Warsaw to Vilnius

Trip Start May 10, 2010
Trip End Sep 30, 2010

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Flag of Lithuania  ,
Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Woke up early (6am!) in Warsaw to catch train. City was already surprisingly busy when I left. Got to the station, discovered that a confusing aspect of Polish rail travel is that each platform number covers each island of platforms (ie what we might call platforms 2 and 3 in the middle of the station, the Poles just have one number for). It means that you can't just find the right platform number, wait there at the right time and get on the first train you see, which is a bit nervewrecking when you don't know what to expect. Fortunately, the name Sestokai appeared above a bit of platform just a few minutes before a train stopped infront of it. I assumed that was my train, and got on.

Train carriages had the compartment layout that seems quite common in this part of the world. Dozed for an hour or so (it was early still...) Conductor came later to check tickets, mumbled something quite forcefully at me, held up three fingers, pointed down the train, walked off. I guessed that meant I had to move three carriages down the train? Found a passenger who could speak English and Polish - turns out the train was going to split part way down the line and I was on the wrong half. Glad I asked :)

Other half of the train was very empty - seems noone was going beyond Suwalki (north east Poland). Got a compartment to myself - meant I could do somewhat embarrassing things like taking pics of Boobah by the window without anyone looking at me funnily (not much more than that though...). Weather was very nice - could pull the window right down, listen to the chud-chud of the track, watch the scenery go by...

Made it to Sestokai (pronounced Sheshtokee, as I found out after some confused faces earlier) after the confusing split (the train seemed to reverse down the track back to Warsaw for ages!). Change was necessary due to change in rail gauge from standard to Russian (wiki it) - otherwise it was essentially the same service. Track in southern Lithuania is very bumpy, region is rather sparsely populated, so train seemed limited to a mere 70-80k. Not to worry... made it (just) on time to Vilnius anyway.
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