The other morning, on the way to my early morning tennis lesson (7am!), I noticed two men dressed entirely in black. On their heads they wore small black caps, and over their shoulders carried long coils of cable.
I realized they were chimney sweeps. Their outfits reminded me of the illustrations in one of my favourite childhood novels, The Water Babies.
Although Krakow is in many ways a modern and westernized city, small details like the chimney sweeps in their Victorian era uniforms remind me daily that this is a very different place, with a much stronger sense of history and tradition, then where I'm from.
The sweeps I've had in to work on my chimney in Toronto wore blue jeans and white coveralls. Not nearly the same effect.
If only I'd had my camera with me.
Note: The wikipedia article linked to above mentions that sweeps in Croatia still wear the traditional dress with the small black caps. I should write in to append that they do in Poland as well. Note that the sweeps in Krakow were not wearing the extremely odd headress-like hat that is in the accompanying picture.