The Old Man and the Stag
Krakow Travel Blog› entry 30 of 113 › view all entries
June 21st, 2008 – by: afredrix
Meet Jozef: my new new Polish hero. Jozef sat a row behind me on our train ride from Berlin to Krakow, Poland. He was so kind as to wake me when we got to our stop. (Bonus point #1) I went to the front of the train to grab my bag. He followed with the sunglasses I forgot in my seat. (#2) After helping me lift my bag and letting me off the train first, Jozef stood waiting patiently by the stairs, watching me stare blankly at the Polish signs with no idea of where to go, and then waved me over.
For the first time, there were no immediate friends to be found in the hostel. In fact, it was very quiet and I'm not sure that I ever found anyone to chat with. But it was Friday night in a new town, so I thought it appropriate to go out for a little while. I'm staying in Kazimierz, the Jewish district. I'm not sure if the population is still primarily Jewish, but at one point, it served as the Jewish Ghetto. Now it's a hotspot for hip bars and locals. My first discovery was a square in the middle of the district with a round building that housed multiple food stands. Everyone seemed to be selling the same thing: Zapikanki. Aka, polish drunk food. It's a cross between a sandwich and pizza. Looks a lot like garlic bread, I guess, and is topped with basically whatever your heart desires.
The next day, I set out to see the town. I walked through the old castle that sits in the middle of the city and roamed the streets around the old market square. I finally stopped for a bit on a bench to read and enjoy people-watching. This is how and where the English stag party came to find me. As I read, a group of guys walked by. One guy (who the others affectionately called "ewok") came to sit beside me and asked what I was reading. He was quite surprised when he saw it was in english and asked why? I think my answer that I was american and it's what I read best disappointed him a little. (Much like the disappointment of the American guys in Berlin that thought they found the world's only Swedish brunette.) I think he hoped he had stumbled upon a friendly, available local, but an american would do, so he asked me to join their group for a drink. At this point I was a little deprived of human interaction and communication, so I said yes. What the hell. It's not everyday you get invited to be the only female at a bachelor party and are allowed to leave all of your clothes on.
We sat outside at the pub, drinking for a few hours. They taught me english drinking rules (like hands-on-heads and no acceptance) and I proved to be a quick learner. I like hanging out with Brits because they say things like "fancy" "rubbish" and "chucked." I also learned they call anybody by whatever random guy's name comes to mind. Phil, Joe, Dave. Anyone from home can imagine my surprise when they started calling me Steve. And after they learned it was once an actual nickname of mine, it stuck for the rest of the night. After drinks, we switched locales to get some food. We then parted ways, only to meet up again at their hotel for a night on the town. Blanca, their polish bar tourguide, joined us and brought a little extra (and much needed) estrogen to the group. We hung out in the hotel bar for awhile (where the female bartender treated Blanca and I to free shots, probably just for putting up with these guys) and then moved on to a nearby club. Dancing got the better of us all and before we knew it, it was the wee hours of the morning. I think I can safely claim that this night was just a little more exciting than the last. Thank you England.
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