination of goodies for droopy princesses - AIRCONDITIONING in a shopping mall which had a decent cafe/bar serving LATTE, emergency-strength CHOCOLATE CAKE (chocolate mousse with espresso cream and a praline topping, wowee!) and with a recent copy of The Times for me to read, while he went out to another Information Centre nearby. When he returned, the icing on the cake for me was the L'OCCITANE SHOP upstairs, which he'd noted especially for me. What a guy. No you CAN'T have him, I won't share!

I spent a very happy half-hour in there inspecting every item. Then, with some reluctance, I only bought things I needed ... well, 3 out of 4 were definitely 'replacement' items (skin care). M had suggested I get a candle there, to help with the 'make a hotel room feel like home' supplies. [We both enjoyed a lavender candle I bought from L'O in Melbourne earlier this year; found the scent enjoyable rather than soapy, as cheaper scented candles tend to be.] I chose a cinnamon and orange-scented candle, which on reflection is a bit Christmassy, but purrhaps that will help my Festive Attitude Problem!


The concert was a wonderful performance of Chopin pieces for piano, held in a room at the Bonerowski Palace, built in the early 1500s. The pieces were performed by Pawel Kubica; a slim, intense fellow in his 30's I'd say. He had the knack of seeming to coax the piano to produce its music - I feel this sometimes when watching orchestral performances; the conductor seems to be 'magicking' the music from a space above the musicians. Kubica seemed to barely touch the keys, leaving the piano to 'sing' on its own. Fantastic. The event was slightly marred by several audience members taking flash photos. Surely the flash is distracting for the performer? Certainly the 'click' of the shot being taken was distracting for me. I disapprove. This is right up there with mobile phone pollution in concerts. Grrr...

Now I need to go, tomorrow is another day and all that. We're going to be up and doing at a reasonable hour (by 9am) to go on a 4-hour bus trip around Krakow to see the city highlights, and have a short tour through the castle. See you all soon!

Today brought to you by ... M. He deserves all the credit this time.

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