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Published: October 12th 2008
Back on the road again
Yup, I'm going on this train, with no idea where I will stay tonight. H, do you recognize the cotton bag? I still need it for the autumn jackets that I'm towing around.
I caught the train to Warsaw this morning after saying goodbye to Servas host family. They carried on to church, and I with assistance from their capable daughter got on the train. I had no idea where I was going to stay tonight, but I figured the 6 hour journey (longer on Sundays) would give me time to read about hostels.
When I arrived in Warsaw, I hit that wall travelers sometimes get. Blame it on this chest cold that I thought was a little bit of asthma acting up with the stress of travel, or blame it on 'Sunday' when the tourist bureau at the Warsaw city central train station closes early and nobody in the station, police, bookstore lady, knows if or where it exists. Light was fading, shady characters seem to lurk about (damn, those travelbooks that warn you that the train from Gdansk is the worse for stealing (see: Lonely Planet guide), and I was sick of being sick with this cold. I stopped at an internet cafe to check the hostel from the travel book that I had picked out, but it was too difficult to figure out if it was booked out online. So I
Sign at Gdansk
Can you understand the options?
trudged out into the evening sky and started walking around the station, dragging my luggage. I was surprised to see how 'big city' Warsaw is (I feel underdressed now). The first familiar sign, "Holiday Inn" was my chosen refuge. I'll go back to the train station tomorrow morning and find those tourist people and they can book me into something for a couple of days, but tonight it is me and the spa and the restaurant that served a wonderful Polish egg and ham soup and mushroom pasta.
And I get free Internet service (yahooo, Holiday Inn) and can post some photos from the train.
I guess it is time to summarize my adventures in Poland so far. First, I have to say that the Servas hosts have made this trip (and in Scotland). Thank you so much for feeding me nurturing food and passing me cold lozenges from time to time. And a special thank you to Wojciech and Elizbieta who stopped on our way to the party last night to buy me cough medicine. I was going to delay the drugs till Warsaw, because cough syrup sometimes makes you sicker for a few days while the body gets
I'm back in that silent mode, where no one can/will speak English to answer my questions. Younger people can speak English well, but the ones who work on trains and buses are not so flexible.
rids of what it should. Another big thanks goes to Ewa who helped my buy the train ticket to Warwaw: non-smoking, window seat, facing the direction that the train moves. I could not have done that without you.
Poland is a nice surprise. After fifty years of communist suppression, Poland is ready to break out into the new world. The wave of young workers who went to Britain to work in factories and hotels these past few years are coming back because Poland's economy is doing better than the U.K. These people will help kick-start the culture/economy to be more open. The catholic church seems to have been instrumental to preserving Poland's soul during the communist dry years. The physical infrastructure is quickly improving; in fact roads newly completed are excellent with fences and tunnels for wildlife to cross safely. I saw many new houses being built as Gdynia is expanding. I'm impressed with the forests and parks and clean beaches. An injection of frivolity seems to be needed here and there, but I think Poland will become strong within Europe and the world. After centuries of mangled politics and hardship, it is her time.
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