There rose red roofs, green turrets and white walls of Cracow. They finally reached the city, passed by a line of beautiful new streets, drove into quarters familiar to Stefan. He looked and he recognised – although he thought he was dreaming. Old edifices shone with unknown beauty, flowers and ivies decorated each window, balconies were transformed into bouquets of green, a line of trees and narrow but beautifully maintained lawns ran along the edges of pavements.
It was Cracow, his beloved old Cracow – yet freshened up, painted, cleaned and so beautiful with pure, translucent beauty, with which it has so far shone only in Tondos’s watercolours. All that was revolting in it: the filth of the streets, the misery of pedestrians, stallholders’ agitation, hideous signboards, Jewish stalls, littered gutters, the stuffiness of overcrowded houses; all that disappeared as if by a wave of a magic wand. All that was left were the solemn old edifices, maintained with care and decorated with flowers and green; the delightful green belt and parks remained, and so did former streets, statues, as well as the University, the Cloth Hall and the town hall tower, and Virgin Mary’s sleek turrets – and finally what remained was the Wawel Castle, as if showered by the lustre of Jagiellonian grace, alive forever and for always.