Sunday, July 17, 2011

Our first attempt and failure at public transportation

Since we got to Gliwice, we have been walking everywhere! There is a mall about 25-30 minutes away that we've been to a couple of times, the kids park is a 20 min walk, we walk everywhere. We'd take the bus but not speaking the language and not wanting to risk a fine has caused us to avoid it. So, on Saturday we decided to take the train to visit Auschwitz. Online, there are a couple of websites that you can see train schedules and therefore plan your day. The website said that the train ride would take 3 hours including a 1 hour layover in Katowice. The website was WRONG!

We thought great, 3 hours there, about 3 hours to tour Auschwitz, and 3 hours back. It was a full day, but no big deal. We headed out to the train station, bought our tickets. They totaled 20 zloty- 7 bucks for the both of us. Calem is still young enough, he doesn't need a ticket. The lady at the ticket counter (no english) says there is in fact the change in Katowice and is nice enough to tell us which line our train is on. The tickets are so confusing. They don't say a time or a line or anything. We board and in the first 2 minutes of the ride a ticket checker started chewing us out because we didn't have a ticket for Calem. Apparently even though there is no cost, you still need a ticket. We just acted dumb (which we are) and he finally gave up.

We get to Katowice about 45 min later and find out that there is only one more train to our destination- 4 hours later. We were stuck. So much for our 9 hour day! We spent those hours walking around the city. We finally boarded the train and we were finally off! Once we get there, we look to see the times the train goes back- and there is none. There are only 2 trains per day, one at 6 am and one at 2:30 pm and we had taken that last train. We thought though that we could probably find a bus back and would go that way. With the worry of getting home on our mind, we visited the grounds. I'll share more of that in a different post.

We only had about 3 hours until the museum closed, so we made it in time to be able to see everything. We wanted to go in a tour, but we were too late for any of that. We did a self tour- saving us about $25-$30. We ran into one of the english speaking tour guides and he said the information desk at the museum could tell us which bus to take, so that kind of put us a little bit at ease.

When the park closed and we went to the information desk about our bus back to Katowice, the lady looked at us with wide eyes and laughed in our faces. Not the reaction you are wanting after a full day. So now what? We had 3 options. 1. Take a bus to Krakow which is 1.5 hours in the opposite direction and hope to get a connecting bus or train to Katowice and then the train to Gliwice (about 5 hours). 2. Stay in the hotel across the street and leave on the 6 am train back home. 3. Suck it up and pay a taxi.

We paid a taxi. 150 zloty later (50 bucks) we were in Katowice waiting for a train back home. Our cabby was pretty nice and was more than happy to drive us all the way back. So by the time we got home it was almost 10 pm. Ugh! What a day! I think Colby is
more than a little apprehensive for our upcoming travel to the different countries.

So much for the Amazing race....

Here are a few pics of Calem's first train ride:

Here he is, our little monkey! Of course sitting still is not an option.
Colby trying to entertain.
Checking out the scene.
Stuffing his face with treats. Treats always work- for a while.

1 comment:

D, J, Dre and W.D. said...

Dre would be jealous of the train ride! I am not jealous of you being lost in a foreign country. At least you were able to make it back home. That would have been really bad if you had to stay the night. What if you ran out of diapers?! Or food?! I'm glad that you are having such fun adventures! Keep posting! It is so fun to see all the things you are doing there!