Poland...here I come!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!! I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season and I wish the best for you in 2010.
I'm currently on my holiday break with my parents, enjoying Prague and their company. As you may know, I met my parents in Krakow, Poland last week. As I'm not sure when this is going to get posted, I'll just start my holiday festivities from there.....
First, getting to Cracow (its' actual spelling). I took the train from Praha to Cracow on Wednesday; my parents were flying in on the same day. I had looked up the timetable on the interwebs and told my parents I would be getting in at 9:30pm. They told the person who was to pick me up at the train station that I would get in at 9:30pm. But when I went to buy my ticket on Tuesday, the times were all wrong (remember this little theme for later on in the trip.....) and I would actually be getting in at about 5:30pm. Oh, well! I'll just call the pick-up person and tell him I'm getting in earlier. No big deal!!
Wednesday dawns and I realize my bag is too big to take on the metro during rush hour. So, I take a cab to the train station. Which isn't a big deal, but I needed to get on the internet to get the number of the hotel where we would be staying. No problem, I thought, somewhere will have wi-fi or internet. It's 2009, for frik's sake!! Alas, none to be found. Hmm......I'd figure something out. I got on the train and settled in for the 7.5 hour trip. Just when we were getting going and I was nice and relaxed, the ticket guy comes around and asks me where I'm going. "Krakow" " No, no!!! You must go to other car! Go! Now!" "Um, OK!" *laughter from the rest of the car as I struggle to hurry to the next car* It seems I was on the wrong car, not because of my ticket or anything (no one reserves seats) but because the car I was in was going to be disconnected from the train before we got to the transfer point!!! So, having finally settled into my berth, I enjoyed the rest of this leg of the trip.
I knew I would have to transfer trains in Katowice, Poland. But as I looked at the timetable in the car, it seems that the train from Praha gets in at 2:55 and the train leaving Katowice for Cracow leaves at 2:50....hm, that's a problem, no?! And, of course, it was. I missed the connection! But luckily, you can take any train you want as long as you have the ticket for Cracow. I hopped on a train that left 45 minutes later. Oh and here's a tip- the train station in Katowice is kinda crap!!! On the train, I slept a bit but was too stressed to really relax. It was now snowing outside and bitterly cold....it looked so pretty from the train. Finally, I arrived in Cracow. Now, it was about 5:30pm and no one was there to pick me up. Lucky for me there is a huge mall attached to the train station, so I hung out there for 3.5 hours. Now as for that pick-up to the apartment.......
Well, when I was on the train, I realized that I HAD to get that number. So, I called my brother in the States to see if he could get into my email and give me the number. Unfortunately, after many dropped calls, call backs, long distance and roaming charges, his internet wasn't working and he couldn't get in. No biggie....I'd just wait for the original pick up time. But when I got to the station I realized there were about 8 exits....where was I going to be picked up??? Plus, by now it was almost a full on blizzard and I was stuck. I didn't have the name or number for where we were staying. So, I called my brother once again, this time he got me the number. I called the apartment place and they sent the guy to pick me up. Apparently, I was supposed to meet him on the platform...would have been nice if I had remembered this fact. Would have saved me lots of panickiness!!!
After a long days journey, I arrived at our apartment in Cracow and was very happy to see Mom & Dad after 1.5 years!!!! And I was starving, but they had already eaten. We ended up going to a little bar next door called Papparazzi and I had pizza and a martini. Then it was time to go to bed. The apartment was pretty nice, if on the old side. But when I went to bed, I heard a little scratching and chewing coming from the wall!!!! I was convinced there was a rodent in the wall....but I wasn't going to freak out so I just put on my ipod and went to sleep.
It wasn't a raccoon or rodent......it was water in the radiators!!!
Safely in Cracow, I went to bed, excited for the day ahead....we would be going with a personal guide to Auschwitz and Birkenau.
My thoughts on that are coming up next.....