early morning train ride for us; so another taxi ride to the station. My friend
from Lviv is also catching a train this morning so he was going to meet up with
us to help us get our tickets and make sure we are set up alright. We did not
see him so we walked up to the ticket office and made the attempt to purchase
our tickets. After finding out how much they cost it was off to the ATM. Being
it very early in the morning Colin forgot to take his card out of the machine
so it sucked it back in. I pulled out some money and got us the tickets to Poland.
Turns out we are in a sleeping car on the train, even though we are on this
train for just a few hours we were still given sheets and blankets. Looking
around I noticed only a few others in the train car. Colin and I both looked at
each other and thought this would be hell on rails sleeping in here, they
really could pack them in if they so wanted to.
The ride to
the border was uneventful but once at the border the fun began. First the big
burley guards in full tactical gear walked up and down the train checking
everyone out, then came in the guards with the dogs, then came in the passport
control guards. Two ladies from Ghana
were on the train and there was some problem with their passports or visas.
They spoke very good English but none of the Ukrainian guards spoke that good
of English; the ladies were pulled off the train. They were eventually let back
on the train, but the delay would cause us to miss our connecting train over
the border to Krakow. Colin finally got a Ukrainian
stamp in his passport.
the border we had to take our bags and once again go through customs and put
the bags through an x-ray machine. The tobacco taxes and laws are very
different between Ukraine
and Poland so
there is a very large smuggling ring. No problems getting through customs; good
thing they did not see our large thing of Nutella or else they may have
confiscated it like the guys at the Bucharest
airport did with our previous jar that was unopened. The ride into Krakow
was very nice. I could not believe how green and flat Poland
we are staying just a few minute walk outside of the main square in a nice
quiet hostel. We got to the building the hostel is located in and no one was
there to let us in, so we sat outside for awhile until a person walked out the
door. We then found ourselves standing outside of the door to the hostel
waiting to be let in there. Finally a person walked out and we were now in the
hostel, but still there was no one there to check us in. We hung out in the
hostel common room reading and using the hostels computer. A few people started
walking in and out of the room; I turned to Colin and asked if he had his AARP
card handy so we could check in here. Every person here is well over 60 years
old! I was looking for a quiet hostel but I was not expecting this quiet. After
hanging out for a few hours I started snooping around the desk and found which
room we were in and found the keys to the room. I let us into the room where we
ditched our bags then headed out to see the main square and walk around the
city. As we were walking around the square I looked up and there was our friend
Angelica from Norway.
She is meeting up with us in Krakow and is planning on
traveling with us for the rest of the trip. It was quite amazing that we
happened to see one another in the main square on the first night we got there.
The four of us went out to dinner and walked around the rest of the night
catching up and chatting the night away. As we walked through the main square
there were a few people playing some drums so we headed over to see what was
going on. The drums started to get louder and soon a few people were lighting a
stick on fire and then began spinning it around and tossing it into the air.
The beat of the drum got faster as the fire starters began to twirl their fire
sticks faster and toss them higher and higher. There was now a large crowd
gathered around watching this group of drum & fire players. Soon a drunk
guy was stumbling out into the middle of all this, I was waiting to see him go
up in flames. He looked like his blood alcohol level was probably high enough
that he would have been turned into a human torch if the flames would have got
close enough to him. It was quite the show; I am usually not much for paying
street performers but this group was well worth tipping.
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