Sunday, July 8, 2012

Stepping off the Page

Today started out with a run.  I went a slightly different route that before, one that took me by Wawel castle's dragon, and then continued on to the Vistula river.  I think I put the picture of Wawel's dragon on Facebook but not here, so here you go:

Yes, it is breathing fire. 

I also was able to have a more successful grocery store visit today.  My grocery runs are limited by the amount of stuff I'm able to carry back with me, so there is likely to be more than one visit per week (balanced by laziness and the plethora of cheap food around me).  I went to a local store as opposed to Carrefour.  I think the prices were a little bit higher and the selection was definitely thinner, but it was also closer and the cashier spoke enough English.  My guess is I'll be going back there.  I'll probably also have to go back to Carrefour at some point.

I spent a good chunk of the afternoon in the apartment hiding from the heat and relaxing.  After doing squats for the first time in a week yesterday and a five-mile-ish run this morning, my legs were protesting another day of walking.  Instead, I was able to catch up on some reading.  My sister gave me a copy of Poland by James Michener (you know, the Hawaii guy) before I left, and I've been getting through it.

Let me pause here a moment.  I'm reading something for pleasure.  All my fellow test-taking actuaries can appreciate this delight.  Moving on...

I've been reading about Poland's excursion to save Vienna, and specifically about this guy Jan Sobieski.  We'll return to that in a moment.

Later in the afternoon, I went out and started wandering around and went to find dinner.  I decided it was time to try Poland's version of Chinese food.  It was good, and pretty similar to the US version, but with less fried stuff.  I had some noodles with chicken, vegetables, and soy sauce.  

I eventually ran into someone from the Spanish night at the language exchange group whist wandering in Rynek and he pointed out that a street performance was about to start.  They were, for all intents and purposes, a group of mimes pretending to be travelers and completely unfamiliar and curious with anything around them.  They're pictured below waiving their suitcases back and forth to a woman on a high floor of a building.  They eventually got her attention, much to the crowd's delight.

My friend from the language exchange club, even though I met him on the Spanish night, is exceedingly good in both English and Spanish (and of course Polish, his native language).  I told him about where I was in the book and he took me over to St. Mary's Basilica to point something out:

Yup, it's a carving of Jan Sobieski on the side of the church I've been walking by for the past week.  His Wikipedia article also informs me he's buried in Wawel cathedral, so I'll likely get to say hi to him later.  (Although, since this is Poland, I should say "dzien dobry.")  I also hear that one of the pieces of loot he got (a fancy Turkish tent) is located somewhere inside or near Wawel, so that will be cool to find.  It's really neat to see this book come to life in front of me!


Laurel Blough said...

A comment regarding reading for pleasure: remember that your graduate-student wife (and probably other graduate-student friends of ours) are also envious of your ability to read for pleasure. :-P

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