Krakow is how this whole trip got started. I work with a relatively obscure programming language, and it was having its first conference in Europe in the third week of April. My company agreed that it'd be good for me to attend and gave me the funds for plane tickets, which I just extended from a three day trip to a six week one.
Before I arrived, while I hadn't expressed it to myself consciously, I'm sorry to say I had a negative impression of what I was going to see in Krakow. I think Americans just have a poor feeling on Eastern Europe (leftover feelings from the Cold War even in my generation? or perhaps something related to impressions of where hackers are). Not to mention, any nation that Maciej may claim heritage from can't be a nice place ;)
It didn't take long at all for the city to turn my feelings on their head though. I spent my trip by the old town and walked the green parks encircling it every day, marvelling at the new morning's light on an old city's stones.
In the evenings I'd go out with other conference attendees and explore the town. Nazar, an internet friend met through Ghost, lives in Krakow and acted as tour guide on more than one evening. He shared with me the crucial local's view on all the different aspects of the city and life in Eastern Europe.
He also knew where to find the good brews :)
My last day in town I snagged a taxi and went out to a nearby climbing gym - gotta stay in shape for Spain.
I finished the evening having dinner with Michelle and Mads from Copenhagen, who convinced me to change plans around the latter half of my trip to make sure I stop by there.
So, the end of my trip is going to look something like:
Barcelona -> Cologne -> Amsterdam -> Copenhagen -> Halmstad -> Umea -> Stockholm -> Home