Back in the Land of the Living

It was a fairly early start to get back to Warsaw from the little train station in Przemysl. I grabbed a sandwich and a drink from the shop inside the station and headed to the platform to await my ride. Catching a train in Poland can be a little daunting, simply for the lack of English explanations. I had taken a train journey from Krakow to Warsaw on my last visit and it hadn’t gone down well. But I wanted to use the train network a bit while I was here, so I began to make note of the recurrent words I saw around the station and commit them to memory.

When the train arrived, I took my seat in a 8 seat cabin for the six hour journey back to Warsaw, which was fine until the train filled up at the next couple of stations. The seats are small and the cabins are cramped, no airconditioning in sight. It was one, long, hot journey home.

It was simply too hot to sit in the cabins, so I pushed stumbled my way to the corridor and stood against the window, relieved for the wind in my face.

The weather hadn’t chilled back in Warsaw, by any means. I was so hot and sweaty by the time I arrived back at Ratusz Arsenal subway near my apartment with my heavy duffle bag (no doubt thanks to all those books I bought), that I just wanted to sit down anywhere just to cool down a little. Lucky for me, a pop up beer tent came to the rescue. One ice cold pint of Tyskie later, and I was ready to make the last few hundred metres home.

But there was no rest for the wicked. I had a birthday party to attend! Paula’s grandmother Grazyna (was my Babcia’s sister Ana’s daughter) is 79 today. Ana remained in the relatively unscathed Praga side of Warsaw for the duration of the war, after an unsuccesful attempt to join the family at the farm in the Kresy. It is a shame that the language barrier separates us, because I would love to talk to Grazyna about her memories of the war as a young girl. I need to work on my language skills, but for a birthday party, I’ll get by fine. Because I made sure to learn all the words to the Polish birthday tune ‘Sto Lat’.

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