The Train to Poland

August 15, 2011 - 12:42 am No Comments

Alex and I visited Tacheles, a recommendation from my friend Chris. The historical and partially demolished building is now a haven for artists. It’s filled with paintings and graffiti and sculptures. It smells like paint and mold and piss.

Stairs of Tacheles

Window at Tacheles

Stairs of Tacheles

Stairs of Tacheles

Door at Tacheles

Artist Loft at Tacheles

We visited the Berlin Wall Memorial, a preserved section of wall with displays for those who were killed trying to cross it.

Section at the Berlin Wall Memorial

Berlin Wall Memorial

Then a walk past the Berlin Cathedral and a stop at the uncreatively named History Museum. According to Rob, most of the public buildings in Berlin were given generic names to avoid potential conflict between the East and West if buildings were named for specific historical figures.

Berliner Dom

At the museum, I saw the oldest globe in the world (I love old maps!) and saw photos and videos documenting the rise and fall of Hitler and the Nazis. In the Berlin Wall exhibit, I learned that West Germans playfully painted it with graffiti because there was no danger of them crossing. East Germans, warded off by lights and dogs and guns, rarely even approached the wall.


Hitler Dead

I did a ridiculous amount of walking in Berlin. My ankles are angry and my feet are shredded. Maybe wearing Chaco sandals for day-long urban hikes was not a good idea.

Just before meeting up with the group for our overnight train to Poland, Kirtan and I and some German wasps filled up on some schawarma. I popped into Bäckerei Morgenduft and got some food for the trip: a baguette sandwich, a triangular pastry densely coated with glazed seeds and nuts, and rice pudding filled with German wasp larvae.

As a group, we headed to the banhof (train station). After changing trains in Berlin, we were headed out of Germany.

After crossing the border from Germany to Poland, I gazed out the window at the suburbs and greenery passing by and wondered what the area must have looked like during WWII. If these trees could talk…

Night fell. We stopped at the Pozna? G?ówny railway station to connect to our overnight train to Krakow. To pass the two hours between trains, I entertained David and Tomi with Polish jokes. I got some Polish money from the ATM and spent my first zlotys (ZLAWT-eez) to use the public toilet.

Pozna? G?ówny


Now on the overnight train to Krakow, crammed into a tiny cabin with Kirtan and Frank. I volunteered to take the top bunk.

The cabin is dark. Through the open window, I hear the loud clacking of the train on its tracks. It’s all a bit creepy. Are these the same tracks that were used for transporting Jews to the concentration camps?

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