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Starowislna street Krakow

Image By Zygmunt Put

We’re walking around the streets of Krakow without a destination in mind.

“Let’s just see where fate takes us,” my group decides.

Travel experts often tout that the best way to get to know a place is to just get lost.  Throw out the map.  Leave the guidebooks at home.  Start walking and don’t worry about where you’ll end up.  The adventure is in the things you least expect happening in unexpected places.  I take my cues from these seasoned travelers in hopes that something remarkable will happen to me on the outskirts of Krakow.

We walk into a residential district.  All of the buildings look the same, there are no shops or cafes we can just “pop” into.  The weather is warm for the end of October, and the sun makes the buildings look somewhat inviting.  But no one opens their doors.  Everything appears to be closed.

Suddenly the signs and streets become unfamiliar, the names of businesses barely discernible and their meanings are masked by a language we do not know.

Expert travelers will also tell you to “Go with your gut.”  I don’t know this area of Krakow, its eery quiet hum and barricaded buildings.  A tall, thin, bald man walks down the street opposite us.  He gives us a snarl.  Graffiti becomes more and more prevalent on shop windows and concrete walls.  My gut tells me to turn around, this isn’t a place I’m meant to be.

“I’m going to head back,” I say to the others.  “It doesn’t look like there is anything else around here.”

I am looking for adventure, just the wrong kind.