Saturday, May 13, 2006

Zakopane to Wrocław via Wadowice

Today was mostly spent traveling North. We left Zakopane in the morning and got to Wadowice in less than two hours (about the same distance from Zakopane as Kraków). Wadowice is best known as the birthplace of John Paul II — one of the most celebrated figures throughout Poland (an overwhelming majority of the chapels we've visited make some reference to the pope, and at least half of them have a statue nearby). The city was busy preparing for the visit of Pope Benedict XVI later that month, restoring the church, putting up posters, working on the platform he'd stand on when addressing the masses. John Paul II's home church was pretty, but I found it severely disturbing that they were selling "Jesus memorabilia" inside the church — much less, next to John Paul II photos and pamphlets.

Grandpa and I stopped by the pharmacy next door, then walked over to a bus stop to wait for the others. Since it was going to take a while, I wandered around the city, finding plenty of hidden crevices and little shops. Something about the city reminds me of central Mexico, which is very odd, I can't put my finger on it.

Before driving to Wrocław (sounds like "Vrote-suave", about 260 km/160 mi from Wadowice), we had lunch at a very inviting restaurant. When you walk in the front door, you're met by columns with vines running up them, and led to your party's own beautifully furnished room. We were served some bullion and the best pirogies I've ever had by a dynamic hostess who reminded me of Sartre's waiter:

"...trying to imitate in his walk the inflexible stiffness of some kind of automaton while carrying his tray with the recklessness of a tight-rope-walker by putting it in a perpetually unstable, perpetually broken equilibrium which he perpetually reestablishes by a light movement of the arm and hand..."

After the tasty lunch, we started heading for Wrocław — canola fields forever.

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