2802 km so far.
We have a busy day ahead of us. Our list includes a tour of Oskar Schindler’s factory, getting documents together for our Russian tourist visa, going to the Russian consulate to apply for our visa, and going to Biała Droga for yoga tonight.
The Man and His List
Oskar Schindler’s factory is a museum dedicated not to Oskar and the Jewish people he saved, but to the history of the war in Kraków. The compassion Oskar learned to have for his employees, who he actually treated as employees, even friends in some cases, despite them being slave labour, is only a small part of the exhibition.
A section of the factory has been turned into a very well designed tour through the beginning of the ghetto, the annexing of the Jewish population, the building of the concentration camp on the outskirts of Kraków, the eventual extermination of many of the Jewish Krakówians, and finally the liberation of the city by the Soviet Army.
As is often the case in WW2 museums, there was no mention of the 40 years of repression that followed.
It is a very somber and sobering museum, and with the route our trip is taking, another in the long line of stories we have encountered of the brutality of the Nazis as they marched across Europe and enslaved the people they conquered.
Making A List, Checking It Twice
Speaking of Soviet rule and repression, our next task was to apply for our Russian tourist visas. We need passport photos for our application and thankfully there are numerous places to do this in Kraków near the university. The whole process took about ten minutes for both of us and cost an eighth of what it would have cost in Los Angeles.
Next we had to print a few documents, a letter confirming our health insurance coverage and our invitation to visit Russia. Printing these four sheets of paper cost 0.40 zloty, which is about 13¢, and was faster than at any Kinko’s I have been to in the past few years.
Since we next had to head to the Russian Consulate, I decided to get a boost to my karma by heading to Karma Coffee for a double espresso. This was a v. smart move as the coffee was incredible. I hadn’t had a chance to try their espresso yet. They use a Colombian bean and I love South American beans. It was a complex and incredibly palatable coffee. By far the best I have had since we visited Lumen in Budapest.
Victoria, the Russian consulate employee who had been so helpful a few days ago, was working again today. She remembered us, welcomed us, and was very smart, efficient, and friendly. So unlike any consulate or embassy staff I have had to deal with before.
She checked through our documents, and then filled out our application forms for us, asking us the relevant questions as needed. All in all it was a streamlined process (though she kept apologising for how long it was taking) and quite impressive, especially considering the hoops Russia has you jump through to apply. If all goes well, in about 11 business days we should have tourist visas for Russia.
For those who are interested, each visa cost around 100 USD and will allow us to stay in Russia for 30 days. Expensive, but hopefully it will be worth it.
A List For Asana Junkies
We were planning to head to Biała Droga for Shivananda Yoga with Janek tonight. Janek organised the week of cycling events that culminated in yesterday’s mass bike ride. But, after we got home and ate dinner a massive rain and lightning storm arrived to dampen our plans.
It was raining so hard I thought it might just be solid sheets of water outside, so we decided to stay in and watch the Game Of Thrones season finale instead.
Jane’s note: “It’s hard to be drunk all the time. If it weren’t, everyone would do it.” Tyrion = genius.
Once again, we did our own asana in the apartment. I have been really loving using Christina Sell‘s Asana Junkies sequence. She put together a 30-second video of the sequence on fast forward. I transcribed it into a long list of poses and have been practicing the sequence this week.
It’s tough, fun, and exciting. Thanks Christina! ♥