Our next move was Krakow. A four-hour wonderful trip was waiting for us. Maciej took his car and drove along the one line per direction but in good state national road, surrounded by green and yellow landscapes. We had great conversations about how common and different Spain and Poland were. We touched some political issues and discussed about how the governments deal with them, but when we explained some facts that are happening right now in Spain, they could not believe it. And then Asia asked “Can we do anything about it or help you somehow?”. It was a simple question, but I have to say that it touched my heart. Never ever a non-Spanish person after talking about these kind of problems had asked such a simple but (at least to me) meaningful question. They really care about us, they really wanted us to have a better country. This moment will remain inside me for ever!
And after a short stop in the middle of nowhere to have an extraordinary dinner, there were we…in Krakow! The city of Polish kings and bishops, the center of culture and art, a university center and a magic place. The city that was called Altera Roma or Florence of the North.
Contrary to Warsaw, Krakow had remained through the wars and you could see the history talking directly to you: the Wawel Castle, fortresses, churches, basilicas, streets that had risen some meters (literally) leaving some once-ground-floor establishments underground, the old and new Jewish quarters,… –
Staying in Asia and Maciej house we discovered step by step the beauties of the city. First night walking around the historical center and grabbing some beers in an underground pub. The day after Maciej took a day off (thanks man!) and was our private tourist guide. During the morning we visited the historical center and found a free tour that would show us the Jewish Quarter in Spanish during the afternoon. In this case the roles switched and I explained Maciej some of the stories that happened in Krakow :p though surprisingly he could get most of what the guide said, even he presented himself in perfect Spanish!
This three hours were the toughest of our days in Krakow. To listen how the Jewish community was progressively dehumanised seemed to be a nightmare from another country, not just seventy years ago… When the nazis conquered Krakow, the first day they gave sweets in the square, but after that they were progressively removing rights, day after day. First identifying them publicly, then restricting work permits, banning their entrance in shops and public places, obliging them to move to the other side of the Vistula river, enclosing them with grave-shaped wall and then… extermination camps. We will talk about it in the next post: Auswitch.
As Maciej said wisely, Poland is a country that you should visit at least twice: the first one to know, understand and assimilate the history and the second one to immerse yourself in the current Polish life. So,… we’ll be back! We have a deal 😉
See you soon guys, it was great to share with you these days! Huge hugs and thank you!