Krakow, a December night

Krakow145It was foggy all over Krakow and a sprinkle of snow created a very wintery scene. I had seen no sun during the whole day and sunset had surprisingly started at the early hour of 3.30 pm. The Christmas atmosphere was really strong: horse-drawn carriages waiting near the tall tree, the church steeples losing themselves in the mist, the Christmas market and plenty of decorations everywhere.

The cold was intense outside. After staying out for some time, I needed the warmth of a shopping centre to wake up my numb fingers, at least before I got to the hostel because I wouldn't find any relief there. They were definitely saving on heating costs in the big old house with energy-inefficient glazing and tall ceilings. I should have taken a hint at the receptionist wrapped up in a woollen blanket when I arrived.

I wanted pierogi for supper and went out to a tavern near the hostel. Under the barrel-vaulted ceiling, two girls sitting on the other side of the passage asked me to pass them the menu. But the service was not forthcoming. Orders had to be made directly at the counter and collected personally. The ambience was very informal and enjoyable.

A group of people came into the room and warned us we would probably be disturbed by their slide show. They would be presenting a journey in the Balkans, Serbia and neighbouring countries. The beam of light from the projector cut right across the girls' table. What better excuse to invite them over to mine?

They were from Québec, their accent unmistakable. We started talking and talking, and after dinner we decided to have a coffee together. The first place was closing, but lucky we were, because opposite there was a chocolate-shop that served us the most delicious hot chocolate. Melted chocolate, in fact. The still conversation flowed naturally. This coincidental encounter had really put together people on the same wave length. The girls were catching a night bus to Prague, and when we parted we kissed each other a tender goodbye.

I ambled back to the hostel. At the reception there was another sign I didn't give much importance to. It was about the availability of earplugs for free. I was reminded of it when I heard the din from the nearby disco club, but I just let the noise accompany the first stage of my night. It was always better that being with a snorer.