Let's see... where did I leave off? Oh yes. The overnight train to Krakow. I slept solid up until 6AM when the ticket collector abruptly woke me from my slumber yelling "Krak-koov!" Jeremy did not have quite the same experience on the overnight train. Here's what he had to say about it, as excerpted from the comments on my last post:
I just want to add my experience with the night train, starting with the energy: whereas the day trains all felt like typical travel, the night train was full of early-20's, English-speaking backpackers. It was almost like a slumber party, and it made me decide I might be too old for night trains.So we rolled into the Krakow station set just outside the Old Town. It was too early to check in to our budget hotel so we dropped off our backpacks and headed into the quiet city center. I felt somewhat in a surreal daze. It was early and I was in another country - but glad to be able to use the limited Polish greetings I knew. We hung out in a coffee shop with free Wifi for a few hours and in a daze became lost in the internet. Around noon we meandered back to our hotel and I couldn't decide if I was more hungry or sleepy. Hunger eventually turned to irritability as it's wont to do. And just when I was about to have a total melt down we stumbled upon a vegetarian restaurant across from what I now know is the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow. I was so happy I could die.
Unlike Kathleen, I got a HORRIBLE night's sleep on the train, and not because of the backpackers. As soon as she laid down in her bunk she was OUT for the whole trip. I, on the other hand, stayed up to read, and listen to music, and didn't even begin to fall asleep for another couple of hours. And then sleep came and went, mostly because the night trains stop and break apart (different cars have different destinations) and connect with other trains with several loud BANGs and jolts. Also, all the stories of night train burglaries kept me reluctantly, unwittingly vigilant.
We ordered food - lentil patties and carrot salad - and a couple beers. We watched Polish students enjoy their lunch over text books and notepads. It was amazing. From there we headed back to our hotel and took a glorious 4 hour nap. That was amazing too.
From there we stumbled back into the Old Town city center and found ourselves on a patio - huddled under fleece blankets and splitting a bottle of wine - watching horse carriages and tourists with umbrellas walking by. We were excited to head out the next day to meet up with our group to trek the High Tatras.