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25 September 2005

with such short notice

today was a travel day and typicaly on travel days i investigate transport times and buy my tickets first thing in the morning (if i haven't already done those things days before). for some reason i wasn't in a rush to purchase my warsaw train ticket this morning. not only was i not in a rush to buy the ticket, but i hadn't even investigated hostels for tonight. the hostel i'd been staying in in krakow was the first i've encountered that had no official checkout time (i wish all hostels employed this policy). i wasn't in a rush to check out, to purchase my ticket, or to find a hostel in warsaw for tonight. in general, i wasn't rushing to leave krakow; i really liked it here.

a few weeks ago my dad had emailed me to let me know that one of the people working for him was from poland and that he would be returning to his home in warsaw a few days before i was scheduled to arrive. amazing timing. i'd emailed mieszko about a week ago and told him that my schedule wasn't very concrete; i wasn't sure how long i'd be staying in krakow and that i'd let him know when i'd be coming to warsaw. the last few days had gone by quickly and i realized today as i was packing that i hadn't told him that i'd be in warsaw this evening. i emailed him and told him i'd give him a call tomorrow morning. then i checked hostelworld.com... interesting, absolutely no dorm beds were available in warsaw. hmm, that's a first. mieszko had very kindly offerred to let me stay at his place, but i felt bad about asking with such short notice. dimi suggested asking the hostel staff to assist.

the girl working at the reception desk was amazingly cool. checked train times for me and called a hostel and made a reservation. problem solved. trains ran pretty much every hour between krakow and warsaw, so i had some time for one last krakow mission. i wanted to see oskar schindler's factory. dimi and anders were hanging around the hostel; i invited them to join me.

after a 20 minute walk, we arrived on lipowa street. looking for number 4: found. i knew from other hostelites who had visited the factory that it's possible to enter and look around. dimi, anders, and i wandered around from one building to the next; all apparently shared the 4 lipowa address. finally we came across something which looked promising; dimi thought he recognized the gate. we walked back out onto the street and saw the sign. a very nice man explained to us that we could go inside and watch a slideshow and see schindler's office and sign our names in a guestbook. the gallery tells the story best.

anders beat dimi and me back to the hostel for a certain reason. packed and out. 50 instead of 20, back up. note from lewis, back up. i made it to the train station around 1630. jeden, warszawa. two tickets, interesting. i found the correct seat and the train was rolling.

a few hours later the train arrived during the dark. when i emerged from the train station, the city that greeted me was pretty much what i was expecting: warsaw : krakow :: glasgow : edinburgh. a skyscraper industrial city, at least from this side. several people had told me (and i'd read) that warsaw had been hit very hard during world war ii. seems they've done a lot of rebuilding since then. got my bearings and found my way over to the hostel. went out for some food and then to sleep.

posted by paul on Sun 25 Sep 2005 at 00:00:00 est (-05:00)


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