By Seamus Toomey
Hi again all! Last time you were reading about me I was trapped in between a rock and a hard place, deciding whether or not to ask for shelter in my favourite kebab shop. Luckily I’ve since found suitable accommodation that doesn’t break the bank (€200 a month) and has both WiFi and a kitchen (all to myself). Having conquered the surviving side of things I decided to try my hand at this so called social side of Erasmus.
I haven’t made any friends who are actually from Kraków (although the owner of the kebab shop shook my hand today). Instead I’ve become friends with a mix of Italians, French and Turkish Erasmus students. Frankly, they’re kind of boring. Now maybe this is just because I haven’t got to know them yet, maybe it’s because Irish have more fun or maybe I just wish they were other people…
Regardless, I’ve decided to spend my precious time on them and we’ve had some fun exploring the city and bits of the outskirts. The highlight of which was going to a large quarry that has been turned into a lake. The pictures truly don’t do it justice and the narrow dusty paths that look down on the light blue water one hundred or so yards below makes for a nice view. We explored this deceptively large accidental wonder for three hours and we were among many others. People brought food, barbecues and their significant others for fun in the sun. While I’m on the topic, the weather has changed drastically and the past week had seen 20° and higher on a few days. This coming in sharp contrast to two weeks ago when it was 5° most days.
Anyway, the ex-quarry leads to a large forest/national park that I only got a small glimpse of. I’m planning to go back and just lose myself in the green I’ve been missing here since leaving Ireland (what Poland generally considers grass, I consider mud). The difference in colour of the city’s parks is noticeable in comparison even to Limerick’s Arthur’s Quay and People’s Park.
It was a nice chance to get to know a handful of the Erasmus group as well and we’re all planning a big barbecue/picnic there soon. Before all this goes ahead though my parents will be arriving to make sure I haven’t burnt down Kraków and that I’ve been behaving myself (also they get a free tour guide for the week #childlabour). I’m hoping to show them the salt mines (better than they sound), Auschwitz (worse than it sounds), Wawel castle (sounds like it’s a castle because it is) and my new favourite ex-quarry (better than I could ever make it sound). Also my parents may (will definitely) go out and try the cheap vodka so between that and hangovers that’s their whole seven day holiday that I’ve planned for them. And if you visit or attend university in Kraków that’s what I suggest you do too. Not get drunk – the other stuff, like Wawel and the Nazi bad place. Then again the shots are twice the size and one quarter the price so if you’re so inclined…When in Rome…
Seamus Toomey is a third year Journalism & New Media student currently on Erasmus at Akademia Wychowania Fizycznego in Kraków, Poland.