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Day 8: Climbing Stairs in Krakow

Title plate for Holly Winter Huppert's blog, Day 8

I said goodbye to my friends and thanked them for dropping me off at the old tenement building where I am renting an apartment, put on my daypack and headed inside.

The trip to Ukraine was officially over.

Every time I climb the many stairs, I think about all of the people who have climbed these wide wooden steps over the years.

What a joy it is to be back in the same place I loved last summer.

As I climb, I remind myself how very strong I am, or how strong my legs will be after a month of climbing 111 steps every time I come home.

Yes, there is an elevator.

No, I don’t use it. This is my exercise.

Before I traveled here, I tried to figure out a way to rent a room, then checkout and have the hotel watch my stuff while I traveled into Ukraine. Then when I returned, I could check in to a new room.

Checking out for a few days at a time would have saved me money, but in the end, I decided to rent an apartment for the entire trip. That way I would feel more at home when I returned.

It was the right decision. It was good to be home.

I dropped my stuff on the kitchen table and opened the refrigerator.


I wanted eggs for breakfast.

Should I get them now or in the morning?


I peeked out the window to the street below. It was filled with people at 11:30 PM; Krakow is a late-night town. The convenience store I go to is just over a block away on this busy street.

Here in Poland, just hours away from Ukraine, nobody worries about where bomb shelters are located or how to stay safe while walking to the grocery store.

It's surreal that politics can determine how safe you feel in a place.

I hate war.

Steps with a shadow on them
(The steps of the apartment building during the day.)

I found my way to the store, bought a few things and made my way back up all of those steps.

I am so strong; my legs are tired.

I wasn’t ready to sleep. Not yet.

I took a long shower and unpacked my clothes. I hand washed some of the dirty clothes.

I wasn’t ready to go to sleep.

I answered hundreds of emails from people who were worried about my whereabouts. I wrote that I appreciated their concern and that I was back in Krakow, safe and sound. I copied it and then pasted it into email after email.

I still wasn’t ready to go to sleep.

I was party jetlag and partly being wired from the trip.

I got into bed and read for a few minutes, then put down my book and picked up my journal and wrote,

“I am safe. I am home. I am safe. I am home.”

And then I slept.




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