Trip Start Feb 04, 2012
23Trip End Ongoing
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It was sad saying goodbye to Prague, I really enjoyed my short time in that city but it was time for the next country in my European adventure.
After yesterdays tour I felt much more confident with my navigation of the city and opted to walk the entire distance to the train station rather than catching the metro. I was there in a flash with the only issue being the reduction in my ability to stand upright. Because of the recent snow and then the warmer weather of yesterday there were large expanses of ice across the paths which I had to either pick my way around or slide my way over. Have you ever tried walking on 2cm thick ice which extends for 2m whilst burdened with a 20kg backpack? It is a challenge to put it lightly. On the bright side watching other people attempt to walk on it can be very entertaining.
My sense of direction is bad at the best of times in a foreign country but this morning it was just atrocious. I spent half an hour wandering around a fairly small station trying to find the information counter. Eventually I stumbled upon the stupid thing while making a pass of the ground floor. I told the receptionist that I was looking for the fastest, simplest way of reaching Wroclaw and the lovely man gave me a piece of paper with all the connections and times of today's trains on it. The next train wasn't going to be leaving until 10.30am meaning that I could settle myself upstairs in a patisserie and eat a late breakfast (delayed by morning nausea).
Prague station really stressed me out. It has a departure system where the platform the trains are leaving from are displayed only 10 minutes before they leave and everything is in Czech. It was with great relief that I boarded the train to a small station just over the border of Poland.
So far on this trip I have come across two types of train layout. There have been the traditional compartmentalised trains which seem to be quite outdated most of the time and there are the slightly more modern trains which are set up more like a bus but with some tables between some of the sets of chairs. I was fortunate enough to grab one of the chairs adjacent to a table and I sat my bag in the chair next to me. Two hours of reading passed quicker than I would have liked and I found myself disembarking and on the hunt for my next train. The station we had arrived in was a pretty miserable number of blue steel and poured concrete. I went on a short search for my train, established it was on platform 4 and worked my way there. Not entirely sure if I had read the signs correctly I asked a girl around my age if this was the correct train. When I say I "asked her" what I actually mean is I ran up to her yelling excuse me and pointing at the name of my next destination on my piece of paper, god I feel like an idiot sometimes. She confirmed that I had the correct one so I struggled up the stairs, found a compartment and settled in for what turned out to be a lovely 4 hours of reading and watching beautiful snow topped hills pass by.
Thanks to the shocking signs in Poland I very nearly missed my second stop. At the very last minute I had a feeling that I should be getting off the train so I poked my head out the door and just managed to make out what looked like the name of my station in tiny blurry letters on a building. Never before has someone got their jacket, scarf, gloves and pack on so quickly. The final train of the trip was a bit different, it was really more of an old fashioned tram than a train with 3 cartridges and pipe heating. We trundled along another 2 hours before finally reaching Wroclaw station. The taxis here are meant to be quite bad for over charging and being a bit of a fool I'd forgotten to write down the names of the reputable companies. I chose a black taxi which looked the most official. Fortunately the driver spoke fluent English as my Polish is just appalling, unfortunately my driver had a taste for atrocious European dance music which he pumped out of the stereo while driving at 120km/h down the tram lines. Hmmm.
The hostel I am staying at is pretty nice, not as good as Berlin but better than Prague. I am planing on having a rest day tomorrow so I apologise in advance for what is sure to be a rather dull entry.