Cracow, with its Old Town that survived World War 11 without serious damage, is a heart-warmingly lovely city with much Viennese charm and an air of delicious idleness and merry vodka flag-hoisting on the weekend. Here, there are wind musicians that play half melodies, a sweet dragon with its own cave, perhaps the largest-ever medieval marketplace and, definitely, the best pickled cucumber (at the Kleparz market) in the world. No wonder that the people of Cracow are terribly proud of their city and tend to measure everything in this world on the Cracow scale.
And there, one is suddenly occupied with the issue of Karol Josef Wojtyla’s thoughts when he went from Cracow to Rome and from Rome into the great wide world – as a globetrotter in the service of the holy Roman church. Naturally, it is the unsuitable thoughts that interest us. What had he been thinking, for instance, when, during his first-ever visit to Africa, he had stepped out of his aircraft, walked down to the ground and bent down to kiss the African continent? Had he been thinking of the freshly polished floorboards in his parental home? Had he missed the wind that rustles the reeds on the banks of the Vistula? Had he suddenly felt a strong urge to bite into the soft Brezel sold at every street-corner in Cracow? Perhaps he had chuckled at the thought of the face his secretary would make if he were suddenly entrusted with the task of buying Brezel in the heart of Africa. How does one measure Africa on the Cracow scale, on the Cracow map? A valid question, no doubt.
First Publication: 22-2-2012