Monday, September 15, 2008

Warszawa, Part 1: The Night Train

Because I have a lot to say about my trip to Poland, I have decided to split it up into three different parts. This is just the first part describing my peculiar Journey this past weekend:

During my stay here in Germany, I have been given a wonderful opportunity to visit a good friend of mine, Anna, in her home country of Poland. There is a lot that I want to write about it, so because of that, I will write it in three parts, and this first part is about my exciting adventure to Warsaw from Cologne, by means of the night train.

Because it takes so long to get to Poland, especially Warsaw, which lies on the far East side of the country, I decided that I would take the night train there so that I would be able to get the most time out of my trip. I had asked my boss off of work for Friday, September 12, and I booked my train to depart on that same Thursday night.

I arrived at the train station rather early, and my train left the Cologne Hauptbahnhoff at a punctual 10:28pm. I found my way to my cabin, where four beds were made ready complete with pillows and blankets. There was a khaki jacket that had been left sitting on one of the beds, but other than that, nobody else came and I moved the jacket to the upper storage area and made myself comfortable.

After about twenty minutes from leaving the station, a Deutsche Bahn employee arrived to collect tickets. What was really strange, and had me a bit scared was that he took both my ticket for Poland, and my Eurail pass that would permit me to travel within Germany. He claimed that he would keep them, and give them back to me at a later time. After telling me that I should lock my cabin door to prevent from being robbed in the night, he wished me goodnight.

I had no problem falling asleep-- it had been a long week, and I was exhausted. I slept virtually the whole night, waking up about every hour, or hour and a half, only because of normal train noises, and trying to make myself comfortable. I woke up at about 8:00am, and started to put myself together in my empty cabin. I then proceeded to the doorway, and pulled the curtains open to find a very strange man staring back at me through the window. He had very short brown hair, and was not so tall himself. He was skinny, with a pointy nose, and looked about 30 years old. I opened up the door for him, and he just walked right into my cabin, grabbed the jacket that I had stored above in the storage space, and sat down on one of the beds mumbling in what I assume was Polish. Assuming that the jacket was his, I can only guess that I had locked him out of the cabin the entire night, but luckily so.

He sat on the bed with his head in his hands continuously shaking. After a while of sitting, he tried several times to jump to the top bunk before finding the ladder. When he finally made it up to the top bunk, which I was sure he would fall out of, he didn’t lay down in the bed, but instead laid down in the storage area that hangs over the aisle outside of the cabin. After he laid there for a while, he then moved over to one of the beds where he reached for a big red knob on the wall, and proceeded to pull the emergency brake. The train came to a complete stop in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of Poland. I immediately left the cabin and pointed out who had pulled the brake to the train employees running down the aisle. The man was arrested outside, and was not allowed back on the train. Luckily, I had my cabin back to myself, but unluckily, I arrived in Warsaw about an hour later because of this man.

I later found out that the train had actually started in Amsterdam, and this man had been causing trouble all night since the train was in Amsterdam. I am glad that there are locks on the doors, otherwise I would have had one long night on the night train. With all of that said, I arrived in Warsaw in one piece, and I was greeted by my good friend Anna on the train platform. We haven’t seen each other since we met two years ago in Bremen, so it was a fantastic reunion in Eastern Europe, with a peculiar start to my journey.

I will have more about my trip posted shortly in two other installments, and hopefully with some more pictures. Comments are always welcome!


Anonymous said...

Hey Andrew,
na da erlebst du ja ordentlich was! Cool! Da die eine Seite meiner Familie aus Polen stammt waren meine Eltern gerade in Polen. Und, guess what happened? Ja, das Auto wurde gestohlen. Also passt auf deine Sachen auf, gerade im Zug zurueck! :)
Weiterhin viel Spass und fleissig weiter posten!

UNCW Swim Club said...

Andrew! That is craziness! Gosh that man sounds like a creepo polski! So glad you are safe and that he didn't rob you! I know you are having the time of your life!

Lauren Locke (i mean... you prolly know alot of laurens so I thought I would specify :) )