华沙和维尔纽斯,12日至五月14日

华沙老城
走向华沙的老城区。

不幸的是,我在华沙的时间并不多。我大约在下午4:30到达,并定于第二天早上7:25再次离开。到达目的地后,我的第一件事就是穿过华沙中央车站,到国际售票处买一张去维尔纽斯的火车票。这是一件非常简单的事情,但我知道,在赶火车之前,我是不会愿意这么做的!这张票的有效期是一个月,所以我只要确保第二天早上准时到场就行了。我在一个旅游咨询处快速浏览了一下,就得到了一张市中心的地图和我住的旅馆的方向。离这里不远,所以我走到那里,小心翼翼地沿着主干道走,整个地区似乎都在进行施工。我不知道所有这些活动是因为波兰举办了2012年欧洲联盟杯(UEFA Euro cup),还是因为波兰举办了欧洲杯(UEFA Euro cup),但这无疑让找路变得更困难了。我在招待所放下了我的背包,这是一个很不错的地方,有着鲜明的好莱坞主题。趁着天色还亮的时候,我出发去看一看城市的老城区,又躲了一会儿建筑工程正在进行中。我终于找到了通往那里的主要街道华沙的老城区中心,但是,它是可爱的 - 大量的老建筑和教堂在抛媚眼,并在一个点上,我听到一些快活,快活,民谣音乐排序的。出于好奇,我徘徊在找一个小舞台与乐队和一群人在跳舞踊跃。我不知道如果这是一个竞争或只是娱乐,但他们都看起来好像他们是玩得很开心。

民间舞蹈
那个穿红裙子的女士棒极了。

我继续往前走,经过了许多可爱的建筑,穿过了一个有喷泉的老广场和一些装饰得非常漂亮的房子,最后在一家看起来有点像犹太人吃波兰菜的精致小餐馆里吃了晚饭。我不知道自己吃了什么,但如果不是说这是犹太菜,我会把它描述成葡萄干和蘑菇馅的碎猪肉。事实上,我不知道这肉是什么,但它很好吃。然后,考虑到我曾经愚蠢地认为蔚蓝的天空和阳光意味着我不穿套头衫就足够暖和了,我在晚餐和啤酒的暖化效应消失之前赶回了旅社。我打赌他们不会感到寒意……

我没有在华沙睡不好觉 - 床似乎波及每次我转身随着时间的推移惊人的反弹,难以解决,使我感到有些晕船,所以我感到厌倦甚至在我的闹钟在早上6点去了。I dragged myself out of bed, threw on some clothes and downed a fairly awful cuppa that I threw together in the hostel’s kitchen, then thrust my key at the staff member who’d just shown up to set out breakfast and scurried off to the station. It wasn’t far, but I’ve found that it pays to over- rather than underestimate how long it will take to get anywhere while travelling. Even so, I barely had time to charge into a coffee shop and grab a bottle of water, some breakfast and some lunch (the trains between Warsaw and Vilnius have no buffet car or food trolley service) and gallop to the platform to catch the train. It was a pretty laid-back journey, though I did spend part of it worried that I’d somehow got on the wrong train (one of my pet fears is getting on the wrong train and ending up somewhere utterly random – remind me why I’m taking a train trip across the world again?). For most of the trip the trains (you have to change twice to get to Vilnius – at Sestokai and Kaunas) puttered through the farmland of Poland and Lithuania, and I noted with interest that, in the absence of any serious fencing, cattle were tethered to graze, usually by a rope looped around their horns and attached to a stake in the ground.

维尔纽斯站是一个令人困惑的迷宫,我花了一些时间来找到我的路了出来,并确定自己的方向。Unfortunately the Tourist Info had already closed, but I found a money exchange and got hold of some litas to tide me over, then picked up a bottle of water from the station supermarket so that I’d have change for the bus to the hostel (and also something to drink – I was quite thirsty). The hostel was through the centre of town and out the other side, and I’m quite sure my rucksack and I didn’t make any friends on the rapidly filling bus. However, I got there in one piece, if rather tired. The hostel seemed to be more of a hotel in reality, but I didn’t mind that at all, and was thrilled to find that I had a private bathroom. There was a potential point of awkwardness, however; the confirmation email I’d received had given the price in Euros, so I’d assumed that they’d take Euros in cash. However, the receptionist brightly informed me that they accepted only litas or credit cards. I didn’t really want to use a plastic card, and I’d got 100 litas on the basis that that would be plenty for food and some sight-seeing the following day if I paid for the room in Euros. I pondered, then handed over 71 litas for the room, which left me just enough to nip to the “China and Pizza” restaurant next door for a bite to eat. Then I headed back, had the most wonderful shower and went to bed with the intention of having a really nice lie-in. Annoyingly, my internal clock had other ideas and woke me up at 6.30am. I resisted until 7, then gave up and sat in bed finishing off some work until it was time to get dressed and check out.

维尔纽斯老城
维尔纽斯的旧城区,距离城堡塔楼的顶部。

旅馆接待员帮了我一把,给我提供了一张地图,并指出了去中心的路线。实际上,中心并不像前一天晚上在巴士上看到的那么远,所以我背上背包,出发去查看维尔纽斯的风景。维尔纽斯是个奇怪的地方。它似乎没有大多数首都城市那样的喧嚣,给人留下的深刻印象是这个地方有点被人忽略了,甚至被自己的人忽略了。不过,中心很不错,我设法多弄了些现金,还买了些早餐。出于好奇心,我甚至走进了玛莎百货(Marks & Spencer)在当地的分店。可惜,那里没有玛莎百货的食品大厅……我去圣彼得堡的火车要到下午6点18分才开,所以我有足够的时间四处看看,但我无法摆脱我的不安的感觉。部分原因是我知道当天晚些时候还有截止日期,但仔细分析后我意识到,主要是对俄罗斯的紧张。在此之前,我在友好的东欧游逛,可能会被误认为是一次古怪的假期,如果我因为任何原因需要离家,那就再简单不过了(尽管这样做会让我觉得自己是个十足的胆小鬼)。俄罗斯,以及我即将与之交锋的著名的俄罗斯官僚机构,则完全是另一回事。这将是我旅行的真正开始,也是我签证的第一次考试,我很紧张。 Realising this didn’t make the feeling go away but did make it a bit easier to rationalise, and so I spent a quiet afternoon looking around the remains of Vilnius’ castle, photographing various churches and having a decent lunch before I headed to the station to wait for the train to St. Petersburg.

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