Arrival Day

19 Aug

The train compartment was similar to the one in Italy, except four seats faced each other. Fortunately there were only five of us, so I had some leg room. Had a mixed four hours of sleep, with me waking up and paranoidally checked my watch every now and then. If I didn’t change trains I’d end up in Krakow! But it all turned out OK and the swap went fine – again, the trains in Poland are spot on. Although I did get the jew-waiting-for-a-train vibe…

Didn’t sleep for the last 90 minute leg of the trip. Filling in on all the Polish countryside I could get. Warsaw looked exactly as I’d left it, right down to the part where shops don’t open til 10am. I bummed around, finding a cheap coffee shop and noticing for the first time a walkway of cinema stars, with Warsaw paying tribute to such luminaries as Alfred Hitchcock, Marilyn Monroe and Kirk Douglas (?). After my breakfast bacon roll, two jam donuts and a bus ticket, I had exactly 4zl and 3 cents to my name. At the airport I decided on my souvenir (well, the price did moreso) of a Polski bottle opener. Down to 28 cents. I had my bag deftly rummaged through at security and I repacked it with a nasty glare on my face. Spruced up on Calvin Klein and back on the plane to Eindhoven, where I conked out for most of the journey.

So I’d ‘done’ Poland! It’s the first time I’ve confidentally felt no interest/desire/need to revisit. I’d done everything it has to offer, and I’d probably seen more than the average tourist or backpacker. Going with friends and partying would be different, I guess, but only in Krakow. Would I recommend it? Auschwitz is a must. Warsaw and Krakow are nice enough, as is the smaller towns. But as for the world famous landmark destinations, Poland is lacking. So there is my advice. I’d done Poland by spending all of 350 euro, with about 75 euros on clothes and headphones. I’d lost a towel, ripped a pair of shorts. Had 50 euro stolen, later recovered. I’d worn 3 sets of underwear, 3 t-shirts, 2 shorts, 1 pants, 3 pairs of socks. I’d bought 1 t-shirt, 1 shirt, 1 shorts, 1 jacket, 1 diary, 1 headphones and picked up a hand towel. In exchange for Deja Dead I’ve picked up Suttree, the Reader, Wuthering Heights. A half dozen beer coasters, a bottle opener and a small flask of ‘Absolwent’ vodka. All this, and now in the Netherlands I’ve already spent near a days budget on transport! 3 euros on a bus, 15 on a train. Converting back is going to be painful.

Back in Holland and I’m writing in a small station unworthy of a name (Njimen-Lent). This is because I’d been in a rush and gotten off at the wrong godamn station. It looks similar to Arnhem Zuid and the interior signs said Arnhem Zuid (turns out that means its the final destination). Half hour wait!

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