Saturday, January 10, 2009

Krakow: A Return

I headed down to Krakow after my lesson with G. G drives a rice rocket and treated me to the most "thrilling" ride I've had in an automobile. Accelerating rapidly on a winter city street frays the nerves just a tad. He said I ought to get a fast car of my own since he saw me smiling as he was popping through gears.
The ride down was pretty good. A bright sunny day with a seat by the door of the compartment. It was all older people, and the seat net to me was free so I was kind of lucky. The lady opposite me scowled the entire trip and looked like a generally grumpy person. The day before we had gotten a snow storm (dropping about two-to-three inches) so the landscape had a fresh coat of white.
I have often stated my appreciation for Warszawa Centralna. Too bad that there are talks of removing it or severely reducing its traffic. Personally, I think it's wonderful train station: functional, unique, and servicable. The many ticket counters offset huge lines. The counters are not only in the main hall, but scattered below in the tunnels. It's a lot easier to be able to buy a ticket and instantly go to the platform.
The Polish countryside is quite beautiful. Villages dot the landscape, which is mostly farmland with a few sections of forest. I got to see a few herds of deer prancing about in the winter snowscape.
The new big thing is to apparently build gigantic malls next to the train stations. Warszawa Centralna has Zlote Terasy, and Krakow Glowny has Galeria Krakowska. It's a bit of a mixed bag, because it offers some entertainment and amenities right near the train station, but it also draws away from the majesty of the buildings.

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