A Few Last Things
I am extremely late in writing this post because of how busy I have been, but I want to catch up with the last few weeks of my semester! As the semester started to come to a close and papers and exams started looming in the near distance, the weather was absolutely beautiful and the last thing on my mind was studying. To try to be productive and enjoy the sun, I was able to reward myself with some pretty cool study breaks:
One of my program excursions involved attending a football (or soccer) match at Wisła Stadium. It wasn’t one of the bigger games since it was approaching the end of the season, but a good part of the stadium was actually full—especially the section with the super fans. Kraków has quite an extreme rivalry between two of the major teams Wisła Kraków and Cracovia. Intense super fans are actually called ‘hooligans’ and the evidence of the rivalry is spray-painted on walls and buildings throughout the city.
I actually enjoy watching football matches, but this wasn’t the best game and we lost in the end. One of the coolest parts of the game though was actually seeing the super fans who were cheering during the entire game! The huge mob of red and white were proudly chanting for the entire game, keeping in time with the steady beat of a giant drum and made the air electric with excitement!
Another one of my program excursions involved rafting down the Dunajec River, which forms part of the border between Poland and Slovakia. The rafting location was about a two hour ride away from Kraków and absolutely perfect weather. During the raft ride we sat in large traditional flat-bottomed boats while men dressed in traditional highlander gear guided us along the way.
It was more of a peaceful coasting down the river rather than intense white water rafting, but the sights were so beautiful since the river goes through mountains and scenic hiking paths. If I would ever get the chance, I would love to go back and do some more exploring.
Yet another program excursion brought us outside to enjoy the beautiful weather to go biking to Tyniec Monastery, about a 45 minute ride outside of the city. Biking in busy cities has never been my favorite thing, especially with so many pedestrians, trams, and horses and carriages in the road, but once we got into the countryside it was so quiet and serene. One of my favorite things about Kraków is that I can go ten minutes outside of the city and it feels like a completely different place. The monastery itself is very old with some of the building beginning in the 11th century and was very important in restoring the Polish state and the Polish Church after Poland was invaded. We did not get to do too much exploring, but the monastery was on a hill that had amazing views of the countryside–a perfect place to rest before starting the trek back to the city. (www.tyniec.benedyktyni.pl/en/history/)
When I was asked if I knew how to ride a bike before the trip started, I laughed because I’ve known for so many years! I always considered it a right of passage. But I shouldn’t have laughed so soon… On the way to the monastery we had to bike down a steep and sandy hill, and in my attempt to not crash into my friend in front of me, my brakes skidded and I fell head-over-handlebars onto the ground. I received a nice scratch on my arm and leg, but no broken bones!
In an attempt to study while enjoying the beautiful weather, I went with a few friends to Zakrzowek Lake, which was actually an old mined quarry that has been filled with water. We brought some snacks and drinks and had a picnic along the lake, taking in the sun and the amazing sights. We sat and made an earnest attempt at studying (really!) but it was so hot outside and the temptation of swimming was too great, so we just decided to jump in! The water was absolutely freezing since it had been so cold recently, but it was so refreshing in the afternoon heat. We perched ourselves on some rocks to dry off before heading back inside to do some real studying.
Looking back, this semester has felt so short, but I’ve been trying to enjoy the last few days and the warm weather as long as I can!