...But what would it be like as a Krakovian?
Going back to school after having all of summer off is always strange at first, but having graduated a couple years ago while also starting classes in a whole new country and at a graduate level, I had been wondering for awhile what exactly it would be like. I wasn't necessarily a bundle of nerves over it or anything, but mostly just excited and curious about it all.
The first day of class, and well, every day really, I am quite distracted by all the interesting sights and sounds (as mentioned in my previous post) coming from the Rynek Glowny/Main Square just out the window. Pigeons zooming by, horse hooves clacking against bricks, the regular street guitarist, St. Mary's bells and bugler, and sirens every so often are among the most noticeable happenings. I also like to observe the weather from my seat, which has mostly been sunny, even if slighty cool at times (as a Minnesotan, I can get used to the cold though). ;-)
All of these things keep my mind off of the topic of the day in class, in addition to the unbelievable view that can be glimpsed if the professors so kindly leave the blinds open...take a look below!
The gorgeous view from my classroom:
And another! I'll have to get one where the left steeple is all there:
Zooming in on the carriage lineup that I have raved about before. It's so cute:
More carriages! From ground level this time:
As you can see, I really enjoy the carriages and horses, even though I feel bad that they have to pull them. When it's raining out, they use covered carriages, which are even more magical looking. Photo to come soon! There are so many beautiful marvels to take pictures of in this town that I simply can't keep up! :-) I also clearly am so enamored with it all that I even get off track when writing, since I'm supposed to be talking about school and my classmates in this post...ok back to that now, haha!
With all of this excitement going on in the square round the clock, the tourist in me has a hard time concentrating in class, but hopefully I'll get by. ;-) At least I'm into the subjects I'm studying, which are all related to international relations between the US and the European Union, which includes Poland. The classes are a mixture of history, politics and culture (literature, music, film etc.), which gives a more well-rounded view of the transatlantic relationship.
For those of you who read my first post where I talked about my hate for "ice-breakers" on the first day of class, I am happy to report that they were either minimal or non-existent this time around. Woo hoo!!
Well, enough about school (for now)... ;-D Moving on to something that is actually related to it but even more fun - all my cool classmates! It has been great getting to know people from all over the US and the world. There are 18 new students in my program this year, and maybe half are American. Even though Jagiellonian University is huge (50,000 students), the setup I'm in feels more like I'm going to a tiny school in a small town. I'm totally not used to that, coming from the largest high school in Minnesota and one of the biggest universities there as well, but I think for the situation I'm in this arrangement will be better.
Since we pretty much all have the same classes, it's nice to go out to grab a bite in between sessions or afterwards. With so many restaurants in Krakow's Old Town area, and supposedly the highest concentration of pubs in one place of anywhere(?) or in Europe, we have no shortage of choice. We could go to a different cafe each time and never overlap. Some are worth repeat visits though, including all the ones pictured below.
Me (center) and some classmates at Chimera:
My friend Jo somewhere that I don't know the name of...but it has a fabulous view of the Planty Park with its changing leaves:
My classmate Marzena at a cozy little hideaway that's perfect for the chilliest of days, called Cafe Magia:
The doorman at Cafe Magia (photo thanks to Jo):
Yummy Indian food at Indus Tandoor. I was impressed that it came with candles underneath to keep it warm:
Besides eating out, I've been hitting up the many local farmers' markets and bringing tasty treats and more home. Thank goodness I've been walking a lot to counter all of this! ;-P More on Krakow's markets soon!
Until next time,