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Published: November 16th 2014
Jehn dohbrih (hello)
Overnight train Minsk to Warsaw leaves at 9:45pm
Rushing to the train – by bus and tram or subway from our apartment
determined by bus number and how long to stand in the dark and cold
No 34 bus, so finally chose the 46 bus which meant a tram.
Think… was it the 4 and 1 or 3 tram that goes to the train station
the 3 tram showed up first. Cold made us choose.
half-way there a wrong turn – dang, hop off and run to the other track
wait in the cold, finally the 4 tram to the train station.
Tip – don’t arrive too early at the train station.
It is not like an airport where you need to be super early.
No check in and trains run on a tight schedule.
We were early and worried because we couldn't find our train on the schedule board
Too early – relax, have a beer and some tasty, savory breads
exchanged for 20 zvoty – all they had (about $6)
It is getting close – outdoor platform
Settling into our cabin
Snacks and coffee for the trip.
Tip – again, don’t be too early.
Finally on board, now which cabin is ours – dang language barrier
Kevin asks another passenger
we settle in our seats and watch the lights of Minsk go by.
“Helga” the 1st
class car attendant says something
I don’t understand
hands together/head turned
“Sleep” – more command than question
She sends us to the passageway to wait
Helga lowers sleeping bunk
Coffee is served
glass and silver mugs sweetened just right-yumm!
some snacks that Kevin packed
sitting with heads ducked because of the sleeping bunk
time for bed, but not sleep
doors slamming in the night
Brest – Belarus border control collects passports
“Stampala” we wait over an hour for passports
a little concerning
3 army guys get on
flash lights flashing around
just warming up & using 1st
train undercarriage is changed from Soviet gage to European gage
wake up - passports returned
Helga knocks again, opens door and turns on light
Passports – now Poland border
Real coffee! Mmmm!
control agents swarm the train
Kevin says it’s like being in a hospital – wake up every hour, no sleep
Poland’s rail is much smoother
Organs were jolted on Belarus rails.
I saw 2 cemeteries in the night
lit with candles – very welcoming for ancestors
Close to Warsaw
Met gracious Aleksander on train
he offered to take us to his appartment in Warsaw
to clean up and get breakfast when the store opens at 7am
taxi there, short visit,
tea, biscuits, we shared cheese and salami
he is an opposition leader in Belarus and author
he offered to call and pay for a taxi and rest 2 hours
we declined and went for a long, pleasant walk back to the train station
next to the Warsaw Central Train Station
wandered the very modern mall
nice bathrooms – free
Kevin bought nylons
nice to be able to communicate in English
Starbucks – hmm! good coffee after several months of instant coffee
sandwiches to go for the train
Warsaw is modernizing quickly.
tickets to Krakow
but whole compartment to ourselves
rushing past pastoral views
yet civilization creeping onto fertile fields
windows open – fresh breeze – in November?
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