"Everyone knows the more you wear pearls, little by little they become real....And isn't it the same with memories?" - The Madwoman of Chaillot

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The long train day(s)

So after a wonderful breakfast prepared by Richard - wonderful porridge (kind of a fancy oatmeal) for me with a fruit plate that was almost too pretty to eat. And Bill had the full British breakfast - 2 eggs, sausage, blood pudding, toast, tomatoes

We said goodbye to Richard and to Peter who was off for another day of 3M work and set off on our long journey at about 8:00 AM on Thursday.

It began with a walk to the train station where our credit cards were not accepted by the one ticket machine. Evidently it only works for those with a microchip as used in Europe. So we were told by another traveler that we could pay on the train, but could not get the non-peak lower rates. We had planned to wait for a later non-peak train but now hopped on the one that was just pulling up since we figured we'd be paying full price. The conductor came by to check new passengers tickets but waved us away when we tried to talk to him and he went on to sell tickets to a couple of others and then left the car. A couple of stops later we still had not paid so we got off in Northhampton. You need a ticket here to get out of the track area but Bill explained and went in to buy the non-peak tickets from Northhampton (a little cheaper than from Atherstone so it worked well and a train about 15 minutes later qualified as non-peak so we were set.

Two chacters who led to a bit of a story but too long to type here...Just put them in to remind myself

Arrived in London Euston station about 11:20, walked about 1/2 mile to St Pancras Station where the Eurostar is located. Then we had lunch at Pain de Quotidien
A really yummy avocado vegetarian tortine (a Belgian sandwich)

and not too long after were able to check in for the Eurostar which is like an airplane, you go through security. About 2PM we were pulling out from London bound for Paris. The Eurostar goes fast and in some long tunnels before the Chunnel which makes your ears pop.

We arrived in Paris Gare du Nord and had to walk about 2/3 of a mile to Paris Gare de l'est. Although Deutsche Bahn's European rail website would have routed us to the RER train and the metro, taking over an hour, we elected to walk the 2/3 of a mile.

Gare du Nord

So our long day continued with the almost three hour layover in Paris, a bit of a blessing to see a little of Paris again...

In the lounge in Paris - Bill kind of talked our way in here...you were supposed to belong to a club...

Our City Nightline runs from Paris Gare de l'Est to Berlin Hauptbahnhof in 12 hours. The trip can be done faster, arriving about 4AM but we decided rather than getting little sleep and arriving in Berlin hours before a train to Wroclaw, Poland that we would take the night train and have a sleeping compartment.
Unfortunately the train had some error and we did not get our nicer compartment so had to make do with a smaller one with no toilet or shower. They claim we can get a partial refund though...

For an idea of how cozy - I'm on the lower bed and that's my foot...Bill is unpacking on the floor.

Breakfast in the morning - also not the 1st class breakfast...But we didn't starve

So, the long train ride is not over yet....next is a half hour to find our train from Berlin to Wroclaw Poland - so far we have been on the move for about 25 hours...and within an hour will be on a five hour journey into Poland...

We lucked out and our train arrived on track 2 and the next one to Poland left on track 3 so we easily made it. The train is the very nice EuroCity line and we are in a compartment with two Germans going to Wroclaw for a business and social exchange. I talked with Britta who has been to Wroclaw many times and speaks Polish.

The train stopped at this station to change engines - no idea if it was scheduled that way or not...

So, upon arriving we were treated to how difficult things are at the main train station during the renovation they ate doing. It was just crazy trying to get through the crowds and down the street from the temporary station. It turns out students were returning to the University here this weekend and added to a Friday night rush hour timing, it was a challenge! But we walked, dragging our suitcases through crowds down cobblestones about 1 mile to our hotel.

So, after all this, the hotel is just gorgeous. It opened only a few months ago, a remodel of an old granary - the inside was gutted and made into lovely rooms.

After short rest, we set out to see the main square...

The town hall

In the middle of this picture is the place we ate the first night, Dvor Polski.

Meat plate starter

Pierogis - with a filling that included cheese and some walnuts, very good!

And of course Polish beer

So it's the weekend and we have two days to explore...


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