Trip Start Oct 22, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Poland  ,
Tuesday, August 22, 2006

With the excitement of Budapest behind us we caught the local bus and headed to the train station. We'd heard Bratislava in Slovakia was a lovely city so we decided to make that our next stop. Leaving our bags at the station with the grumpy luggage place guy we walked into town.

Bratislava is a lovely town, though it is definitely setup for day tourists. The squares have their market stalls selling all kinds of crafts and tourist knick-knacks (meaning rubbishy plastic souvenirs). The first thing we stumbled across was the Primate's Palace. Inside was the Hall of Mirrors where Napoleon and Austrian Emperor Franz I signed the 1805 Peace of Pressburg. We're not sure what that was all about as we couldn't afford the entrance price. Just up the road was the famous Danube River with river boats cruising passed. They built a New Bridge over the river, but from the looks of it the viewing platform was in need of some repairs. Around the corner was the lovely Bratislava Castle. We decided to sit down in the rose garden and soak up the atmosphere as basically we were pretty tired.

Looking around we noticed a young couple embraced in passionate kissing. Thirty minutes later they were still at it and hadn't even come up for air. This is something we've noticed in Eastern Europe; these guys are serious French kissers. We don't mind the odd pash ourselves, but these young couples are machines. They get into a position, get the lips together and "we have contact" they are off. Nothing will pry these guys apart. They're everywhere - train stations, parks, buses, riding bikes, you name it.

After our voyeuristic episode we raced for the train, flicked the grumpy luggage guy a couple of Euros and headed onwards to Krakow in Poland. As the train was getting pretty full we did a bit of a dodge and grabbed a six seat compartment to ourselves. We put our backpacks near the glass windows, closed the door, pulled the curtains and turned off the lights. As the train had come from elsewhere it looked like the cabins was full with people sleeping. Our rouse worked and we managed to get some sleep, each lying down on the seats. We only got woken up by the ticket inspector and the custom's guy around 2AM, wanting to stamp our passports. About one hour out of Katowice we decided to let some people in and started chatting to a guy on his way to work. He told us how to get down to Krakow and which train we'd need to catch. Nice guy.

Finally in Krakow we did the usual hike of finding somewhere to stay for the night. We were able to get a couple of beds in a dorm but couldn't check-in until later in the day. Exhausted from the overnight train we freshened up and wandered into town. At the huge main marketplace, Rynek Glowny, we climbed to the top of the tallest spire of St. Mary's Church called Wieza Mariacka. The view was magnificent and was got to talk to the trumpet player at the top. Every hour he belts out a tune across the square that suddenly stops in remembrance of the trumpeter that got an arrow in the neck trying to warn the city of the impending Tatar invasion in 1241. Rynek Glowny is definitely the biggest town square we've seen in Europe. It was huge. We also walked across town to Wawel Castle, but decided not to go in as we'd been a bit "castled-out" on this trip so far. Back to the hostel in the late afternoon to finally crash.

Status of Rick's hair: Sorted son.
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