I am sitting in Rynek Glowny, on a beautiful day, enjoying a Zywiec after a hectic morning.
Its my last full day in Krakow. I fly out at 7am, and trying to fit everything in.
A number of interesting, important things have happened here. Firstly, met some great people on the train. They gave me quite a lot to think about. I also went out drinking with some locals. One girl told me living in London is like working on the moon. This fantasy. It was very, very humbling.
Auschwitz took up most of day two. I could have spent another day there, but I was so disturbed already. I was going to write a whole thing on Auschwitz. I might still do. But for now…when walked through the gas chamber and looked into one of the ovens where they burnt the bodies… I wanted to throw up.
I met Sarah and Tess who had dinner with me last night and today is tourist day. Saw the castle, Schindlers factory, the Japanese museum and now back in the old square for some serious beating up of the memory card.
All this walking is killing me though. This time tomorrow I will be in Brussels where I plan on getting a regular hotel, get cleaned up and catch a eurostar straight to work Tuesday morning.
There is so much to say. So much I’ve seen and learnt. Sad to think it is pretty much over.
Finally, some alone time with a proper computer.
I am in Krakow after a wonderful time in Prague. I just fell so in love with Prague. My first night, when it rained, I braced it to find some food. And turned a left and looked right and found this random gorgeous boulevard, leading up to the magnificent Museum. In the sparkling rain it was very magical.
I met some great people in Prague, people I will keep in touch with. First and foremost my New York friends, and getting pretty close to betting Chris would throw up on St Charles Bridge. We had some massive nights. And the afternoon I sat in a bar and wasted a lovely afternoon getting drunk with Adam, discussing a lot of Tom Waits.
My favourite memory of Prague comes from the Castle. If you do not know, Prague is divided by a river with the Castle, high up, looking over the town. It looks gorgeous at night, by the way, all lit up (I have plenty of photos that I will share). But out front of the Castle are these well kept gorgeous gardens, that look over the entire city.
It’s been hot all week, and I was walking through these gardens, sweating. I walked right through a courtyard in the middle, spotted a pretty girl, suspiciously on her own, without a book or an ipod. Sunnies on, just smiling. I walked past her to get to a fountain to wash my face and turned back, and like the fairy tale end of a movie, this good looking dude walks up from over the horizon, and greets her. They hug. They kiss. On a gorgeous day looking over the whole city, that I have decided is the most gorgeous spot in the world. Were they locals? Were they long separeted lovers? I don’t know. I almost took a photo but that would have been weird.
So I didn’t even do all the things I wanted to do in Prague but I will be back. And sadly I left, caught a train to Krakow. Met some great people on the train. Just the usual…where are you from? What do you do? Essentially, who are you and what are you about?
There was a frighteneing moment when I couldn’t find my passport, and the long train journey wore me out. Finally made it to the Orange Hostel, where I was supposed to meet Judie but am now 9 months too late.
(Sorry Jubes, all the people you knew here are gone. Aga is now a stewardess and very happy, though)
Had drinks tonight with two lovely random girls I met in the square and then went to a club with people at the hostel. Needless to say, I’m really loving it. And I’ve only been here 6 hours or so.
Tomorrow it’s a bright morning start for some serious sight seeing. Couple more days, then back to Brussels and home. I can barely remember work. But it will be good to lie in my own bed again.
It is 1:30 and I’m decalring it an early night. I will bore you with more later.
In a cabin car with french teenagers, all around 17. It’s 10:30 and they just cracked out the wine and offering the bottle around.
Oh, Europeans! How can I say no…
On a train to Krakow
I’d like to say it’s cos it’s Prague, and I had such a magical time here, but as I crawl into bed, knowing there’s a train in the morning, there’s a weird feeling in me.
Another town, another place, and just leaving something behind. But if you don’t leave, someone else will. This is not even close to life. It’s a holiday.
I am excited about Krakow, but its just the thought of packing it all up, moving on… It’s over and will never be again.
I was crossing the Charles Bridge two days ago here in Prague. Ipod on, looking at this bridge and all the buskers and tourists that line every side.
Until there was a bit of a gap of people, and oh it was so cinematic. Camera pans then lifts and you see the amazing river from the Charles.
I stood there for a long time, thinking about how I got here, people I miss and all that.
Prague has been wonderful. I’ve met so many awesome people. Seen some breath-taking stuff. Drank a lot of beer. Good times. The Castle at night…oh my.
More details later. Right now I’m waiting for my breakfast, in a cafe typing this and looking at last night’s photos.
Third night in a row of great, great nights in Prague. I love this town. It is 4am and I am wasted. Goodnight and I hope you are well.
Kim, in her Kim on Tour blog, linked to the right there, had the best headline for Prague. I won’t even try.
Said goodbye to Brussels, which was lovely. I will be back. Spent last night with Katia, and we saw some music at Grand Place, then a french band call Les Fatals Picard.
These last guys were the french eurovision contestants but were actually brilliant. They had a pogues/madness vibe, and weezer called and wanted their guitarist back. Actually, reminded me of Barenaked Ladies too (I like them, fuck off).
Today we tried Little Asia on Goris’ recommendation. I bought Harry Potter one in French in an effort to better myself. It is all good.
Now I’m in the Prague, in the best hostel ever, recommended to me by Dave Keys. I’m in pretty high spirits.
Hope all’s well with you, wherever you are.
Once again, I’m caught in Europe on a Sunday. There is nothing to do so I do whatever.
The Jacques Brel Museum was closed and will be tomorrow. Such a shame I don’t think I’ll see it.
I did see two wonderful Museums. One was Musee Royaux Des Beaux-Arts Belgique, ie the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Belgium. It had Rubens, and quite excitingly, James Ensor, who was the subject of a They Might Be Giants song. Most excitingly, Rene Magritte. I will write more about Magritte later.
The other is a comic museum, featuring the rich, rich history of cartoons in Belgium. Tintin and the Smurfs are the main two. Its amazing. The first floor has over a hundred original works. From comic book pages to cartoon strips. Romance comics, sci fi adventures, cowboy shoot em ups and just cartoon fantasies.
I’m a big fan of comics. Newspaper strips and comic art, and yes, American Superheroes. Where as this place had a whole floor showing the evolution of comics, American mainstream stuff has stood still.
This place had a whole floor dedicated to comic’s evolution. Both visually and thematically. Where as in the US you have to bend at the altar of Stan Lee, and any speaking out against him and his style is treachery. You must have screaming damsels. You must have cackling villians. You must have an alliterated name. I hate Stan Lee.
Otherwise Belgiums been lovely. I’m meeting someone I met last night and we’re going to see some French folk music. Tomorrow will be the music instrument museum then off to Prague. Right now I’m at Ste Catherine, downing Hoegaardens and wondering if I’ll be able to buy more socks today.
I doubt it.
I’m staying in a terrible hostel in Brussels.
Why do I keep choosing the cheapest ones. I think maybe I can afford a better range of Hostel. Note to self. what really should have given it away was the name. Youth Hostel Van Gogh. It’s just one of those names that international travellers will recognise. I just put one euro in this machine and you only get 12 minutes. Ripped off. Oh well.
So it’s a very strange feeling travelling again. Last time I really did this, I kind of had nothing else to go back to. Now I do, and I miss home, my current home, already.
But I’m getting back into the spirit of it. It’s kind of like putting yourself in an elastic band and just shoot yourself off. It’s random and fun and the aim is to just keep going. Manage to forget the battery for my camera and a European adapter. Argh.
I’m liking Brussels so far, although I have not done much. Wasted some time in record shops. There’s free music in the Town Square tonight so I will go check it out. Saw some lady truly destroy an Alanis Morrisette song earlier. And it’s a little bit quieter than what I’m used to. I might buy some shoes. And there’s a FNAC here, and those places are always good.
Will hit a couple of cafes on Isabelle’s list and check out the Jacque Brel Museum if I get the chance. And get a Tintin t-shirt. But you know, really looking forward to some serious sitting in a park time too.
So I’m really busy but just wanted to write a two things.
Tony Wilson passed away. I’m working in music in the UK and his legend looms large. Many people have told me amazing stories about him. I’ve enjoyed reading him interviewed, his writings and I adore his legacy. But there is no better tribute than the film 24 Hour Party People. Funny, that I’m working on a project now that is one of Tony’s. And I’ve been batling and struggling to get it done despite the ridiculous packaging, and someone pointed out – “That’s Tony.” The man who lost money on every Blue Monday single sold because it was the right thing to do.
Mike Wieringo also passed away. I’m not going to say he was a personal hero of mine or anything overblown. He drew many, many comics I loved. But more importantly, one of the greatest run of comics for me is the Mark Waid era of The Flash, that ran in my late teens. It’s such a mature, well written, loving, funny, epic run of a comic. It’s considered THE Flash era by many, and one of the best titles in that 90s comic explosion. And Mike was there. A great artist, with a great happy style that was so far away from like, the Punisher or Spawn. And when I think of that excellent run of the Flash, and then I see the Flash in my mind, it’s drawn by the hand of Mike Wieringo. That’s something.