The train ladies are mean as hell in Warsaw
07.07.2009 - 10.07.2009
We had to take a bus from Riiga to Warsaw becuase there are no direct trains from Riiga. Apparently the rail system is limited in Latvia. While waiting at the bus station, we met Francesco and Monica. They were with us during the tour in Tibet. Small world, huh. They were heading to Warsaw as well!
The ride to Warsaw was uncomfortable but what 8 hour bus ride is...... I am not a fan of busses but planes are getting to be as uncomfortable, never mind the cost and they have an even bigger carbon footprint.
Once we got to Warsaw we had to figure out how to get to the train station by city bus. We got that worked out fairly easily. The guys in the quickmart (my name for the shop) helped us out and sold us the bus ticket. This was all on the up and up but to be perfectly (dis)honest we could have ridden the bus without the ticket 'cuz nobody checks or asks for the ticket. We actually did this in Estonia but not intentionally, at least at first.
Back in Poland, we made it to the train station and headed to the ticket window. This is where it got ugly. We got up to the window and ask for a ticket to Krakow. The ticket lady said something in Polish and I politely said, " Sorry but I do not speak Polish". At this point she spoke more polish, wrote a time on a peice of paper and shoved it towards me. I smiled and asked if she could find someone who spoke English. At this point she became obviously irritated and left her booth walked into the back offices. Both Anthony and I thought she was getting someone to help but that was not the case. After a few minutes, she peeked around the corner and saw that we were still standing there. A few minutes pass and then she and another woman come to the back of the booth and begin to shout at us to leave. Needless to say, we walked away shocked and dismayed.
We then tried the information booth. These people do not speak English either. Fortunately, the Saint of Warsaw was channeling herself through this lovely Polish woman who spoke English. She took us to the ticket booth and helped us get the tickets.
Lesson learned, go to tourist friendly cities when traveling in Poland or speak Polish or arrange everything through a tourist agency. Not really because the Saint of Warsaw will show-up when needed....maybe.
Krakow was great and the city is very tourist friendly. There are lots to do and prices are reasonable. We stayed in the Gardenhouse Hostel for $18/night/person. It was very clean and had a quiet, laidback atmosphere. The other big plus was that it was right off the old town square.
On the square there were lots of arty-farty things going on, such as, mock statues, muscians, puppeteers (sp?) and dancing. Let us not forget, lots-o-really old buildings.
Hope all are well.