That’s right! The best, most meaningful, and most memorable Valentine’s Day I’ve shared with Franklin was when he didn’t give me any gifts. A few years ago, we decided to stop giving each other presents on special occasions. After our consumer driven lifestyle proved to be overwhelmingly unfulfilling, we adopted the ideology of buying experiences not things. Since then we have planned trips together for holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, etc.
But one Valentine’s Day was a little different.
We typically do not make a big fuss for V-Day. If we do celebrate, it will usually consist of us cooking dinner together and maybe sharing a bottle of wine (really not too much of a stretch from any other night). For this particular year, the day of love fell on a Saturday. I really didn’t think too much of it, to be honest. I figured that we would just hang out for the day. We had recently made the big move from the US to Europe a few month prior and we were still getting settled in financially. Let’s just say that I wasn’t expecting to be wined-and-dined that year.
Friday night, Franklin came home from work just as normal. We had just finished dinner when he looked at me oddly. I could tell there was something on his mind. It was like he had something to say but wasn’t sure if it was the right time.
He said, “I have something to ask you.”
I already had a ring at this point so I knew it wasn’t a proposal. I thought it was strange that he would put it that way though. It made me suspicious but I skeptically asked, “What?”
“Do you want to go to Krakow tomorrow?” he responded.
I was completely shocked. He continued on to tell me that he planned out an entire day. He wanted to do something special for Valentine’s Day and thought a nice day-trip to Krakow would be fun. Neither one of us had visited before and it was only a three-hour bus ride from where we were living in Wroclaw. Traveling by bus in Poland was very inexpensive. Tickets cost about 30zł (or a little more than $7) round-trip. He said we would leave early in the morning and come back in the evening. It was perfect!
He bought the tickets but that wasn’t all.
Then handed me an envelop. I laughed because this whole thing was so unexpected and asked what was inside. “Just open it!” he said.
Inside I found that he had printed out an itinerary for how to spend the day in Krakow. He had done a little bit of research on the city and designed a plan for the best way to explore. The itinerary had a map with pins pointing to specific locations that we would see along the way. It was so thoughtful and he took so much time to plan it out. So how could I say no?
We were on the bus at 6 AM the next morning fully prepared for our day of adventure. Franklin planned our first stop to be Bunkier Cafe
where we had breakfast. It’s located in Krakow’s Planty Gardens and attached to a contemporary art museum. It was a great start. We got lucky with mild temperatures and a beautiful sunny day, which is extraordinary for the middle of February in Poland. It allowed us to walk through the old town and spend the whole day outside. We stopped into a small cafe for lunch in Kazimierz (the former Jewish district), and before we left to return home we popped into a highly recommended coffee shop called Tektura Cafe. We could not pass up a place that knows how to pull a quality espresso shot.
We were able to check off everything on the itinerary thanks to my amazing tour guide and his well planned trip. We had such a great time in Krakow that I went back a second time when my mom came to visit that summer.
It’s fair to say that this mystical city with its historic market square and medieval, storybook castle complete with fire breathing dragon captured my heart on Valentine’s Day. In my opinion, experiences like this are far more valuable than exchanging material items.
Tell me about your favorite Valentine’s Day in the comments below!