Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Day 1: Kaunas - Warsaw - Krakow

Oh what a night! At midnight I took the bus from Kaunas to Warsaw. I once again realized that I'm either too tall or that bus seats just don't offer enough leg space. The guy behind me seemed to be kickboxing around on the back of my chair and the guy in front of me leaned his chair backwards so comfortably (for him) that I ended up involuntarily sniffing his receding hair line; fantastic. My roommate Yi joined till Warsaw, and after a pre-06.00 o'clock visit to McDonalds our ways separated. I visited Warsaw during Easter 2011, but it certainly didn't become my favorite city. When walking around there once again this morning the same uncomfortable feeling struck again. Some drunk people yelled and threw a bottle cap at me, and it happened more than once that some macho-like men, all individually, made some of these weird flirting sounds which more sound like a command for a dog to come back to its owner. Brr, I don't like that. Luckily there were a lot of police men on the road, even that early, so I did feel safe in the end. I only heard later that this was because Obama was in town! Haven't seen him though, as I soon took the metro towards the bus station from which Polski Bus departs. When traveling through Warsaw I somehow started to miss the simplicity of the province I come from: Drenthe, even though I of course know that the uncertainty of a new place is the essence of an exciting travel. Back home almost nothing comes unexpected there and I can rely on the overall mentality of the people there. When waiting for the bus for over an hour I noticed that this is a natural feeling for me, being at a rather unknown but busy place. As soon as I started to observe the people around me everything felt allright again. I could now view the  pre-work-rush from a side line, noticing how much alike we humans actually are (and how dirty, unfortunately). 

The bus ride to Krakow took around five hours. It felt like a five hour rollercoaster ride. During this trip I noticed a couple of things. First of all, commercials. Advertisements everywhere! Especially concerning building (tools and building materials) and cars. Every second house we passed by was accompanied by a garage, with spare car parts or carcasses laying around in the gardens. Also esthetics differ, in building (kitsch fences), advertising (painful fonts and Wordart) and, surprisingly, even the flowers seems less appealing. Whereas I'm used to bright, blue/purple Finnish lupinus, the ones I saw on my way to Krakow were yellowish/white, as if they had been standing in a smokers' room. It's not my intention to be so negative, because actually till now I really enjoy my stay here! The first moments in Krakow gave already a way better impression than Warsaw. There is so much history to be found within this city, so many people cycle around and the overall atmosphere is very arty and creative. Because of my lack of sleep I didn't manage to do that much today yet, but there are some more days to come. I found a great thick book with all kind of interesting facts and historical stories about Krakow (in German, but for less than 3 euro's, happy greedy Dutchman!), so that'll certainly help me to dig a little deeper into the soul of this on first hand very relaxed looking city.

Time for a well deserved sleep now. I'm in a hostel nicely close to the city centre. Surprisingly there are a lot of Chinese people here, I seem to be the only Western European. There is also one guy from India, and when he asked me about my nationality I let him guess, and he was right! That's something else than being proclaimed a German, Swede or Finn. 

A few pictures from today... The first one was taken in Warsaw (not far away from Obama, ha!) before 06.00, just after the bus ride from Kaunas. The other pictures I took this afternoon in Krakow.

Later more, as taking it slow and enjoying this trip is more important than sitting in front of my laptop once again :).

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