Thursday and Friday were both busts for me here in Krakow. The archive was closed both days, preventing me from doing anything of substance. However, it will reopen tomorrow so I will try to make up for lost time on Monday and Tuesday.
Tuesday, after finishing my research, I will hop a bus for Warsaw. I’ve found a small apartment for $32/night plus the Airbnb fee. I’ll have it all to myself. It is close to everything. Public transit in Europe is so easy and so ubiquitous that, even if it weren’t close to anything, I could still get anywhere in 10-15 minutes.
I really cannot wait to get to Warsaw to see what else I might find. I will be researching Wednesday and Thursday. After I check out of my apartment, I will head back to the archives to research again until I leave for Krakow.
In a perfect world, I would be able to find distant Polish relatives currently residing in Warsaw. That is a long shot. Nevertheless, I’m still going to see what I can find. My aunt had an aunt she adored who remained behind in Europe. I’m assuming broadly that it was my grandmother’s sister, but I don’t know for sure. I do know, however, that she was in Poland. When I first met my biological family in B.C. back in 1978, my aunt told me of relatives she supported when Poland was still under communism. I’m not sure, but something tells me that they were in Warsaw.
Now Warsaw is a city of 1.7 million people and I’m not going to have that much time. However, if I can at least get some names, it will help. And, of course, back in those days, families were large due to the high mortality rate. If there were lots of girls in that family, which one would be my aunt’s aunt?
I want to be as thorough as possible in my research and my writing and I don’t want to cut any corners. But some stuff is going to have to be let alone since I cannot possibly follow every avenue. I will have to be very meticulous in deciding what to pursue in-depth and what to discard.
So what I’ve done is relax a bit and quit putting so much pressure on myself. When I’m at a roadblock, there’s no use beating my head against that roadblock. Instead, I attended a wonderful classical concert in the Church of Saints Peter and Paul. Mozart, Brahms, Vivaldi. They were all represented. The church, built in the late 1500’s and early 1600’s is, of course, a work of art inside. The Krakow Chamber Music Orchestra played. It was freezing cold, but worth every shiver.
The second concert was also by a chamber orchestra and occurred in a church in Main Market Square. Called Church of St. Adalbert, it traces roots back to the 10th Century and is the oldest church in Krakow. The sanctuary is quite tiny inside, holding perhaps fifty people at any one time. It, too, was very cold inside and while, quite ornate, it’s magnificence did not compare to that of some of the other churches I visited in the city.
The concert this time around included not just pieces by Handel and Bach, but also themes from The Godfather, Schindler’s List and Phantom of the Opera. Both concerts lasted anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half and cost roughly $16. Well worth the price. After the concert at Church of St. Adalbert, I hightailed it for Castor Coffee, my favorite coffee shop, for a mango chai tea and a slice of a cherry and cranberry fruit tart.
I also had the opportunity to hook up with a couple of my brother’s business acquaintances. A thirty-something couple, they own a company here in Krakow that provides environmental consulting services to companies to help these companies meet green standards.
The spoke fluent English and were completely delightful. My brother had been texting me for three days “Have you heard from Pavel?” I kept answering “no”. Finally, Pavel called and we met two nights ago in Castor Coffee.
I found out that they’re not exactly “friends” with my brother–just providing a proposal for contract services. When my brother found out that they were from Krakow, he asked them to call me to see if they could help me out in any way with my research.
Have I commented lately on how much I worship my brother?
Ahem, back to the narrative. The couple, Pavel and Kristina, were more than willing to help in any way they could regarding my search. I’m not sure if there’s anything they can help with since it looks like I’ve maxed out Krakow. Nevertheless, I’ll keep my eyes open. They left for Istanbul today and return next weekend. We’ve agreed to get together again since we had such a good time. They want to take me to the Salt Mines which is supposed to be a fascinating tourist attraction (my host, Aleksander, suggested the same thing). They are also fascinated by my story and each plan on buying my book. Why can’t I get the rest of the world fascinated? <G>
I did ask them if they have any contacts in Krakow media. I would dearly love to get on a radio or TV talk show or get an interview with a newspaper to help in my search and possibly sell some books to fund this wild goose chase! Who knows?
Other than these activities, I’ve just enjoyed walking through Krakow and photographing interesting sights. I’ve been eating at different restaurants, but I have to admit that I’m having a hard time finding really good food. Aleksander suggested I try out a place called Mogel Vogel. It was good and reasonably priced. It had some great reviews in TripAdvisor. Yet it wasn’t “eyes rolling back in your head” fantastic. I don’t know, perhaps I’m too much of a food snob.
I also went to Milk Cafe that several different people had recommended because it was traditional homemade Polish cooking. It was okay. And one night I went to Moaburger that offered mondo-sized American-style burgers. It was pretty good, but I’ve found out that I cannot eat so much red meat anymore. It’s a gut bomb.
I’m thinking that I should just adopt a diet of pastries and coffee since I’ve been scoring big time on that front. Of course, I’ll slip into a diabetic coma. But we all have to go sometime, right?