20 days have passed. Journeys, drinks, trains, friends, random acquaintances along the way and so much more – everything has been inspiring. These experiences have always contributed greatly to maintain my sanity. I was not as productive as I was expecting (took some days off and traveled way too much) – work just pilled up. I could fly back home or stay abroad but, if I wanted to stay, I definitely needed to stop somewhere and turn the productive mode on.
Bratislava was cheap, and nice, but maybe too small. Vienna was beautiful and I really wanted to spend more time there but a bit expensive for the budget I had. Poland was not on the plan but from Budapest to Krakow I could easily get a night train, also, Krakow is one of favourite cities in this moment of the year. Not too cold, not too busy (tourists-wise), and a few alternative festivals. Decision made: Krakow.
Tried to find something in AirBnb but was not confident on doing a 7+ days reservation. Great WiFi connection and location was key for me. So, I decided to share my plan and ask for advice on CouchSurfing – that’s where I met Kalina. She wrote back saying she was going away and that she was looking for someone to take care of her dog. I would arrive exactly 2 nights before her departure so that would give her enough time to do the trust tests and check if I was a creep-free-guy. I knew I was going to score high on the craziness test but I was confident on the others and, my experience as a volunteer in the Zoo of Lisbon and as a volunteer manager of a kennel in a local non profit when I was 15 were would rank high.
And here I am, in krakow, in a great location with great WiFi connection and taking care of her amazing dog and comfy apartment while she travels between Krakow and Marseille. Kalina is a positive, energetic and independent girl. She decided to hitchhike to Marseille to enjoy and energise. She would love to create a social project where dogs would be used to rise the happiness level of ill kids. She has been doing a few tests. Also, she is definitely an early bird. When I arrived at Krakow at 7am they were already there waiting at the train station – “I usually wake up at 6.”
In Krakow, Ayla (the dog) is my buddy, date, roommate and best friend. She wakes me up around 7-8 am, we go for our early morning walk. Then I work, and around 1pm we go for lunch and walk. I work the afternoon and then we go for the last walk of the day. These forced and nice breaks with Ayla, where I do not think about work, made me feel ridiculous for the times I told friends that I didn’t have time for a 45 min lunch. I’m obsessed with the way I use my time, and still, I kinda keep messing up my priorities.
During the weekend we passed almost the entire days together. Many places in Krakow are dogs-friendly.
Ayla is the dog I always wanted to have. I mean, mine were amazing too but I never succeed as a trainer. Ayla is always the most obedient dog at the park. She does everything I say. It is quite of a contrast when compared with Terry 1 or Terry 2 or Fly (the 3 dogs I had) who I spent more time running after and, apologising to neighbours for the chickens that went missing than anything else. Now I do not have any dog but my parents do: Spotty and Jade. I took Spotty to obedience course and we were banned because we were distracting the other dogs. So, you probably imagine how impressed I am by Ayla.
I feel lucky and happy. Also, my productive mode is now on again. I’ll keep getting some work done and enjoy Krakow.
Thank you so much Kalina, you are amazing. I will miss you Ayla.
19 may, 2015
With Ayla, at Kalina’s apartment, Krakow.