As I mentioned here, while in Lviv over Christmas, we visited a Tex-Mex restaurant…multiple times. During our first visit, I managed to misplace my favorite winter hat: a nice, black, warm Mountain Hardwear beanie I purchased a few years ago while skiing in Colorado. I did not notice this until the following morning, either, and spent a good two days asking people if they had seen my hat. Luckily I had a second hat made for me by another volunteer, so I was able to make due with just that one. Problem solved, off we go to Poland.
We spent the first day or two meandering around Krakow, taking in the sites and sounds of our new host city. Up to this point, my new hat had been holding up just fine. However it got to be a little windy one night. As I am a man who voluntarily shaves his head these days, I decided to take advantage of a local sporting good store to purchase a new head warmer. With some help, I picked out a nice Columbia version – almost a dead clone for the old one, except grey. At this point, I am a very happy man. I now am freshly equipped with two hats in E. Europe – in winter – life is good.
That same night, we hung out with some of the other guests in the hostel before heading out for the evening. As we were getting ready to leave, I noticed that my brand new hat was missing…and of course, no one had seen it. Nor had it been turned into the front desk. Of course, why would anyone do that? Back to hat number two.
The next day, the girls had already decided they were going to go on a walking tour and then head to the center for some coffee and, well, girl time. I was still nursing a badly sprained ankle and decided that I was just going to sleep until my heart’s content then come meet them. Clearly, this meant sleeping until at least noon – I wasn’t in the mood to “rally“. On my way to the center, I decided it would be a good idea to stop into another sporting goods store and buy yet another replacement hat. Why not, right? How is this not an awesome idea?
I spent a good 15 minutes perusing the plethora of hats which adorned the walls, racks, hell they were even hanging from the ceiling – literally. Needless to say, there was no shortage of options. I tried on a few different styles and cuts before I settled on one which fit the way I wanted and was also warm enough to protect my delicate ears and scalp from any blistering wind I might encounter in the foreseeable future.
Being the fashion-conscious man I am, the prudent decision was to select a color similar to my jacket: grey. Once I found a winner and strode to the checkout counter, promptly paid, asked the kind man to cut the tags off, and told him I was in no need of a receipt, I was on my way. Beaming with pride and blasting some Monster’s of Men, I walked a few short blocks to the center for some more street food, people watching, and picture taking…strutting my stuff the entire way, basking in my accomplishment…
While eating sausage # who knows, I came across this guy. I later learned that he is one who helps to reenact a very specific part of Krakow history…which is not part of this story and can be found in the second paragraph here.
Little did I know…
Once I had finished wandering around the beautiful center, taking these pictures and just being in my own world, it was time to meet up with the girls and their seminarian friends, ironically enough at Coffee Heaven. I went inside, ordered a coffee to go, and was met by Laura and Maria (previous post) wearing puzzled looks. Next are the three seminarians who looked as if they were on their way to basketball practice (again, see previous post for group shot) and their puzzled looks.
At this time, I’m starting to wonder “Did I walk in at an awkward time or something…wait, I’m confused…what is happening right now…I hope I’m not interrupting, seminarians are celibate too, right? Should I just go?” While walking back towards the center to get yet more street food (by now, you should have sensed a pattern) this conversation took place:
Julie: “Pete, that hat’s pretty stylin!”
Me: “Hey thanks! Not gonna lie, I’ve been getting a lot of looks today.”
Maria or Julie (sorry, I can’t remember exactly): “Yeah, that’s because it’s pink!”
Me: “No way, you’re kidding…you have got to be kidding me…” (as I rip the hat off of my head and laughter ensues).
Julie or Maria (again, sorry): “Are you serious…how do you not know?”
Me: “I’m colorblind!! What do you expect??” (more laughter) “See, this is why I don’t ever go shopping for clothes by myself…”
At this point, what was I going to do. It’s getting cold, I’m in Krakow, Poland. My hostel is a good 20 minute hobble from our current location, and I’ve already purchased two new hats – I’m not adding a third. I had already been wearing the hat for a good three to four hours, I didn’t have the receipt or any of the tags. There was no choice but to continue to rock the hat with pride and let the wonderfully smokey taste of a fresh polish sausage ease my pain…and a nice healthy class of mulled wine didn’t hurt.
The hat is still looking for a good home. Let me know if interested, seriously. It’s insanely warm and I’m legitimately disappointed that it’s apparently bright pink – I still don’t see it, no joke. Maybe the second best part of this story is that my original hat was left at the Tex-Mex restaurant. All I had to do was ask the second time we visited (which may or may not have been suggested) and all this could have been easily avoided…but what fun is that. So, if I or anyone ever asks for assistance clothes shopping (yes, mostly men and even if it’s for a hat), please think about this story and let that influence your decision: sympathy or potential hilarity, your call.
Next Up: The Guys Arrive and a Humbling Experience