My talk was the conclusion of the Marathon, and all that remained were some short closing speeches, during which the Deputy Mayor presented Inez with flowers.
Our final event was a dinner with the Deputy Mayor, Zbigniew, held in the 'New World' restaurant a short distance away across the river (although we drove around a very long way to get there.
It was a good but not remarkable meal, although it produced the only red wine I'd had in Poland, and a very agreeable one, with which we toasted the festival and all those who contributed to it, walking around and clinking glasses.
All the photographers were presented with a book of photographs of the city, and we went round getting autographs from some of those present in this or in the exhibition catalogues.
We also got a CD containing pictures of the event taken by the official photographer, with an embarrassing number of pictures of me on it.
Alex had finally got around to looking at his travel arrangements, and had discovered that he had to catch a train at 4.30 the following morning to get to Warsaw in time for his flight on to Amsterdam. He'd chosen to travel by train in Poland to see more of the country, but on the way to Bielsko most of his journey was in darkness, and given such an early start, much on the way back will have been also.
But he checked, and the next train was at 2pm, arriving far to late for his flight. Polish trains seem to be rather slow - those I saw were certainly traveling not a great deal above walking speed. I suggested he should stay up and go to a bar rather than bother with trying to get some sleep, but we all went back to the hotel and made a relatively early night of it.
My plane wasn't leaving Krakow until 13.05, but Misha who was also catching it was in a hurry to leave. He arranged for us to be picked up around 9.20 and then suggested we try the highway route rather than the back roads we had come by. We were at the airport in around 75 minutes rather than the 115 it had taken us on arrival, thanks to some impressive speeds - up to 170 km - on the motorway (one of very few miles in Poland.)
The festival calendar took some getting through security both at Krakow and later at Warsaw. Almost square, its smaller dimension could just be squeezed into the scanner, but then stuck inside, needing to be fished out by hand.
Polish security are considerably more friendly than those at Heathrow, and took the whole thing in good nature, eventually removing the calendar from its packing and inspecting it manually. On the flight to Krakow there was a convenient empty double-seat which it occupied for the journey.
At Warsaw they had more sense than to try to pass it through the scanner, and hand-inspected it without comment as I packed my other excess belongings into three plastic trays and pushed them into the scanner. Once on the plane, one of the hostesses took it from me and found a convenient hiding place at the rear of the plane. The only problem was remembering where she had put it when I went to collect it after we had landed.
Although I don't think I could ever have got it onto a plane at Heathrow I had no problem about getting it out, and it was soon accompanying me home on a free bus ride, thanks to my bus pass. The only problem I now have is finding a space on my walls large enough to hang it.
I'd had a great time in Poland, and hope to go there again. While at the festival I got an invitation to go to Krakow next May, and hope to be back again in Bielsko-Biala some time for another great festival.
On English Streets
An edited version of the presentation I gave in Bielsko-Biala should be available shortly and there will be a link here.