In Memoriam, Pope John Paul II

I took this photograph in Krakow, nearly a year ago.

Today it makes me think of the man who gave much to their nation, and the world.

Krakow Pillar Detail
In my prayers

Goodbye, Holy Father. Please pray for all of us.


We’re on our last day in Krakow now, and leave in a few hours on the night train to Prague. Everything has gone frighteningly swimmingly so far.

I’d heard from various people that Poland can be a little racist and unfriendly to Oriental-looking people, but so far the most viciously racist comments I’ve encountered have pretty much been from Alec. We’ve received impeccably professional, extremely pleasant service almost everywhere, and everyone has been very forgiving of our lack of Polish and general bumbling nature.

We have had meals of such high quality (at an absolute pittance too – the best restaurant in Krakow for £40 in total, including wine) and such variety that Alec hasn’t even felt the least craving for Chinese food yet. (This is to be contrasted to our return from Budapest, where we spent the entire tube ride from Heathrow trying to decide which Chinese restaurant we’d rush to as soon as possible.)

Krakow itself has been great. The city centre’s got that usual European charm, but trekking along green fields and phallic rock formations in Ojcow National Park and being wowed in Wieliczka salt mine have been nice breaks from city strolling. Holocaust “sightseeing” can be harrowing but very worthwhile – we explored Kazimierz, walked over the river from that to the dingy factory building which would be completely unremarkable if Oskar Schindler hadn’t used it to save thousands of Jews, and yesterday, finally made the journey to Auschwitz.

All in all, this has been so fantastic I fear the cosmos have something bad planned for us in Prague. Fingers crossed.