Trip Start Oct 30, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Poland  ,
Wednesday, July 5, 2006

From Krakow, we caught a taxi to the train station this time - avoiding the long walk with our packs (and extra souvenirs since Germany). This time, we had to wait for the train (an interesting change!). When it arrived, we had a nice carriage with some friendly locals and it helped pass the time.

We arrived in Warsaw and after leaving the train station, it really struck us how big a city we were in. Our accommodation was not too far from the station so we decided to walk it... although it didn't look too far on the map, in a big city it is still a decent walk!

Finding the street, we struggled to find the hostel. After failing to locate any obvious signs saying "Hostel", we located the street number and still didn't see any sign of a hostel! Almost ready to give up, we found the intercom for the apartment building and there was a tiny sign on one of the buttons saying hostel. This place sure wasn't big on street advertising!

After settling in, we decided it was a good time to offload our souvenirs and post them home. We went to an ATM to cash up first, and we had a nightmare unfold before our eyes. While withdrawing, everything was normal and just before the cash was about to spit out, up came the words "HARDWARE ERROR"! ARRRGGGHHHH! Our card was ejected, but no money or receipt. We did not know whether the withdrawal had been processed or not, and it wasn't a small amount, so we couldn't just shrug it off. Glenn went into the bank to try to find out what we could do. Of course, there was a queue, but after waiting a while, he managed to jump in front of a few people to ask... "Do you speak English?" ... No!

Glenn tried to describe the problem in mime like fashion, and when this was getting nowhere, in desperation, he turned around and asked the customers queuing - can anyone speak English? A lady replied "Yes" and Glenn released a sigh of relief. This lady was amazingly helpful and translated for Glenn as best as she could. Of course there was nothing that the bank could do - they weren't about to hand over cash without proof, and how could we prove it! They said that we would have to deal with our bank (if the withdrawal was processed), so we got the details of the bank and left, frazzled!

We still needed cash, so found another bank and this time was successful, so off we went to the post office to post our souvenirs home. After this we spent the afternoon wandering around the old town of Warsaw. It was quite a picturesque old town, nicely contrasting from the expanse of the rest of the city.

The next morning Glenn had hoped to go to "Fotoplastikon". Supposedly the last display of its kind in Europe - it gives an idea of 20th century Warsaw via a selection of 3D images. During both wars it was fully operational, acting as contact point for the Polish underground during Nazi occupation. Of course, the day we decided to go it was closed!

So with a disappointed Glenn in tow, we went back to the main square of the old town and saw some more of the sights. We also climbed up the tower of St Anne's Church for a wonderful view of the old town. It was quite a long walk up but the view was amazing.

After this it was back to the hostel for some much needed rest for tomorrow´s adventure of getting to Estonia, via Finland!
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