Day 2

4 Jul

Everything about this trip makes me think the world has come to a halt and I am suddenly living in the past.

My Grandmother does not share stories about her life in Canada (where she has resided for 60 years) but rather the childhood in Poland, from which she has been unable to detach herself. She tells me of a world I cannot comprehend–one of governesses and cooks in a pre-war Europe where most of the population was illiterate. She idealizes the Polish people. She loves them. She tells me she understands the people here more than she ever will in Canada. They are her people.

Market Square (Largest one in all of Europe)

The places we visit together exist to preserve the past–Auschwitz, Kajimierz (the old Jewish quarter) and the market square, a centre of commerce turned centre of tourist knick-knacks.

The hotel, even, is obviously a shell of its former shelf. The entrance is grand, with a staircase like the one from Gone with the Wind. Each room contains a sitting room as it was rude for a lady to entertain a guest within sight of her bed. The furniture is old, though, and the rooms smell of damp now. The wallpaper is littered with flowers in a style from forty to fifty years ago.

My Grandmother remarks that it was once one of the most elegant hotels in Krakow. Part of me thinks she prefers it this way–a reminder of what once was.

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