(Poland) The missed Polskibus
To get to Poland this time, I took a flight with Ryanair from Zaragoza, Spain to a city in the west called Poznań, which had originally been cheap (20 euros) but thanks to the company’s baggage policy, I ended up paying 50 euros more for an extra suitcase, bastards! After a quite normal and typical Ryanair flight, not very comfortable that is, I arrived at the airport in Poznań, I got off the plane and just walked around the halls looking for a way to get to the city center, when suddenly I saw a group of four soldiers wearing black berets walking next to what looked like an anti-bomb robot, tall enough to reach me at the hip with its one-arm, camera and tread wheels, which marched down the hall, disappearing through a door with restricted access. To be the first thing I saw on this visit to Poland, I thought it was interesting. The original plan was to get to Poznań, go sightseeing during the day and take a low-cost bus called Polskibus in the afternoon to go to a city called Łódź (pronounced Woodge) to visit a friend who had invited me and which was the reason I had decided to go to Poland in the first place. According to the plan, I went for a walk, carrying my luggage, which is not recommended if you want to enjoy the tour, and with a not very good weather because of some light rain and cloudy sky at around zero degrees Celsius. The town is very pretty with its very colorful Polish style main square and several other sights to see. As the time for taking my bus approached, I began to look for ways to go to the bus station, which was not hard to find, but as I got there I came across the surprise that the Polskibus didn’t depart from that station, actually it was at a completely different place and somewhat far away. So I started to run short of time, I located the place on a map and tried to plan my route on the transportation-map only to find that there was a small problem, all the roads were under renovation with the tram schedules and routes all modified and moreover, all the signs in Polish. I ran back and forth trying to figure out what to do and decided to ask the people waiting for transport if they knew English to which almost all of them said no or they simply turned around, until one guy about my age who spoke little English tried to explain to me which tram to take by pointing at another stop. I ran to that stop just to realize that the tram passing by had nothing to do with what I was looking for. Since I had little time to get to the Polskibus, I decided to look for a taxi and ask how much it would be to take me to the station. I found one standing in the horrible traffic, I asked, it seemed reasonable and I hopped in. To my bad luck, I got on at the wrong direction of the road so we were stuck in the traffic just to try and get to the nearest U-turn. Finally, the road cleared out and already going at a reasonable speed, I could see the correct bus station approaching. The taxi stopped to prepare to enter and yield to a bus leaving the station, which was indeed, my Polskibus. I waved goodbye to it, the taxi came in and parked, I paid, I got out and threw a long "Damn it!" I saw that the box office was closed and there was nobody around so I stopped to think and decided it would be a good idea to go buy a SIM card to call my friend and tell her what happened. I found a small shop across the street, went in and said to the lady at the counter "SIM card" pointing at my phone. She chose one from the rack, gave it to me and I noticed that it came with an activation manual but only in Polish. I asked her if she spoke English, she shook her head and then called a girl about my age who spoke a bit of English to help me, I gave her my phone and she did the whole activation. I said thank you, left the store and called my friend. I told her the magical experience and she helped me look for trains, however, she could only find one that departed at about 22:00 arriving in Łódź at three in the morning (203km, yes, Polish trains are not very fast, but they are cheap) so I asked her to find me a hostel instead and send me the address so I could travel the next day. The hostel was easy to find and pretty good in quality and price (10 euros / night). I took the opportunity to look for a Polskibus for the next day, I found one for next morning and decided to take it, but I would buy the ticket directly at the station. The next morning I went to the station again, now without any problems, I approached the box office which this time was open and asked for "one-polskibus-Łódź" to which the lady shook her head saying a lot of things and pointing at the parked Polskibus. I understood then that I had to purchase it directly from the driver, so I approached, I asked for a ticket in English and he replied "Online only". I said "Nooooooo!" and "Aaaaaaah!” and my second Polskibus left. I waved goodbye again, grabbed my phone and called my friend to tell her the news. This time she found me a decent train, I walked all the way to the station, I took it without any more hassle and finally made it to Łódź where I met my friend and her nice frosted car.