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Berlin to Krakow by Train

Posted by on June 3, 2011

The train to Krakow was always going to be interesting, with three segments, two connections, two countries and my lack of German or Polish language skills. However, slightly after the scheduled time the first train pulled up and I hopped onboard, leaving Berlin behind me. It’d been a great city, but it was time to keep moving, always moving…

The first segment to Angermünde wasn’t too long, although it was running late meaning I had to run to the end of the platform where the second train was thoughtfully waiting for us. Dived onboard, and then sat there for a minute before it started off towards Poland.

The border used to ‘exist’ but now that the EU has taken hold and the borders are open, Szczecin is the official change point on this track – slightly inside Poland’s borders. And you can tell, the difference between the stations, the general feel – you know you’re in a different country. Excellent! As I hopped off, still running slightly late and knowing I had about five minutes before train #3 left, the police were spot checking people, and picked on a girl from Brazil to inspect her papers. I ran straight past, not giving them a chance to consider asking me. I worked out the platform, and ran back past the train again, just in time to hear her asking people about ‘Krakow’. Grabbing her we ran together and with two minutes to spare found the train and a carriage. And even better, we found an empty cabin, meaning four seats each – or as the backpacker calls it – a bed!

Erica was from Sao Paulo, Brazil, and was travelling again in Europe – having the travel bug herself. From Portugal to Slovakia she was travelling mostly on her own, and having a blast, before having to return to Brazil to make those all too familiar life decisions. We chatted for a couple of hours before crashing, waking only every couple of hours when the guards kept pestering us for our documents, and briefly when some students joined our cabin (and stole part of our beds) from 2am to 4am(!!).

We pulled into Kraków around 8am, and had a coffee before parting ways. Erica was meeting a friend from the UK at the station in a few hours, and I needed a hostel. Having done little planning for this city, we consulted her Lonely Planet – and found that Greg and Tom’s (which to this day I always call Tom and Jerry’s first off, before correcting myself) was about 400m away. Perfect. Exchanged details and off I walked to find out what Kraków would show me…

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