My First Solo Trip: Day 13
I had a few hours before my taxi arrived to take me back to the airport this morning. The hotel was more than happy to store my luggage for me so I headed to the old town to buy a few gifts. I purchased a few items from the lovely stuffed animal shop called Galeria Bukowski and then found a pair of amber earrings for myself in the cloth hall.
I wandered across the square to St. Mary’s Basilica. There was a scheduled service that morning, which meant no entry tickets would be available until later in the day. Those interested in worship were permitted to enter the church and I took one of the only empty seats near the back. The building was packed with worshippers and I love that the people of Poland still attend services and utilize their beautiful houses of worship. The service was in Latin so I’m not really sure what was going on, but it was nice to sit and admire the architecture and worship with others, even though I wasn’t sure what was being said.
After a little while, I quietly left the church and headed to Starbucks to spend some of my leftover zloty. I took a seat in the square sipping my tea and savoring my last few hours in that magical city. I was really sad I had to say goodbye to Krakow, almost on the verge of tears. I relished my last few hours before I had to go back to the hotel and meet my taxi. On my walk back to the hotel, I stopped to purchase an Obwarzanek – a type of savory bread somewhere between bagel and a pretzel – from one of the street vendors so that I would have a snack for later.
There were so many things that I felt that I missed while in Krakow. I wish I could have seen more museums, churches, the rest of Wawel Castle, a tour of Nowa Huta, and a trip out to Plaszow or one of the mounds. I also would have enjoyed taking a trip to Zakopane and exploring more of the Kazimierz neighborhood. I loved the vibe of Krakow and the resilience of the Polish people after overcoming so much sad history. I can’t wait to revisit Krakow someday and explore other parts of that beautiful country. I had enjoyed the time I spent in London, but Krakow truly stole my heart. I think that I had forgotten how much I love Eastern Europe and the people there.
I arrived back to Heathrow by mid afternoon. I was prepared for the lack of beverage service on the BA flight this time around and found the flight much more enjoyable. I arrived in Terminal 5 and had to once again clear immigration. This took forever! Even though there appeared to be half the number of people waiting than during my previous arrival, there were far more nationalities in the queue, plus heightened security, and more than a few individuals requiring translation assistance. Things moved very slowly. Thankfully, I didn’t have anywhere to be and once I got up to the desk, I had a nice little chat with the female immigration officer and quickly passed through.
Back on the tube to Earl’s Court this time. I wasn’t familiar with this area of London, but had decided to spend a bit more on my accommodation for my last two nights in London and had booked a single room at Hotel Moonlight. This area felt a lot more ethnically diverse than the other areas that I’ve stayed in London, but there were also a lot more restaurants than there had been around St. James’ Park. The hotel was really cute and had a boutique feel. It’s also very secure for a single female traveler because you can only gain entrance with a key or a buzz from the front desk. The rooms were nicely furnished and there was a great bathtub for soaking. I was even provided with a robe and slippers, which was a nice treat.
I wandered around the neighborhood just a bit and ended up eating at the Gourmet Burger Kitchen on Earl’s Court Road. It’s a chain restaurant with the most amazing french fries! After my meal, I wandered into the nearby Sainsbury to grab a candy bar and bottle of water to enjoy later in the comfort of my hotel room. Then it was back to the hotel for a soak in the bathtub and some time to catch up on the latest episode of The Walking Dead.