Thursday, April 20, 2006

A Little Farther East...

Krakow.

I flew into Krakow on Tuesday morning. Quite a change of scene, really. The architecture is quite different. The language is amazingly different. The history and old wealth is just incredible.

Old Krakow is dominated by a 15th century castle that makes the Scottish castles look a bit like a cabin up on Lake Mille Lacs. There is a distinctly eastern orthodox influence in the castle itself, but all the churches are Gothic cathedrals. It makes for a very interesting mix.

I am finding it a bit strange walking around town, passing statues of historical figures that I've never even heard of. I've been thinking a bit about why this is, and I think I know why. For those of us who grew up in the eighties and early nineties, these countries were still under communist rule. Much of the news reports that we got and the history that we discussed in school was related to the post-war period, with its emphasis on the Russian sphere of influence. Because of this, I've always had the impression that there is little in the way of architecture or historical monuments from outside the twentieth century.

It's something quite different and yet very similar. Oddly enough, I find that the bar culture here is more similar to that at home than the culture in Scotland. It's more laid back, and seems to be much less about the drinking, and more about the having a drink and a conversation. Only the visitors seem to really tear it up.

I haven't been terrible good with the language. There are very few phrases in my guide book (there isn't even a phrase for buying tickets). I feel a little bit of remorse for it. Like a bull in a china shop, throwing my English weight around, shattering that rapid flow of the natural language.

I'll head to Prague on Friday night.

1 comment:

Bill Wentink said...

Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?, a.k.a. Where is Waldo?, a.k.a. Where in the world is Peter? You are living the dream. Enjoy it.