When I was little, I used to spend months thinking of the perfect Halloween costume. I’ve been everything from a smurf to a fat old homeless man (thanks mom and dad for not veto-ing THAT costume idea). While I adore Halloween and its endless possibilities for humor, I unfortunately had to work over the holiday weekend, and missed out on the excitement of browsing the 99 cent store for the most ridiculous costume ever. Somebody call me a WAHHHHmbulance.
Instead, I spent 18 hours on a bus getting to Poland thanks to Tom and Jerry, my two idiot bus drivers that decided to take the LONGEST route possible in getting us to our first stop on the tour. Not an ideal way to start off the weekend, and definitely not how I wanted to spend the first morning of a 5 day tour to Prague, Krakow and Auschwitz.
By the time we arrived in Krakow, it was after lunch and I had a busload of cranky, exhausted students who pretty much hated my guts after my endless proclamations of “We’re almost there, guys! I swear, we’re like 20 minutes away! 30 minutes MAX!” (Side note: Never, ever believe your tour guide when you ask them how much longer until you arrive. 9 times out of 10, we have no idea either.)
After having to reschedule the walking tour, breakfast (now lunch) on arrival, and get everyone checked into their hotel rooms, we FINALLY made it out into Krakow for our walking tour. Despite the frigid temperatures, the group was in good spirits as we checked out the town center and made our way to Wawel Castle.
By the end of our walking tour, my fingers were about to fall off and my intern Batman (I like making new names for the interns, it gets me through my long days) and I were so hungry we could have eaten a horse. Luckily, there happened to be a KFC nearby so we settled for imitation chicken instead.
(Side note: Don’t even think about judging me for eating at KFC, not until you’ve tour guided in Europe for 2 years and eaten at every disgusting roadside stop in the continent. I NEEDED SOME KFC THAT DAY, OK?!)
Once we had our mid-afternoon snackie break, Batman and I went back to our room to fall into a coma until our group dinner later than night. Now, I don’t know about you, but I would walk back to Poland for another one of these bad boys:
Once we had sufficiently stuffed our faces, we headed out to the local cemetery to check out the Halloween festivities.
For those of you not familiar with Polish traditions (aka pretty much everybody), on Halloween everyone and their mother/brother/uncle/cousin/sister’s nephew’s best friend hikes on over to their local cemetery to pay their respects to the dead. What’s unusual about Polish tradition (apart from the creepin’ around on a bunch of dead people) is that they leave beautiful, ornate candles on each of the gravestones so that the cemetery is lit up by hundreds of colored lights throughout the evening and into the morning.
So after wandering around the cemetery for a little bit (hey, there’s a time limit on how long one person can hang out with dead folks before weird shit starts to happen) we headed back to the hotel and passed out after a long day of gallivanting around Poland.
In the morning, we packed up and hit the road for Auschwitz. I’m gonna skim over this bit of the trip as I don’t want to depress you all with the details of this hideous place. Suffice it to say, it was one of the more memorable, shocking, and truly humbling experiences I’ve ever had.
By evening, we had finally, finally reached Prague. YAY PRAGUE! Prague is like stepping into your very own Disney movie (I like to pretend I’m in Shrek) except with BEER. I love Prague, Praguey Prague Prague.
Here’s where the real fun began. As we got off the bus in Wenceslas Square and headed over to our hotel, a group of guys on our tour couldn’t help but notice that we were within spitting distance of a strip club (to be honest, nobody could help noticing as there were some very chesty girls hanging around out front luring in people passing by with their enormous honkers.)
Now, as I was raised by a very classy lady (shout out to my mom here, she’s awesome and I hope she’s not mad about what happens next) I have gone 25 years on this earth without ever setting foot inside a naked lady den. According to Batman and this group of gentlemen on our tour, this is an atrocious sin and could only be remedied by visiting this naked lady den as soon as we checked in to our hotel. Try as I might, I could not persuade Batman to budge, and so rather than wander around Prague by myself like a lonely McLonerson, I covered myself up and headed out to join the boys for my first visit to a strip club.
Stay tuned for what happens next in Part 2 of Prague, Krakow & Auschwitz: The time I went to my first strip club.