I'm back in Edmonton and frankly thrilled to be back in my own bed. Meanwhile I have it on good authority that my friend in Krakow, who stretched out on lumpy pillows on the floor all week, is happy to be back in his bed, too.
I don't know if this is the place to wax poetic about Krakow; I think it's a city of artists smoking cigarette after cigarette in dark cafes and pubs. Something about its old castle, its Jewish ghetto, its escape from the fist of Communism, makes it dark and mysterious and invites your imagination. I spent days sitting in cafes writing and reading the many books I brought and bought on vacation, and it seemed every single spot had a collection of French songs from the 60s to play on the stereo.
So for now -- and I'll have some book updates later -- I offer a couple pictures of Krakow's English-language bookstore, Massolit Books.
Have you ever fallen in love with a place on first breath, at first sight?
Massolit is housed in a meandering building -- there are maps photocopied at the front of the store to guide you along its shelves -- where coffee brews and classic novels by D.H. Lawrence and Jane Austen and Virginia Woolf line a "Corridor of Classics." On Sunday mornings, when we visited, there was a story hour for children. For days afterward, I couldn't help thinking how much I would love to have adorable little British children who would say, "Mummy, could I please have a piece of cake?" and I would say, "No, dahlings, do pick out a book instead." Or something like that; in this daydream I have a perfect British accent and I am about six inches taller.
(My British children of choice would be Lucy from The Chronicles of Narnia and Nicole Kidman's son in The Others.)