The Krakow Diaries

75 days in Krakow. On a literary grant from the German Kulturstiftung der Länder. In the Guesthouse of the 16th century Villa Decius, with 10 other writers from Poland, Germany, Belarussia, Ukraine and Georgia. Beautiful city. Nice Krakovians. Fun nightlife. Beautiful women. And in the guesthouse: Meetings of the minds. Too much vodka. Good friends. One of the great pleasures of my life.

Day #63: Saturday, Nov. 18: The Krakow Klezmer Band

I get this question all the time: "Eric, there's so much Klezmer music in Krakow, what's the best Klezmer band?"

A difficult question, but I found the answer:

It's called the Krakow Klezmer Band, they mix Klezmer, Jazz and various experimental noises and such modern stuff, and they record on John Zorn's label. And they sweep you off your feet.

This is what they look like (there are four of them playing in the basement of the Camelot, but I didn't get the bass player). And they play pretty much this way too.

Day #62: Friday, Nov. 17: Mystery Mound

Everyone told me: "Go out and see one of those mounds at the edge of town. There's a great view from there."

"There's a great view from the top of the church tower and I didn’t climb that, either," I said.

"Yeah, but those mounds are man-made."

"So is the church tower."

"But you can see one mound from the other mound."

"I can see one church tower from the other church tower."

"But there are some kind of generals buried underneath the mounds"

"There are a lot of kings and bishops buried under the church but I didn’t go down to see the crypt either."

"You have no sense of exploring the place you’re in, do you?"

Then Christoph arrived and said, "We really have to go see one of those mounds." So we did. It looks pretty much like a big grassy mound. I still don’t know what's so important about it. So I took a picture. And then I took some photos of the view.

Day #61: Thursday, Nov. 16: Two Doors

The sacral door.
The secular door.

Day #60: Wednesday, Nov. 15: Still Life at Bus Stop

Day #59: Tuesday, Nov. 14: You Can't Take Dominique Anywhere

That does it. I've had enough. There was a knock on the door last night. Two or three women were standing there. They seemed surprised to see me. "Where's Dominique?" they asked. "And who the hell are you?"

I'm glad that guy is finally gone. Okay, he's the little brother of My Beautiful German Frolein, but when he had told me something about coming to Krakau to visit for a few days, I didn't listen to him. Somehow, he managed to get here and ended up sleeping in the extra bed.

Once in Krakau, he took over. Let me put something straight here. I'm the writer. I'm the intellectual. I'm the international globetrotter. So what was he doing running around Krakau as if he owned the place? He seemed to know all the cool bars instinctively. That one place, the club that went over four floors... how did he know about that? The bouncer at the door didn't even want to let me in until he noticed Dominique.

Then he started up with my so-called "friends": Talking poetry with Nicolai, DJing with Mirek, discussing Jewish history and international politics with Erica. True, I hate poetry and can't talk to Nicolai about it without getting into a fistfight. But still, that's my job.

I've been trying to get a poetic text out of Katja for months and she refuses to show me anything. I saw Dominique reading a sheaf of papers on morning, asked him what they were, and he said, "Oh, Katja gave me some of her stuff to read."

You know that old saying, "Walk a mile in someone else's shoes?" Well, not only did he take my shoes, he took my booties too, and I want them back. I'm glad he's finally gone. Don't tell the girls, though. They're still sitting on my bed, waiting for him to return.

Day #58: Monday, Nov. 13: Guest Blog: Photos by Dominique

Then there's this: Eric goes to bed early. Dominique doesn't. Eric snores. Dominique can't sleep. Dominique is bored. So he starts taking photos from bed.

Day #57: Sunday, Nov. 12: The Rynekites: The Soap Bubble Maker