Day Two - Poland
It's quite hard to write about how I feel about this trip.At the moment we are crossing Poland in rain. Hardly the best to keep your spirits up. My stomach feels all of a churn I don't know whether it's because I'm homesick, missing the girlfriend or anxious about this trip. I certainly felt bad in Berlin, where we left earlier today on the 15:16 from Berlin-Zoogarten to Moscow. I really did have the butterflies. However, having phoned karen, I did feel better, and as we settled into our cabin, a bit small and cramped, we were off, leaving the familarity of Berlin behind us. And now we were now watching the Polish countryside swish past. Poland looks like it has benefitted from it's membership of the EU as all of it;s stations have been refurbished and the track is nice and smooth
This countryside is largely flat with many trees and forests. Thats all you can see; occasionally, the scenary is punctuated by the occasional town or village. Is it going to be like this all the way to Moscow we wonder?I think back to our start some 36 hours earlier. Having said our farewells to the family the previous evening, and explaining the trip to the neice and nephew, I was awoken at 7:50 am by a call off my Dad wishing us good luck. Karen drove me to Wolverhampton Station where we met Cousin Pete. We wished each other a tearful farewell, our forthcoming holiday in Kent the thing that would keep us together - a dreamy architypal English cottage with sunshine, wine and good food, lazy days spent wandering the countryside in search of some elusive nirvana - a far cry from our cramped cabin , our home for the next 21 hours.
Time zones are going to be a problem on this trip. I don't normally wear a watch so it's up to Pete to sort out the timetable and where we are. This train is running on German time but it's a couiple of timezones until we reach Moscow.Looking back to our trip so far, we had taken three cramped trains, a plane and one bus to get us here.It had taken us 12 hours to do the 1065 kilometers to Berlin; not bad. The only problem was travelling cattle class on the Virgin train down to Reading. The train was packed. Virgin don't seem to have got the point about putting on more carriages.
The hotel in Berlin was on the Kurfurstendamn and was comfortable and filled with the legendary German efficiency. We did get a good look around the Kurfurstendamn and drank some beers with the fans of VB Stuttgart, who had just won the German Cup Final at the nearby Olympic Stadium. Although the beer is reasonably strong, I didn't sleep that well, missing my girlfriend, parents and family already.
It's different though travelling with another member of the family. Cousin Pete is by far the most travelled member of the family, having been most places by train, even Peru!. To hear him wax lyrically about some of his adventures leaves me in amazement, considering he has largely done this by himself, having no spouse and no siblings to go with him. I'm the only one to do this, and I feel honoured to do so, in spite of feeling incredibly homesick.
Anyway, we are about have our first Russian tea, as we are on a Russian train. After this, we're going to have our first sleep on a train and we'll wake up in Belorussia.