for fellow travellers

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Prague to Krakow - by overnight sleeper train

We reached the station well before time. The hotel had called for a taxi. Just a little distance away, outside the pedestrian area. This leg of our journey had been the most difficult to organize and the most costly as well. We had decided to visit Krakow in Poland, instead of Warsaw, because Krakow is the historical centre and it is near the border. Kraków remained relatively undamaged at the end of World War II, sparing most of the city's historical and architectural legacy.

The train tickets for this journey, could not be bought from Internet, the official rail sites were showing the train schedules but not selling the tickets. After trying several times Shaleen was able to get reservations through the Internet for sleeper berths from the official railway site of the Czech republic, but we could not purchase the tickets. So we had to buy them on reaching the station. While Shaleen was buying them, we were waiting and doing people watching. I discovered that almost every 4th person was accompanied by a dog.

Numerous cyclists going down the escalator with their cycles.

We reaches the platform and the train was standing there. We boarded it comfortably half an hour before time.

We had two sleeper cabins of two berths each. It was an air-conditioned coach. The cabins had wash basins inside them. But toilets were outside the cabins. (In contrast to the train we had taken in Spain, last year which had a bathroom with shower, basin, and WC.) It was equivalent to A/c first in India.
They had shower facility in the train, but the coach attendant said that it was not in use. So our planning of having a shower early before leaving the train was foiled. We had a full day of excursion planned directly from the train.
We were to reach Krakow early in the morning at 6:30 am.

We reached the Krakow on time. We got a cup of coffee and a croissant complimentary, from the coach attendant.
As the train reached the platform and we took out our luggage. I got a call, from the driver who had come to receive us, on my international number. He said he would meet us at the platform. His name was Phillip and sure enough he met us with a placard. We had arranged the car, for pick up from the station and then proceed straight away to Auschwitz & Birkenau and then to the Wieliczka Saltmine, and then back to Krakow. This was through KRK Krakow tours. As I had badly wanted to visit both the places and we calculated that it would be impossible to cover both of them through public transport in one day. The idea of hiring a car for the trip, came from Trip Advisor.  I liked the railway station, Krakow Glowny as we just had to take the elevator up from the railway platform to reach the parking. It was very convenient.

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