Vilnius or Bust

Warsaw Travel Blog

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In the words of my friendly polish hero Jozef "It's a tragedy when you don't share a language." It's also extremely inconvenient when trying to catch a bus.

I left Krakow for Vilnius, Lithuania (via Warsaw) at 7pm. I said my quick goodbyes at the hostel and ran out the door, hoping my little legs could fend off shin splints long enough to get me to the train station on time. I arrived with minutes to spare, and covered in sweat (Yes, I realize that's gross, but you try running through 90 degree weather with a 40-pound pack strapped to your back and see how shower-fresh you come out.) only to find out that my train to Warsaw was delayed 100 minutes. This posed a large problem, considering my awaiting bus to Vilnius only had an hour to spare. I was able to hop on the next Krakow-Warsaw train which departed an hour later, giving me a whopping 10 minutes to find my bus in the notoriously confusing central train station, in a notoriously non-english speaking town. I couldn't wait.

I was pleasantly surprised by the news (translated by a fellow passenger) that the bus would be informed of my short connection and would be waiting for me at the station. Now I just had to figure out where that could be.

This is how I found yet another polish hero, Marios. (I'm gonna go ahead and make up the spelling for his name, since I'm fairly certain my 6 days in Poland hasn't yet given me a full grasp of the language.) Marios, bless his heart, ran with me through the entire station, asking any available taxi driver or policeman (who, in my opinion, along with the rest of the service workers, get a little pleasure out of NOT being able to help me) along the way. One full 360 later, we found the glorious awaiting bus and (oh joy!) it's pissed off drivers. I completely understand their frustration though, because it was, after all, my decision to delay the trains and completely deprive the Warsaw train station of any informative signage or employees. Go ahead, be mad at me. I get it.

I stepped onto the full bus and could instantly feel the glares from the other passengers burning into my skull: Here's the reason we've been sitting here for 25 minutes! Burn her at the stake!

In case there was any doubt that they perhaps could have just been waiting to refuel or make some minor mechanical adjustment, the bus pulled out 20 seconds after they shooed me on. For once, I selfishly didn't care if others thought ill of me...I'm just happy I made it.

Nine short hours later, we arrived in Vilnius. The first 1/3 of my trip was spent begging the question "why in the hell can't I figure out how to recline this seat?" and praying the bobbing head of my dozing neighbor didn't end up in my lap. The rest was pleading with the gods of public transportation sleep that I could somehow contort my body and mind into a state of believing I was comfortable and actually get some decent sleep. The gods, as it turns out, were not on my side. It's going to be a long day.

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photo by: EmyG