Disneyland in Poland

Trip Start May 25, 2012
Trip End Jun 06, 2012

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Flag of Poland  , Central Poland,
Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I spent the morning trying to buy train tickets to Vilnius. First, a 30-minute bus ride to Warsaw Central Station, which is gigantic, and another fifteen minutes to find what I thought was the ticket booth. It took forever to finally get to a window. For some reason nobody can conduct a transaction in anything less than 15 minutes. When I got to the window I asked about Vilnius and she said I had to see someone at the international ticket booth. 

So I stood in another line. Fortunately there was only one person in front of me and he stepped up to the window right when I got in line. That meant that about 15-20 minutes later I got to step up to the ticket window and ask about tickets from Warsaw to Vilnius. How difficult can it be? I want two tickets, one adult, one student, from Warsaw to Vilnius, leaving tomorrow morning. Literally, it took 20 minutes to conduct the transaction. She printed about 30 documents on an ancient printer so slow I can type faster than it prints.

Thank goodness I went to get the tickets today, otherwise we'd be spending another day in Warsaw and the whole itinerary would have been jacked up.

The bus on the way back to Old Town stops at a different stop on the return route and I was confused as to which direction to go. I show the driver a map and he points to the left and grunts. I start walking that way and start thinking that's wrong so ask a different driver having a smoke outside his bus. He looked at the map and pointed in the exact opposite direction. "Go statue, make left. There." Simple enough and absolutely right. If I'd listened to the other guy I'd be halfway to Gdansk by now.

We had plans on checking out a few things around town but decided we were enjoying Old Town too much to go anywhere else. I know, people will say what about the Warsaw Ghetto, etc., etc. Look, I've been to the Holocaust Museum in D.C. and it's horrifying and depressing and I don't need to bring down a great vacation. Stef, Max and I went to Omaha Beach a few years ago and it was sobering and gut-wrenching. Fortunately we visited at the end of the vacation because it was a real bummer.

I digress. We decided to hang around old town and do what seems to be the key activities on this vacation so far. Eat and play chess, and then eat some more. The food has been fantastic. Haven't had any Polish vodka yet, but that's coming.

Old Town is a pretty cool place with lots of activity going on. It looks like a real Old Town, but it's really a new town built on the site of the Old Town that was leveled during WWII. The damage to all of Warsaw was so bad they considered rebuilding the city on a completely different site. In any case, it's kind of like Disneyland. Lots of kids in tour groups, three hundred souvenir shops all selling the same junk, and overpriced food. Two big difference from Disneyland, though: the expensive food here is really good, and Disneyland doesn't have beggars. 

We're back in the room now, digesting our lunch and preparing to head out for dinner. We need to fortify ourselves for our SEVEN hour train ride to Vilnius tomorrow. And yeah, we're rolling first class again but this time I'm controlling the windows, doors, ventilation and lighting. The old Polish people in my cabin can deal with it this time around!

One other note: It's shocking how many people smoke here. It wouldn't surprise me to see a mom smoking and pushing a stroller with a small kid in it enjoying a smoke as well. However, after spending the day in Old Town, I'm now convinced they start them out on ice cream cones and work them up to cigarettes. Seriously. I don't think I saw anyone under the age of 14 without an ice cream cone today.
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mom on

is this your own chess board you carry around ? Did you anticipate having time to play ?

mom on

Max is eating ice cream also. Maybe all the other people are on holiday too !

mom on

is Max eating local food or just pizza hut ?

mom on

love the picture of boys on a bench ! Max should have been with them !

sunburntcurt on

Yes, we brought our little travel one where the pieces have pegs so they don't slide around if you're playing on a train or plane. it's small and portable, too. But we found a really nice board for around $20 that's still small enough to carry in Max's pack and is much better to play on. So far, all we do is eat and play chess. Or rather, he beats me at chess. He's unstoppable. At least by me.

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