Countryside from Gdańsk on the way to Warszawa is beautiful like in most countries. Greenery all over and fields layered with the beauty of wild flowers and whatever crops they grow at that time of the year. Locals were busy tending their crops as we passed by on a hot sunny day. It seemed like a whole family affair with kids doing their bit as well, reminding me of my own childhood growing up in the countryside.
Eventually we arrived in Warzsawa in the evening, the capital city with about 1 709 781 population. It’s got all the frills of the big city, big co-orporates, brand retails, etc. And of course like in any other city you expect things to function smoothly and effectively, but NO. I know it’s not fair that I am generalising here, but I can’t help it. We didn’t get to spend much time to see what makes Warzsawa rock.
Anyway, when we travel we always anticipate that at least once in a while something will go wrong and we will need to change plans. Well, as soon as we got off the train we leisurely looked for the private lounge we had free access to, so as to have a breather, dinner and probably shower before our next destination. Our leisurely stroll became a frustrated one soon, as we couldn’t allocate the lounge and the station is big. Have no clue whatsoever of the language to understand what’s written on the notice boards.
Phew! we eventually saw the lounge sign pointing to the upper level, except that stairs leading to this level are blocked with corrugated zinc and there is construction going on, and no lift either. We go out of the station building to see if there is another entrance, and of course there is the lounge CLOSED. How can that be, they close at 20h00 it’s written on the door. So what is this then? Well, no-one to answer that question now. I really wish they had pointed that out on the travel brochure we had or that we, ourselves have found out more information about it.
What to do? Oh well! let’s go eat some where in town and we can figure out the next move afterwards. One can think better when the stomach is full:-). What about the luggages, as we can’t find those lockers that you pay and lock the luggage in. Well, bring them along, what other option is there? As luck would have it, we only see upmarket restaurants and cigar bars around. We all know that looks matter, it doesn’t matter how much money you have in your wallet. So, with our outfits (shorts & hiking boots) and luggages we don’t even try. We kept looking till we came across an Italian one which took us with pleasure. Had our delicious meal, paid an even a bigger tip and left with lots of gratitude.
Then back to the station now trying to figure out the next move. We didn’t want to spend money on a hotel in Warszawa, so the plan is to take the next train to Katowice rather sleep on a moving train. Problem! the desired train is not on the travel notice board, though on our printed schedule it is there with the times of departure and arrival. Convinced now that we are looking in the wrong place, we decide to join the sales ticket counter queue (it is not short, but we are patient people:-), just to ask about this train as the information desk is closed. Ja! sure thing, the clerk tells us the train leaves in 5 mins from platform 3. I tell you, if I didn’t have a glass of wine earlier on with dinner to help me relax, this is a point I would have just lost it. Because we literally ran to the said platform and there was nothing resembling a train there or in any other nearby platforms for that matter.
We go back again to the notice boards to try and understand this, then a friendly and familiar voice asked as we were concentrating on the boards, “Are you OK, can I help at all?” Of course, we are NOT OK we want to get out of this city. It was actually our waiter from the restaurant earlier on who was offering help, now on his way home. We explained our predicament, and he quickly checked the notice board, no nothing here. But in a flash he was at the sales counter, ignoring the queue and asked one of the clerks. Came back, “ the train leaves in an 1hr and 50 minutes from platform 3”. We couldn’t thank him enough, and again another friendly local going out of his way to help us and I’m sure he would have done the same even if we didn’t tip earlier on. People are just so helpful and friendly in this country.
We have seen people sitting or sleeping on the floors or benches at the platforms and just about anywhere waiting for trains earlier on. You know what I’m talking about, you’ve seen those even in the movies, perhaps. Don’t they just look scruffy, they could be probably homeless, irresponsible and/or probably drunk? We didn’t know or even thought we will end up doing the same. Sitting and sleeping on the benches waiting for the train in the middle of the night. Honestly, there is a very thin line between sitting and sleeping at the train station. But I choose to say I sat waiting whilst, hubby on the other hand slept at the train station. Another reminder that one should refrain from judging people because you do not know their story.