November break in Poland


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Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Kraków
November 16th 2014
Published: November 16th 2014
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November break route

Krakow was the highlight of the trip.

Kevin anticipating the 10 hour overnight train rideKevin anticipating the 10 hour overnight train rideKevin anticipating the 10 hour overnight train ride

But it was cold waiting on the platform.
Jehn dohbrih (hello)

Departure

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 cabinSettling into our cabinSettling into our cabin

Snacks and coffee for the trip.
is freezing

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

wake up

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 class toilet

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 CoffeeReal CoffeeReal Coffee

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

All Saints



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



2nd class
WarsawWarsawWarsaw

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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16th November 2014

Cold!
Thanks. Great narrative & photos.
17th November 2014

Poland
George and Kevin, so happy that you are safe and out and exploring! Sounds fun, but a little stressful. Alexsandar sounds like he was a real interesting guy. Amazing the people you meet while traveling.
17th November 2014

Real Coffee!!
Oh, I bet that was one exquisite cup of Java after living on instant coffee! ;) Looks like Kevin was dressed well for the cold. Listening to the news lately and thinking of you two..... Take care!
24th November 2014

Eastern European adventure
Wow, what an adventure. Message to me is to be flexible. Thanks for sharing.
13th December 2014

Thanks for the updates, George!
Hi George! Miss you! Thanks for updating us on your recent trips! That's awesome that you got to so a science inquiry board presentation and enjoy so much good beer on all your travels! Can't wait to hear what the winter break holds for you two! Stephanie

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