My First Stag Night... (and other random Polish adventures...!)
Warsaw Travel Blog› entry 36 of 45 › view all entries
Ugh. The bus ride. Worst one yet!!!
Having had no sleep and having spent enough nights and days on long haul buses, I knew that it was not going to be a pleasant ride, I mean, who really wants to spend 12 hours cooped up like a bird in a cage? But, I didn’t anticipate exactly how bad it was going to be, did I?
Got on the rickety old bus after stowing my luggage away, all the time doubting if I was going to make it there, let alone my backpack! But, no other options, so climbed on and honestly, I must had been sitting for about 2 minutes before I fell asleep. The people and the bus were so noisy though, that I wasn’t sleeping for long when I jolted awake again. Gonna be a long day.
So, I quickly established that I was the only English speaker on the bus, which is kind of understandable since it was a bus from Prague to Minsk via Poland… But it makes for a really long boring bus ride if there’s not a single person to chat to. I hadn’t eaten a thing before I left, (my own fault for getting home so late!) but assumed that we would stop somewhere along the way like you always do on long bus rides. Nope. The only places we stopped were bus stops, so by dinner time I was starving, and by about 10pm I was finally over it and not interested in food any more. Oh well. I spent the journey writing in my journal, flipping through my guidebook, staring blankly at the back of the seat in front of me and trying not to get excited about the piles of snow outside. I have a really good book that I could have read, but guess where I left it??? Yep, stowed away in my pack. Idiot.
The bus was supposed to arrive at 11:10pm in Warsaw, but because there was so much snow we were really delayed. And because everyone only speaks Russian I have no idea how long we’re delayed. I was tiiired… Struggling to keep my eyes open but at the same time couldn’t fall asleep again. Ugh. By about 10:30 I was ready for sleep but was too scared to fall asleep cos I figured I might wake up in Minsk if I did… Which wouldn’t be a bad thing except that I don’t have a visa for Belarus so would probably wake up to being tossed off the bus at the border into a pile of snow. Or possible into the back of the border police car instead. Either way, not very appealing. So the later it got the more I struggled to stay awake. At every stop I tried to ask the driver if we were in Warsaw, and at every stop he had no idea what I was saying. I couldn’t even get my point across by pointing to Warsaw on the map… So, not realising how much we had been delayed by the snow, when we arrived somewhere at 11:20 I figured that was my stop, and got off the bus. I looked at all of the Polish signs around me and none looked like it even remotely said Warsaw, so I panicked and got back on the bus. But there was nobody I could ask where I was, believe me, I tried everyone! If you can picture me, sitting on a bus as it edges towards midnight, I have no clue where I am, whether I have missed my stop or we’ve been drastically delayed, and no idea really where I’m going to end up, and where I’m going to sleep if I don’t find Warsaw… Aaaaaaargh! It’s all fun and games until you freeze to death in the snow!!!
So, the next 2 hours seemed to be the longest of my life. I mean, what do you do? Get off the bus in a random small town or stay on and hope for the best… I figured that the smart thing to do would be stay on the bus and if there was a city I recognised the name of then at least I would know where in the world I was… True? Anyway, at about 2am, we pulled into a bus shelter, I saw the word Warsaw (well, the Polish spelling of it, so jumped off, grabbed my bags, and prayed I was in the right spot. Woohoo, somehow I actually was… I had no idea, but the bus had actually been delayed 2 and a half hours or so. And the guy probably announced it, but then we go back to the small fact that I don’t speak Russian. So yeah, made it at last, found a ridiculously overpriced cab to take me to the town centre so I could find my hostel (another mission that I won’t bore you too much with, but basically I got there in the end at about 2:30am…) What a saga… The joys of travelling alone!!!
So, first day in Warsaw i got about 2 hours sleep (remember, this is after pulling an all nighter the night before…) but jumped out of bed really early cos I was excited to see the town. There’s so much to do and see, I wanted to get stuck into it straight away, especially since it was unusually warm. Saw heaps of stuff, monuments, famous buildings, Churches… I was trying to find a particular museum when I got ridiculously lost (I was way off the map by this stage of the day) but somehow accidentally ended up in the old town which I had planned on seeing the next day. So, did the old town, and was absolutely shocked at the amount of people queuing up for the Churches (being Easter time in a very religious country…) There were literally thousands of people queuing, they must’ve been waiting for hours…! So I only got to see the inside of one Church or I would have spent my entire day standing in queues. But I did get to see heaps of stuff and figured that I have seen so many Churches around the world that I can afford to skip them in one town!!!
When I was walking around the new town, I crossed the road to turn into a side street, and next thing you know there were 2 police officers running down the street towards me shouting… I had no idea what was going on, but didn’t think for a minute that they were chasing me… Until they caught me. They were giving me some sort of lecture in Polish about something… I’m pretty sure that it was for jaywalking, but it wasn’t even a busy street… There were no cars and there was no crossing in sight. But for, like, 10 minutes or so they kept trying to tell me whatever they were trying to tell me, they had their notepads out and everything, and I kept saying “I don’t speak Polish”. Fortunately for me, neither of them spoke a word of English, and eventually they got sick of beating their heads against the wall trying to tell me off, and they left waving their hands in the air in frustration… Every now and then it’s good to be an ignorant English speaking tourist!!!
Had a very quiet night, there were heaps of people at my hostel drinking and having fun, they kept trying to drag me into it but I was so exhausted that I kind of kept to myself, had a few beers and chatted to a few people but had a placid night for once. Although I still didn’t get to bed til about 4am. The hostel I was staying in was closing for Easter, so they thought it would be wise to close from 7:30 in the morning… WTF??? I mean, checkout is supposed to be at 12, and I would understand if they wanted us to check out at 10 or 11 instead… But 7:30am??? It’s just cruel. So again, I got only a couple of hours sleep before I had to drag myself out of bed and pack my things before heading to another hostel. If I had of known ahead of time then I would have stayed somewhere else but by the time they told me it was too late to find somewhere for that night, everywhere was booked out. So I found another hostel around the corner and dumped my bags there at 7:30, sat and had a few coffees to wake myself up and planned out my day.
There were still heaps of museums and stuff that I wanted to see and I had booked my ticket out of there for the next day, so I marked out everything on my map before someone pointed out that it was Easter Sunday and so everything would be closed. Damn. And when they say everything, they mean EVERYTHING. The only thing open were a few bars and restaurants around the old town. No stores, no museums, nothing. Ugh. So, I got talking to a French guy at the hostel who hadn’t seen old town, figured I’d go there with him for another look around. Next thing you know we got talking to a bunch of British guys there for a bucks weekend, they were also headed to old town to have a few beers in the afternoon before going out to celebrate with the Stag. So anyway, next thing you know Roman (the French guy) and I are joining them for beer and lunch, and then I still don’t really know how it happened but all of a sudden it’s night-time and I’m out partying on a stag night… Hmmm… Ok, so I know that Stag nights are for boys, but it was a lot of fun. I was craving going out dancing, but the clubs that we were trying to go to wouldn’t let us in because we’re not Polish. For real!!! We ended up getting a cab to another bar that we could actually get into but there was no dancing there L
The cab ride was hilarious… The driver didn’t really speak English, just a tiny bit but he spoke German fairly well. And as terrible as my Deutsche is, it was better than his English so I had the most random German conversation with this cabbie. It was a lot easier than when I was trying to understand it in Germany because it was not his first language so he spoke very simply and slowly. Hahaha, this was the second time I’ve had a conversation in German with a cab driver… Remember Kosovo???!
So anyway, drank the night away before finally walking home in the freezing cold, don’t really know what time it was, I still refuse to wear a watch.
When I woke up in the morning ready to leave for Krakow, I looked out the window and it was snowing… The ground and the trees were covered, it must’ve come down quite a bit during the night. So, I was back to my ridiculously excited self for a while before having to trudge through the freezing cold to the station… I love it that when it snows the snowflakes really do stay on your nose and eyelashes… Just like in the song!!!
Anyway, that was a rant and a half about the bus trip… I’m on the train right now and everything seems to be going a lot smoother.
So, provided there are no dramas along the way, no mass delays, no train wrecks, I’ll be in Krakow in a few hours!!!
Talk to you soon.