Published: July 31st 2010July 26th 2010
July 26 - I woke up early after a crappy night of sleep. My roommate talked to me for about an hour last night until after midnight and then I woke up itching several times in the night. Even the soles of my feet are itching. But there are no good mirrors to see what it happening. I made my way to breakfast and to think about how to spend the day. At some point I freaked out and decided I needed to leave Warsaw TODAY so I checked on the train times and there was a train leaving at 9:09am. It was already 8am, so I made a mad dash to book a hostel for the next two nights and then packed up quickly and ran away with the written directions to the hostel that the girl in this hostel has done for me. It was raining which gave me the opportunity to use my umbrella for the first time. Ironically, I have a pack rain cover for my big backpack but have never had time to use it on this trip yet as I'm usually in a blind rish when it is raining. I made it to the station
with plenty of time to spare, got a ticket and then confirmed where the train would be twice, as I couldn't find it written anywhere. Oddly, both ticket agents told me the same (and correct) platform but one said 9:15 and the other 9:20. The train came at 9:09, just like the hostel girl said.
The train ride was much like all others. Started a bit warm with closed windows due to rain, cooled down, and I spent most of the time planning things for the next few days. I also had some time to write in my journal. I would have liked to have slept a bit, but I couldn't relax. Normal for me. From the train I had to get a bus into town, which was easy enough. It was a bit of a walk from there to the hostel. The hostel is a real bummer after coming from a nice one. The girl who was working when I arrived was really nice, but the facilities are pretty crap. One shower and toilet for the whole place, a really simple room, boring common room and no wifi anymore. Only one computer. And though there is no smoking
in the hostel, you can smoke in the building This would not , right by the bathroom/kitchen. This is not going to be pretty.
I got set up a little bit, had some instant noodles for lunch and then headed out to see Lublin. It would have been easier to see if it hadn't been raining. But I gave it a shot. Visited a few churches and look around the old town. Eventually the rain did calm down and go away, though the clouds stayed and the temperature dropped severely. Two days ago I was broiling and was sure cold weather was superior to the heat. Today I am sure I was mistaken. Winter in July sucks as much if not more than a tropical heat wave in Europe. But it is a lovely little town to walk around. I also managed to get to Majdanek, a concentration camp four kilometers out of town. I took the bus there and couldn't figure out how to get a ticket, so I just hoped I could get there without anyone checking to see if I had one. No one ever has since I've been in Poland, and today was no exception.
The museum, visitors center, and some exhibits were closed today (Monday), but I was able to walk around the buildings and enter some. I saw the place where people entered the camp, got disinfected, slept, died, and were cremated. It was pretty awful, even with that minimal amount of information. 18,000 people were killed there in just two days. Thousands more died in the time the camp was open. How did this happen? And how did we let it?
From Majdanek, I went back to Lublin with the same hopes about not having a ticket. It worked out. I walked around a bit of the new town, used the toilet in McDonald's and somehow managed to avoid a happy meal in the meantime. I decided to go to a restaurant for dinner and had a nice pasta. Walked home via a grocery store to get some water for tomorrow. I showered and used the internet to book a hostel in Krakow and have a chat with the boy. I almost booked a single room - so tempted - but the cost was too different. And I am too frugal. Tomorrow the plan is to take a day trip to
a town called Zamosc, which is renaissance instead of medieval, unusual for Poland. It is about two hours away by bus or minibus.
Did I mention I am still itchy? Incredibly and horribly itchy? In the tourist office I used the mirror in the bathroom to look at my torso, and I am covered with red patches. I stopped at a pharmacist then to see if they knew what I had and though she did not speak English she thought it was an allergy and wanted to sell me the mosquito cream I already have. So I put that on after my shower and took a Benadryl, which I happen to have with me. I hope this helps because I am scratching everywhere!
There are more photos below