March 2, 2005
This weekend, I went on my first traveling adventure in Poland. My friend, Mary Anne and I went to Poznan by train. Our way to the city was very uneventful considering the fact that everyone was silent as the dead throughout the three hours. Our hotel was beautiful and the receptionist spoke more English than anyone that I have met in Warsaw. The hotel was so quiet because people mostly just go for business. This means that its cheaper to go to stay at the hotel over the weekend as opposed to during the week. It was late and all of the museums were closed at this point so we went to look at the monuments. Unfortunately by this time, it was snowing so hard we could not see in front of us. As a result, trying to navigate in a foreign town with only the free map given to us from the hotel was definitely a challenge. After getting into Old Town, I took pictures of the monuments through the snow. The results actually turned out fairly well for the most part. The whole town looked like it was in the middle of a giant snow globe. We gave up fairly early in hope that the snow would not continue throughout the night.
We really did not want to leave the hotel the next day because the beds were so nice when compared to our plywood dorm beds and everything was so quiet. We made it to breakfast which was another adventure. This was definitely a polish breakfast I was told. I finally ended up eating bread and cereal for breakfast. I passed on the strange cheese and salami. I tried the sausage which I thought tasted like water and yogurt which also was not to my liking. Our second day was more eventful. We went to two museums. The first one was a lot smaller and we really did not spend too much time in it. This was mainly due to the fact that we could not read any of the descriptions to the items. The items looked interesting however and we were able to understand the photos taken of the building when it was destroyed by the Nazis and the rebuilding. From this building at noon, two goats come out of the clock tower and butt heads twelve times. Apparently this is a major event in the city at least for tourists. There are stands everywhere selling these small goats and there was a crowd of people in front of the tower to see the goats. After the goat spectacular we went to the museum of musical instruments. I play five instruments so the museum was interesting to both Mary Anne who had wanted to go in the first place and I. They had beautifully decorated pianos and violins. We spent more time in this museum than in the other one.
We then decided to go and see the island mostly because we wanted to know what they could possibly call an island in the middle of Poland. In case you are wondering, I guess by definition in would be an island,but its in the middle of a river which is not immensely wide. There is a famous church on the island that has been destroyed by fire five or six times, a hurricane and the bell tower collapse. Needless to say like every other old structure in Poland, it has been through a lot.
After viewing more monuments, it was time to go to the train station. This caused more problems than it had previously. We realized at this time that we did not know the word for departure which proved to be a problem when trying to determine the correct platform. We did not want to get out our dictionary in the middle of the station because some strange guy kept on coming up to us. We finally decided that we would go ask the nice tourism lady. She spoke English very well as opposed to the ticket people who can only speak polish. Our bright idea back-fired as she told us the word for arrivals. We could not find our train on any of the lists and time was running out. We had gotten there so early and now we just wanted to go the platform before we missed the train. It was just a stop on the line, so the train could have been early. The train stops long enough to load the people that are there and leave. We finally found someone in the station that could help us and we successfully boarded the train. Unfortunately we found another problem. The ticket person had made a mistake. The tickets were correct, but the seat assignments were for another day.
In Poland, they have seat assignments for everything including the movie theatre. The people who were sitting where we thought that we were supposed to be sitting told us what happened and that this was a common mistake that the tellers make. We found two seats nearby and the ticket person was distracted by another passenger when she was marking our tickets and never noticed the mistake. We arrived back to our dorms exhausted. The city was definitely worth the problems.
Hopefully the train ride will be less eventful this weekend when I go to Berlin.