Recently I’ve been working with a team of AI and automation developers based in Poland. They’re talented and friendly and quietly proud of their country. I’ve come to Krakow for a few days to work with them. It’s my first time in Poland.
I came with the expectation of arriving in a very old European city. I’ve been to lots of those and it seems to me, despite the architecture and the weight of history, they are what the current population makes of them.
Krakow seems to have spirit and energy. The people are friendly, the food is good and the atmosphere is relaxed but not boring.
My hotel is in an old palace, (think small scale Palazzo Vecchio) and fronts on to the main market square. The square is large and old, pedestrianized and edged by restaurants. If this was Brussels, those restaurants would be like sharks circling their prey, waiting to take a bite out of tourist wallets for very ordinary food. Here the restaurants offer good food, lots of choice, pleasant staff and a little respite from the day.
Sadly, I’m here without my wife. She’d love this place and her enjoyment would amplify mine.
I’m reminded of an old Vodafone ad where a middle-aged businessman is shown walking through the streets of Paris alone, talking to his wife, who is up a ladder painting the ceiling. He says to her, “Here I am in one of the most romantic cities in the world and you’re hundreds of miles away”.
I’m sure they meant to send the message that mobile phones bring you closer. It’s true, in a way, yet they also remind me of how much I’m missing. You can’t hold hands on the phone. You can’t see a city for the first time together by phone. You can’t watch your wife smile and feel content.
So, I’ll be coming back to Poland and next time, I won’t be alone.