Friday, September 14, 2007

Getting Settled in Krakow

Sienkiewicza 4 (our new home)

After a hassle-free (if not particularly comfortable) flight, we arrived in Krakow around 2:00 p.m. Tuesday and waited in a very long line at passport control. By the time we got through, our luggage was already on the carousel and we sailed through customs (which didn’t consist of anything other than walking through a certain doorway – no one checking anything!) and Monika, my “shepherd” from the University, was there waiting for us. She whisked us out the door to a waiting van to take us to our apartment. Even with all our extra baggage (it was less expensive to pay for extra checked luggage than to ship a box of clothes here) it was the smoothest arrival into a new country I’ve ever experienced.

As you can see, our apartment building is rather nondescript from the outside (many buildings in Krakow have yet to be cleaned of all the soot and coal dust accumulated over the years), but is very conveniently located next to a tram stop and a comfortable walk (20 minutes) to the main market square/city center and about 40-45 minutes to the University.

The apartment itself is quite comfortable, on the first floor of a classroom building. It’s a studio-type apartment with lots of storage, a little kitchenette (which has no oven and is not very well stocked – but it does have special little vodka glasses!), and a nice-sized bathroom with an excellent tub, very hot water, and a little washing machine. (The bath reminds me a lot of Japan.) And you gotta love those heated towel racks! (Which may end up being our clothes dryer as well, since we haven’t found any drying racks or clothes lines.)

We had a little trouble getting our computer up and running (oops! Left our Ethernet cable at home) but the University has kindly lent us one to use while here. In the meantime, we found a cheap internet cafĂ© just down the street to send quick messages home. I will also have an office at the University with a computer, so once I figure out all the Polish instructions for getting online, we’ll really be set.

Our first night's dinner on the main market square (the Rynek)

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