The Adventure in Poland
It seems that we are incapable of doing anything without there being some sort of adventure involved. In Poland, that adventure was the train.
“Oh sure, it’s no problem… just take the train from Krakow to Warsaw, it should be no problem. Just three hours. There’s a train every hour.”
I guess that’s how it works for other people… not so for us. No, for us it was an adventure. I know that Virginians can’t figure out what to do when it snows (yes, yes, I give you a pass when it snows 3 feet) but I would think that the Poles would have it figured it out. (And don’t start with me on the dumb Polish jokes – or I’ll be forced to give you a history lesson about American Immigrant communities.)
At any rate, it turns out that the Polish infrastructure is not prepared for huge snowstorms that are even huger in the mountains where the train from Krakow to Warsaw starts. Given the rising levels of snow on the ground in Krakow, we decided to go to the train station earlier than we had originally planned. We went up to the ticket counter, complete with a printout from the hotel of the exact train we wanted to take. We pointed at it, and the woman behind the counter did a lot of talking (in Polish) but wouldn’t give us a ticket. Since we clearly couldn’t communicate with her, we decided to try another ticket counter in the hopes of finding someone who spoke some English. The next guy sold us a ticket with no problem. But that was a little suspicious too. So, just to be sure, I copied down the word that was listed next to our train … and all the other trains to Warsaw… and brought it back to the hotel for translation.
For future reference, “opóźn” = delayed
Just in case, I had the guy at the hotel write down “cancelled”, so I would recognize that if I was unfortunate enough to see it.
3pm We went back to the train station, to wait for our 5pm train. Of course, the 3pm train was “opóźn” 60 minutes, the 2pm one “opóźn” 120 minutes, the 1pm one “opóźn” 180 minutes … it was not looking good.
5pm With no train in sight, and a lot of announcements we didn’t understand, we started scoping out the waiting area. I found a girl reading an English newspaper who actually seemed to be listening to the announcements – so I went up and asked her what was going on. And then the poor girl had two new best friends attached to her side for the rest of the night.
6pm We researched our backup options – the last flight left at 5, there was a bus that left at midnight, and got in at 7:45 am, or we could try to figure out how to rent a car… Given that we were supposed to be at work the following morning, we really needed to figure out how to get to Warsaw.
8pm A train! We, and every other person waiting for a train, all got on the train. At least we got to sit together.
9pm The train hasn’t moved. There are a lot of announcements that we don’t understand. We watch the guy next to us to attempt to determine the content based on the look on his face. Usually laughter was bad news.
10pm They tell us it will be an hour, Ryan goes to get a snack
11pm The train leaves!
1130pm We get a cookie!
The whole train ride was supposed to be three hours, we ended up sitting on the train for almost 10. We finally made it in to Warsaw around 5am. I slept hardly at all on the train, it was absolutely freezing when we got to Warsaw, and there were no Taxis. We waited almost another half an hour to get a taxi. By the time we got to our hotel, we had time for about an hour and half long nap before we had to get to work.
Everyone tells us this is very abnormal, that the Polish trains are reliable and fast. Apparently not in the snow. :-p