Monday, 29 August 2011

Cologne to Warsaw

I had a cabin to myself on the sleeper train to Warsaw - toilet, sink and shower, albeit the smallest shower cubical imaginable. Some slices of bread plus cheese and jam were on the side for breakfast and the conductor asked if I'd like tea/coffee in the morning.

Cabin signs are in four languages although not English but everything was eminently guessable - Blokada drzwi - beside the - door lock - and pictograms saying it is wrong to put bottles and boxes down the toilet. An obviously new innovation was the shiny flatscreen DVD player, a good idea if you had known to bring some discs.

Woke up to a flat landscape of young birch and pine forest but interspersed with ploughed fields. No people, animals, buildings and more tracks than roads - in every sense an agricultural scene - wheat, maize, cabbage etc.

The train ignored most stations, many merely concrete slabs with a roof. I knew it was Poland because the station names had so many Rs, Ws and Zs appearing, to the English speaking eye, in improbable places.

Small towns appeared suddenly without sprawling suburbs as a warning. Surprising clusters of urban tower blocks, a few onion domed churches and Tesco; then fields and forest again.

I deduced from my observations that southern Poland was very rural but I was later told that it is very industrial and that I had travelled on a new rail line routed through an unpopulated area. So don't believe everything that travel writers say.

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