The first overnighter

Saturday, January 26, 2013

A quick check of the train tickets showed the train departs at 14:55. Sounds simple, get to the station for 14:45, wait around and board the train... oh man if only it was that simple. Firstly we had no idea of the departure time, is that Moscow time +3 hours or local time? Sounds strange but all train times in Russia are based on Moscow time regardless of the local time zone. Either way we thought it was a safe bet to go to the station for 11:55 as if it was 14:55 this would give us a 3 hour buffer. Then the ever helpful guy at the hostel said he would check online for us. Sonya as normal not really listening heard him say 'I can't see a 14:55' and went into a blind panic... 'We've missed the train we haven't left 3 hours only 2... blah blah blah', the ranting continued and was so convincing she managed to convince Ross who started to plan another night at the hostel. The guy at the hostel offered to call the station. While he was on the phone the panic continued and at which we both couldn't even do basic maths (14-3=11) so at this point either way there was still 50 minutes to get to the train station. After a few minutes of Sonya stressing the guy from the hostel calmly came off the phone and said 'It's 14:55 at the first station 15:25 at Central station that is why it's not showing on the internet'.

Stress part 1 over.

After a few hours of chilling out we headed to the station with plenty of time to catch the train. Strangely they have platforms and 'tracks' the board stated platform 2 but on platform 2 there are 2 'tracks' that we would just call 'platforms' ... confused? We were! The train was clearly displayed to arrive on platform 2, 25 minutes before departure but 15:00 came and went, no train arrived and then it disappeared off the arrival board... Hummm what the hell is going on? 15:10 still no train, loads of people milling around and two English people that have no idea what's going on. Luckily at 15:15 the train arrived.

Stress part 2 over.

We boarded the train and it departed on time and we found our nice compartment which was a 3 berth but just us two. Shortly after departure the guard came along, said something in Polish so we duly handed over our tickets, he said something else we couldn't decipher before shutting the door and walking off with our tickets.

Errr... stress part 3...

As we write this we have gone approx. 10 minutes to another station in the suburb of Warsaw where the train has promptly stopped. It's now 16:55 1.5 hours into our journey and we have moved for 10 minutes. Still no sign of our tickets, this is going to be a long journey.

The next day.

We couldn't finish the blog yesterday as after a couple of hours into the journey we were asked by somebody in our neighbouring compartment something in Russian. No idea what he said we resorted to sign language and soon realised he wanted a lighter. Neither of us smoke but we tend to carry a lighter as it can be a great conversation starter as this proves! After returning the lighter still using sign language to thank us he disappeared next door only to return approx. half an hour later to ask the same thing. When he returned for the second time he apologised for his poor English before in very good English inviting us next door for a glass of wine. A few hours later, wine gone, bottle of Vodka gone and having been fed we retired to our compartment very merry, all because we lent him a lighter. A great evening we won't forget with some very friendly locals.

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