Well, whoever said Eastern Europe was cold in the winter sure was right. We left Prague a few days back and hopped on a night train to Krakow. Most of the cars were pretty empty, so we thought we were in luck, and would be able to lie down and even sleep part of the way. Shortly before the train started on its way, we were joined by a very nice Russian or Polish middle-aged man who insisted on speaking to us in his native lanugage, despite the fact that we understood next to nothing. Okay, nothing.
It only took a few minutes to realize how intoxicated he was. Very friendly, and the saddest mess I think I have ever seen. He proceeded to drink another (I am assuming he had at least one or two prior) bottle of vodka. Then he kind of passed out. By kind of, I mean that he would not stay passed out. He kept waking up when the train slowed or stopped, and this somehow signaled him to reach for a)more vodka b)a cigarette or c) a beer (which I dumped out on his behalf once his eyes closed again). We spent a good part of the night just making sure that as he fell off of the seat he didn't hit his head too hard on the floor. About 2am, when he was pretty still, we realized there was no one in the compartment next to us and decided to move to try to sleep for a bit.
When we arrived in Krakow (very well rested at this point...note the sarcasm) we had about 5-10 minute walk to our hostel. Wow was it cold. My face actually stung as we came out of the building and headed down the street. Another note to self: Never be awake and outside in Eastern Europe prior to 7am.
We are at at great little hostel and we have exlpored Krakow quite a bit and eaten our fair share of perogis. Rahima headed to Auschwitz today, and I will go explore a bit on my own. Yesterday we went to the Wieliczka Salt Mines here in Krakow which was really incredible. They have one chamber where everything is carved into the rocksalt. The floor looks like tiles, but it is actually one big slate of salt which has been etched into. And it even appears to have "paintings" on the walls, which are also carvings, including one of the Las Supper. Everything, right down to the chandeliers are...you guessed it...rock salt. I can't post pics on this computer, but you should google it to see how amazing it is.
Hope you are all nice and warm while reading this! :)