Where has the time gone?! It has been weeks since I last wrote a blog but the time has gone soooo quickly and I have done so much. Not only that, I have been in Krakow over 2 months now, unbelievable… before I know it I will be on my way home 🙁 arghh I can’t think about it!!
In the last couple of weeks I have really been feeling the pressure of my bigger subjects. Two of my subjects are through American Studies Faculty and 90% of the students are American and here doing a 2 year Masters program so they all have background and in-depth knowledge of what we are doing and I’m completely lost. It probably isn’t helping that I am travelling away as much as possible (Skylar! You need to remember that you are here to study)… but I am pretty much half way through the semester now and I have survived this far, I will hang in there!
I have done some smaller day trips, some weekend trips in Poland and I also got away to London. I still find it crazy that I can pop over to another country whenever I want. In Australia it would take longer to get from Adelaide to Perth than it does to get from one side of Europe to the other. I am definitely going to take advantage of this while I am here. Here are couple of my latest adventures;
– Wieliczka Salt Mine, Poland- Not only did the incredibly detailed salt carvings blow me away, the fact that the last horse (used for labour and to pull salt) was removed from the mine in 2002… WHAT?! They were still using ‘horse’power 10 years ago! Crazy!!
– Wroclaw , Poland- Apart from Krakow, the next most beautiful city I have ever seen! Amazing architecture, hundreds of churches and all of the buildings in the Main Square where different colours, SUPER CUTE)
– Polish Football (Soccer) Game – This was a really cool experience and of course a must do whilst in Poland. We spent an hour lined up to ‘register’ for the stadium (we presumed this was in case anything happened while inside the stadium they had our photos and all of our details), it There was an awesome atmosphere with all of the football hooligans going crazy! We didn’t understand a word of what was being yelled or what they signs said and we didn’t understand the game itself, but we had a blast. When the game finished we continued to sit there for over 5 minutes, wondering what was going on,
– Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp, Poland – I visited the Concentration Camps for a second time with a friend from Australia and it still had the same impact as the first time. All of the information and the sights are extremely overwhelming and emotional, it give me goose-bumps sitting here thinking about it.
– London, England- It was great to get to London and see all of the famous attractions, try and master the underground trains, visit other little areas off the beaten track and catch up with a few friends from back home. What I appreciated the most was being able to speak English… understanding everything and being able to have a conversation that doesn’t require me to flap my hands around like an idiot, use Google translate or just give up. And they were driving on the right side of the road :)!! However, after that little rant, I was extremely glad to get back to Krakow!!
My biggest shock in the last few weeks has been the weather!! IT SNOWED!!! Late October and it snowed! I was not mentally, physically or emotionally prepared for a week of weather that was less than 5 degrees. I didn’t have a proper winter jacket yet, I hadn’t bought thermals and I didn’t have a good pair of winter boots. It was late October, of course I wasn’t prepared. However, it didn’t take long before I bought a big beautiful furry coat and got myself some leather boots with woollen inside… bring it on!! All of the Polish people that I have contact with were telling me that it wasn’t that cold, it was normal for Poland and that it was going to get soooo much worse. What they don’t understand is that I’m Australian!! It is approximately 30 degrees back in Adelaide now and my poor body just wants to see some sun; Oh dear!! I don’t know how I will survive this winter! I also found it difficult to get winter clothes here in October because the weather is ‘normal’ for Poland… lesson learnt; always come prepared and do your research before travelling to a different country. But I would like to give a shout out to my amazing big sister back in Australia for sending me over some thermals and Explorers 🙂 you may have possibly saved my life, or at least a couple of my toes!!
However, the weather has again back to an extremely fresh, unpredictable, but liveable temperature. Apparently we are having a ‘warm November’ and I hope that this continues through until Christmas time.
My most exciting time in the last couple of weeks was the arrival of one of my best friends from Australia. She was able to spend 2 weeks here in Krakow; it was absolutely amazing to have someone from home here to share my lifestyle and home away from home with. Even better that she loves and appreciates everything here as much as I do. It will be great to have someone back home to reminisce with about Krakow and the memories we shared.
The night that Trish left was probably the most homesick I have felt the entire time I have been away. Even though I have completely settled in and I love Krakow so much, I felt a bit emotional about her leaving, having someone familiar around was really awesome.
Another amazing experience I have been able to have while being here in Krakow was All Saints Day, held on the 1st November. All Saints Day is known as the Day of the Dead; thousands of people go to the cemeteries of their loved ones and decorate their grave, with hundreds of candles and flowers. At night we were able to walk through the cemetery and it was glowing with coloured candles, it was absolutely incredible!
I am off to Prague (Czech Republic) this weekend with a group of other international students! Super excited to go on another adventure and see what Prague has to offer :).
I’m sorry for the really long blog, so much has happened in the last couple of weeks; I hope you have all got through it ok!!