Friday, 18 February 2011
Charlie's on Holiday to Poland (3) - Pociąg!
I like the pociąg. Or in English, the train. It is just so, bouncy. Up and down the train goes on the tracks, wiggle, wibble, wobble as the Polsih countryside slowly goes past. It is cheap, and cheerful. Well, maybe cheerful is a bit much, but it is cheap!
The tickets are tricky. Sometimes you have to validate the train using a machine on board (usually on the commuter trains). Sometimes the conductor comes round and asks for the bilet and validates it for you (usually on the long distance babies). The staff are, well, state employed. There are way too many people doing very little. And unlike Indian Railways whereby the people are wonderful and really put up with shit from foreign idiots like me, the staff of the PKP are, well...safe in the jobs. A bit like TfL workers ;)
But you know what I like most about train travel. Like anywhere else in the world, you meet some fascinating people on the rails. Sometimes they are a little slow, uncomfortable and often delayed. But you know, there is a fascinating bunch of guys on the train. Often a kinky bunch, but then anyone who likes trains as much as me, well, you can figure out the rest, they must be screwy in the head. Up and down the train goes on the track. Who knows what goes on board. Romance, adventure, even...murder! Mwa-hahaha!
Plus one last thing, some beautiful architecture. Say what you want about the Communists, they did want the proletariat to travel in style!
So there you have it. A brief, snippet into the way to travel Poland. By train. Unlike many other places in Europe, it is a really cheap way to go. Not too cheerful, but full of great socialist customer service. Plus, one thing I like about these babies, a healthy disregard for that all important Health and Safety. A mix of the old life and the new lawyer influenced world we now find ourselves in, I do like rumbling about on the Polish trains.