Saturday, September 7, 2013

Final Weeks

In the past few weeks, I've become a bit lazy about the blog because my life took a turn for the boring.  After Florence, my focus was primarily on work, with no real trips or exciting adventures outside of my daily Krakow routine to speak of.  However, that changed when my replacement for the office, Matt, arrived.

A few weeks ago, there was a leak in my apartment.  It resulted in some discoloration on the walls and a part of the ceiling, but was quickly repaired and did not really cause me any inconvenience aside from putting a towel on the floor for one night.  The company that owns the apartment wanted to repaint, though.  Actually, I think they've wanted to repaint before and haven't had a chance, but this provided them a good excuse.  So, they wrote me an email with a trade proposal.

They proposed that for the last week of my stay, I get to change to another unit two doors down the street and one floor lower.  I accepted this offer; it looked like a good unit and would give me a reason to start packing.  On Sunday Sept 1, I moved.

The new apartment was huge.  Gigantic.  I actually just refer to it as "mały Wawel," or "little Wawel" after the castle in Krakow.  It was 1,500 square feet and had beds for 11, plus a couch.  The three bedrooms were each enormous, and it had two bathrooms, a kitchen, and a dining room to boot.  I recognize that to the Americans reading this post, 1,500 square feet may not seem all that huge.  Remember that my usual apartment is about 480 square feet, and also remember that it's quite common to have a smaller dwelling space in the center of a European downtown.

The new apartment was so huge, in fact, that I invited Matt, his wife, and his nine-month-old son to come live with me in it rather than staying in their hotel.  They accepted, and for five days we became one big happy family.  I'm now writing this on the plane ride back home [note: published one day later].  You'd think that sleeping in the same apartment as a nine-month-old might pose problems for someone like me, who desires a regular and complete sleep cycle every night.  However, I never heard him at night; they slept at one end of the apartment and I at the other, and between the doors and the distance he never woke me up.

I also invited some of my Polish friends to visit so that I could see them one last time before I left, and they just kept looking around saying "łał" (wow) and looking at the bedrooms.  I mentioned something about it to my coworkers and they said that it was likely a unit for a collection of students, as that would likely be the only way to afford it in the center of town.  It clearly was a suite design; I'm not sure of the intended residents.

It's about time for some pictures of this thing, so here are a few phone photos I grabbed:

Note the last picture was the room I stayed in, and you can count four beds in it.  There was also a small balcony.

Now that I'm on my flight home, fortune has once again smiled upon me.  I was annoyed upon boarding my transatlantic flight because there was a small box taking up precious foot room in my seat.  I figured that travel is horrible anyway and I would just have to deal with it for the duration of the nine-hour flight.  However, after about two hours, luck struck.  One of the flight attendants asked if me and the lady next to me were travelling together, I said no, and the attendant said that I could move a few rows up to where there was a group of three empty seats.  SOLD!  There is very little that will cause me to give up my window seat and move closer to a baby (the row in front of me), but having this much leg room and a separate seat for my stuff will do it!  There's another guy in my row, but he's on the aisle and he has a vacant seat for himself as well.  No point in being greedy, but having two seats and no one to for fight armrests on a transatlantic flight is amazing.

Another bonus point for Lufthansa: after lunch they came around with drinks.  At first I was going to decline, but then the German flight attendant and I had a conversation:

"Can I offer zoo anyzing?  Cognac?  Bailey's?"
"No, I'm fine, than---I'm sorry, did you say, 'Bailey's'"
"Zes, Bailey's"
"Sure, I'll have some of that!"

Anytime I can get a free glass of Bailey's Irish Cream, it's hard to say no.

I'll have another post about re-entry into the US, but I think the transatlantic flight officially ends my European adventures for the summer.


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