Poland Travel Stories, Page 2

Morning Exercise in Poland

Morning Exercise in Poland

This post is out of order because the internet access is free in the Hostel, however they have every possible function blocked, so I finally found a open internet café to post this later.

I am thinking I must have accidentally prayed for patience, so I have been sitting around all morning waiting, learning to patience. This is the morning exercise of my patience, fortitude, and testing how much stress I can handle, then manage properly.

With a perfect departure from Augustow, Poland, I boarded the train, waved by to my new friends, and off I went by night train to Krakow. I has a first class ticket which is strange for me, however that is the way it was, it did not mean much, I was hoping for he extra five dollars I would see a noticeable difference. I think the difference was less people, not sure really, however I was lucky and had a whole couch to myself and had a good nights sleep on a train with no beds.

Poland trains I believe are substantially cheaper than any country west of Poland and still in the affordable range.

I arrived at 5:00 AM, finding nothing open, I did my best to surmise a plan, there was a phenomena here of NO taxis. I followed the crowd, the people who know why they are walking where they are walking hoping they would lead me to taxis, or even the obvious city buses. I found I think the city bus route, and no way to figure out where to go or how to go.

NO taxis.

Next, I sat and read the guidebook, still no help, giving me some addresses and no Hostels within walking distance. So much for this shoestring crap, more like list out hostels and no help. One of the captions told me to take bus number 15 to this street; this was the only one that told me any information on how to find transportation between the train station and the Hostel.

Contrary to any misconceived guidance, that anyone has or mythical conceptions in today’s world, it is not hard to find a list of Hostels, what is hard is to find two things.

1. The correct bus number to take from the Train, Bus, or Plane stations or terminals to the Hostel, PLUS the cost!!!! (Shoestring)

2. The cost of a taxi from the same locations to the Hostel, I think for less than the cost of a beer you can take a taxi here, the taxis in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland are priced cheap enough, that the best choice is a taxi.

However who knows in Krakow, I could not find a taxi… I did later, when they decided to wake up.

My decision was this; I decided that Krakow looked a little dirty so maybe I just go to Auschwitz and find a room. I suppose that is not correct, I am not going to the concentration camp and find a room. There is a city by the name of Ocenciem or something like Oswitza or something that is the place of Auschwitz, the city that by the German name was Auschwitz. I do wish people would not change the name to their language.

Ok, so I purchased a ticket for the 7:10 AM bus, then the bus came, and then just drove away. I go to the ticket stand.
“No bus today”

I say,
“Today, No bus today.”

She says,
Then she says,

Then she says,
“There is no bus today.”

I am not happy and trying to patient, and not understanding, I want to express to her that I want to be forceful enough that I do not want to sit for one more hour and no bus showing up.

I buy the 8:10, I do not trust her, the information office has now open and the lady does not speak English, some snobby Norwegian girl thinks she has it all figured out because she has all the times. I am trying to say that they cancelled the bus because I think there were not enough people. I thought this was high season. Having the times of cancelled bus does not help you.

Some nice looking girl walks by while I have already paid for my ticket to Auschwitz and has flyers to Hostels. I try to explain to her I have an 8:10 bus to Auschwitz; however, this does not register in her brain. I have 20 minutes to the bus come… maybe it comes.

I follow the girl, she says she can call to see if there are bed available, I am enter the no-reservation-you-sleep-on-bus-or-train-time of Europe.

I cannot just go to every Hostel and hope there is a room, I need to know before I spend an hour finding the Hostel. Therefore, this girl is working for the owner of seven Hostels I learned later, or of all the major ones on the list in Krakow. I find a room… bling bling

55 Zxots, the same as a private room in Augustow in a Hotel, I paid 30 to live in a home. So now I get to live with 12 other in a dorm… something is wrong always with the scenario.

OK… I do not use my bus ticket lose 10 Zwots or about 3 U.S. dollars, because I need to find a bed to sleep tonight. My final choice was to get on the train for Prague and forget Poland.
However all of this went exactly as planned, I arrived at 5:00 AM in the morning and had the whole day to figure out a good plan, or at least in my mind by 2:00 PM, after that I lose.

10:00 AM, I am in the Bling Bling Hostel or something like that and by 12:00 they will force people to wake up so I can have a bed.

What a way to not live comfortable, I am really thinking about beaches of Thailand or Indonesia or paying a lot to live in Singapore, or even Hong Kong or anywhere but here, why do I need this Hassle. I need a van to enjoy Europe; I could have driven to a couple of Hostels and not worried about all the too many rules and no taxi world of Krakow.

I was hoping to go live close to Auschwitz, finish a newsletter, and then mosey down the road to Prague, Czech Republic. Small city and not so much big city too much crap.

Nonetheless, another Hostel with a kitchen and no stove, I think they need to define kitchen… Place to cook.

Yes, the definition in the Encarta Dictionary says that I can cook in a kitchen, then why does the kitchen not have a stove?

food preparation area: a room or part of a room or building in which food is prepared and cooked (2)

Bling Bling and Argonauts no stoves… by the way, this is better than most Hostels in Europe, they have the room, most only have the Bar.

The people in the Hostel are nice and I will go to Auschwitz tomorrow and see where the German People killed, gassed, and burned maybe 1.5 million people in mass produced factory style.

Auschwitz in the Polish Village of Oswiecim is the home of the largest German people Concentration camp; I do not just say Hitler, because the German people were helping hook, line and sinker. It irritates me to blame Hitler only; this was the work of the whole country.

So all of my plans on how to enter Krakow went wrong, however it turned out just as I planned, I planned I would have a room by noon, and I have a bed or room by noon.

Note the Bling Bling Hostel has turned out to be a proper Hostel, TV, Common area, and a great feature, you can do you laundry with a machine was and machine dry for free. The Breakfast is one of the best Hostel Breakfast on the planet, they actually give me free breakfast with meat, cheese, milk, this is very rare and all you can eat buffet. Give me the stove top and I would say this place is close to perfect, note for me any Hostel with a bar below the Hostel will never be a perfect Hostel, just a flop-house.

Auschwitz Concentraton Camp Today

Today I go to the Auschwitz Poland Concentration Camp, it will start at 10:30 and I leave from the Hostel for a tour more or less.

I am probably more excited about this tour than any other I have taken, I believe this place is of extreme historical importance in the history of the world.

Follow this link to information on the camp.

I arrived in Krakow Poland

I arrived at about 5:00 AM today, Krakow is sleeping at this hour and finally at around 8:00 the information offices opened. Taxis were nowhere to be found, then later I discover there is another section below the train terminal or whatnot.

The computer in the Hostel has blocks on anything and everything, plus is using Firefox Browser, I will look for another internet computer where I can work easy.

Sadistic Hobo in Poland

Sadistic Hobo in Poland

I am being the Sadistic Hobo in Poland.

I am having fun by being a little cruel; this is the technical definition of being Sadistic:
: the gaining of pleasure from causing physical or mental pain to people or animals (2)

There is this stream of people walking down the sidewalks this morning in Augustow, Poland there are many families, and many single old women. It is an interesting procession of people that appear to be quite properly dressed.

The time is about 8:10 AM in the morning and I am making my daily run to the corner market to buy a couple whole-wheat rolls, coated with small sesame seeds, other grains and mixed perfectly to a crunchy coating. I have become addicted to this special little bread form here in Poland. I am sad to say on this Sunday, there only have white-bread rolls, however are full of that yummy yeast like flavor.

Ok, how am I being sadistic?

I am deriving great pleasure in making the people of Poland, plus Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Germany and most of the European nations nervous. I like to make them fidget, squirm and feel uneasy with me, I am having great fun doing this.

How to be Sadistic in Europe?

1. As you approach people look them in the Eyes and take on a happy expression, like how are you, as best you and say this with your eyes.

2. Nod your head, this rather requires they are looking at you; sometime you need to work hard to get their attention.

3. Bow at the waist just a little, this is more Asian, however the roots of Europe go back a long way to Kings and Queens, when they had the curtsey or bowing before the Noble Class, so these people get the idea. No need for a full on bow, they could have a heart attack.

NOTE: PLEASE I am trying to show you or teach you how to be a little Sadistic, not how to be outrageously cruel. Have some limits here and do not use this advice to extreme measures. It is only for small good fun and at the cost of the mental pain of our European Neighbors. Do not demand, push, or become angry in this process.

4. Say,
“Hello, how are you”
In English…

Now if you know the local language better, if you can say Hello in the Polish language or any of the European language this is better, and maybe a little less cruel

OK… Figured it out yet?

I was walking to the store, when I encountered many people walking to the local Catholic Church, the bells had rang and the people were going to Sunday services.

As I encountered these groups, as is customary among my specific Indiana culture to acknowledge the presence of other, I perform my normal greeting of other animals on the planet.

I have to avoid giving them the Thai Y or the Arabic pulling at the chest with their hand, however I find I often do all of these greeting in Unison, and try to get away with the kiss thing of France or Holland if possible on occasions.

Why is it Sadistic?

I am teasing the people, it is not normal for people to say Hello, like saying Hello to a person from New York City, they will think, and what does this person want. Therefore, they get suspicious, a little fearful, and look at you, sometimes like what is wrong with you.

I think it may be less sadistic to say Hello, in English as some of them do stutter around more as they then know that another culture has entered their world and if they have studied English there may be a delay and then… they say,

“Fine, thank you.”

In the Bible it says to be like clever like a wolf, but behave like a sheep, I am moralizing in a way and trying to teach you a lesson. I have people voraciously feel guilty and write me real nasty letters when I do things like this, however I am writing my journal with you looking over my shoulders, so I am having fun…. I am thinking out-loud this really helps me to take these abstract feeling and put them into real understanding of cultures.

I am being a little slick, trying to encourage you to say hello to your fellow animal along the path, this is my greatest tip, my greatest benefit of coming from my family. The concept of caring for the people around me. Thanks to Mom and Dad for this, and the way of life they gave me.

Sub-note: Faith is the absence of fear. To be afraid to say hello to another person is to believe or to lack Faith that you are really safe and ok.

If you really want to know some more obnoxious ways of annoying other cultures go here:

Cultural Manners

I apologize to Korea

I am making an apology to the countries of North Korea and South Korea.

For the last few months I have confused their names, I received an email from a representative in Seoul saying the map were switched.
I have corrected... I hope.

The problem came from the name.

North Korea formal name is:
Democratic People's Republic of Korea

South Korea formal name is:
Republic of Korea

I made an assumption and for this I apologize, that the word Democratic was for the South Korea, and not the north.

CIA Factbook Information
South Korea
North Korea

These are the maps that are changed.

North Korea or Democratic People's Republic of Korea
South Koreas or Republic of Korea

I learn a little more about the world everyday and sometime humility.

Trust me an American should never make mistakes with Geography, we are held to an extreme level of perfection by the world.

Countries of the World

Countries of the World
Today I am saying 312, tomorrow maybe more or less.

I have been steadily driving myself crazy trying to make a list of the Countries of the World.

A country is not a simple term for me to use anymore, there are countries, territories, protectorates, enclaves and all sorts of small entities. I am not sure how to classify them all, and I am not sure if it is possible.

Islands are a big problem, I suppose there is a person that is a Professor of Geography that has all of these answers in his or her computer and could just give me a break down that makes better sense than mine.

I have discovered that the easy way to look at the location of country is first to look at the Continent. IF then the Country decides it is an Island, and then you have to say which Ocean.

For example, I have the Pacific Ocean, then I can say, are you in the North Pacific or South Pacific. Once I have figured out if this, I can go on to figure out if they are part of an Island Chain or some group of something.

Guam as Example

Pacific Ocean - In the Pacific Ocean
South Pacific Ocean - South of the Equator
Micronesia - A major division, one of three, a way of separating.
Pacific Islands - Just a way of saying this area or Oceania
Oceania and Pacific Islands the same, about 25,000 Islands

Guam is one of the Mariana Islands.

Guam is an unincorporated territory of the United States.1

Now, after all of this, what is an unincorporated territory of the United State? The Devil if I know, some free association with the United States I suppose and I can sit here and read the Encyclopedia for days trying to slice and dice these issues.

Is Guam a country? I would say technically No, however if you was trying to find a reservation, they may have this listed as a country, or they may list this in multiple ways.

This is the problem; it is a significant dominion of the world. Maybe culturally and specifically different than the USA culture, although it has one (non-voting person sent to delegate to the United States House of Representatives).1

I am not sure I care much to decide if a place is a country, I do need to find a way to classify or quadruple classify a place so I can use in the navigation of my web sites, however to really care about whether it is a country or not is not such a good idea.

I do care if they for instance have citizenship of the USA, because that is an advantage with the passport. However, many United Kingdom or Commonwealth countries have an association with England in a way and still cannot move or travel because they have been born in a country where everyone is trying to leave.

However, I am only trying to make sure I do not miss a country.

Goal: Make sure I accidentally stop at all the miscellaneous Enclaves, Territories, Protectorates or whatever does pop in my path.

Then maybe when a person ask, how many countries I have visited, I can give them this huge complicated answer, or I can just say a big number and hope they do not care.

I know a couple of people that I think are trying to visit all the countries on the planet. I do not think that is my goal; however, it is just a direction I am heading so may as well start counting correctly.

I have learned…
Many people go to over 50 countries.
Lots of people go to over 70
Few people go to over 100
I have never met anyone over 150

Moreover, all of them are no good at counting… hehehe

The big problem with counting is you tend to go to only the sure countries is this is your goal and miss or not think about the significant cultures of the planet. I like to visit the various cultures more than I care about the countries. I am still amazed that some 18 Million people in South America speak the Quechua language; this is one significant culture and greatly ignored.

Today I say 308, I just had to remove a few, darn, this should be the list of significant dominions or realms.

Waking with the Sun

Waking with the Sun
I am a person that wakes with the sun and sleeps when the sun goes down, more or less my father and mother boy.

However I am realizing there is a new experience for me, there seems to be places on the planet that I have never traveled enough. Up in the north of the world the sun rises very early and sets very late in the summer. I found myself waking at 4:00 AM. This is early for me, and I looked around and had to check the clock a couple of times, yep, it is 4:00 in the morning.

I got up anyway as I do not like to force myself to lay in bed, like why would I want to sleep or try to sleep. I want to sleep when I am sleepy; to sleep when I am not sleeping seems to me like I am trying to avoid something.

Well, the days can be very long in the north or I suppose the very south of the planet, as the sunrays are different. The sun shines a broader angle or follows a different path. The book I am reading and will finish today by James Michener, called Alaska is also talking about the Artic Circle, a place where you have 6 months of sun and 6 months of dark. I was thinking about the saying,
“As sure as the sun rises.”

I guess in some places for sure the sunrise; however, they need to wait longer. When I was in Estonia I do not think I ever saw the sun set or rise, it was always light. This I believe cause some problem for the travelers who need to fall asleep or could not go to bed until the sun set, they felt a need to stay awake all night. However, the body still needs some rest; they therefore would sleep longer into the day. Starting to change their whole cycles of sleep.

I do not expect this to be a problem, as most of my life is spent in the Tropics, I find myself looking often at the Islands of the Caribbean, I think they are calling me.

Sleeping in Train Cars

Sleeping on Train Cars

Hoboes have been known to sleep on trains for years; however here in Augustow, Poland there seems to be a different type of Hobo. There appears to be tourist who rent the older train cars on the tracks as a home while they visit the local water sports area and beautiful lakes of Augustow, Poland.

These many doors have been a large question mark for me, as there are too many and too close together. The explanation I heard today is there was a time when the government gave everyone a sheet or paper with stamps, Similar to a food stamp system and the people would go to the store, exchange their stamps for food and feed their family. However because there was not enough food to feed the family, most of the townspeople would have a small rooms where they would raise animals like Chickens and Pigs. There were also many small patches of gardens.