Where do I begin? How about at the beginning. Wednesday night I was trying to plan my route out of Berlin and into Wroclaw, against my better judgement. I was intending to go to Krakow instead, but since I am meeting a friend after the weekend that lives close to Wroclaw, I decided that I could give it another chance. So I messaged everyone on blablacar that was offering rides for the next day. My fallback was the bus leaving at 1205. So I woke up incredibly early (0600) to check for messages from drivers. Thankfully a nice gentleman told me he would gladly give me a ride at 1600. So I packed up my things, showered and ate breakfast, and hung around the hostel until noon, when he messaged me and cancelled. Five whole minutes before the bus left from a station across town.
Not to worry, I logged back on and sent out a few more messages to new posts on blablacar. Thankfully a nice lady told me she could take me at the same time – 1600. So I left an hour beforehand, took the train across to the other side of the city (her meeting point) and waited. And waited. And waited. I messaged her both through the website and to her personal phone. No reply. Well, after another hour I realized how stupid I looked and just gave up. I bought ANOTHER train ticket, lugged my bags back across town, and barely had enough time to get the 1900 bus ticket.
Okay, a waste of a day and a little extra expenses, but no harm, no foul I guess. I would like to encourage ALL of my readers to fervently avoid the use of that company. For starters, they changed their methods now to a purely profit-driven site. The rides are usually quadruple what I paid last year, and often times even more expensive than the buses. Okay, I can understand that they want to make money. But they offer NO protection for their passengers against cancellations or no-shows. Sure, I didn’t have to pay, but I still wasted a lot of time standing around in the hot sun waiting for this lady – afraid to leave even for a minute to get a bottle of water in the fear that I might miss her. And she has the audacity to leave me negative feedback on the site. I promptly responded to her feedback and sent a succinct and impolite email to the company airing my grievances. I’m sure their reply will satiate my anger.
So the act of getting to Wroclaw was a disaster, but I was still trying to be positive about the city. Unfortunately, I could only get a hostel for two nights, and I was here for three. I thoroughly checked every site, and there is nothing cheaper than 150zl in the whole city Saturday night. Okay, fine. I will use that as an excuse to leave early. I finally made it to the hostel around midnight. I was given a key and told where the rooms were. This hostel is incredibly cheap, but for a reason. The staff are disinterested in pretty much everything. There is no common room. It’s a 30-minute walk to the city center. And the guy sleeping in the bed closest to mine stinks, horribly. I get to (what was supposed to be) my bed and there is an almost-naked guy in it. He just points to the top bunk, telling me we switched at some time. Fine, jerk, I didn’t want it now anyway.
Of course, this just creates more problems. After spending time in the city today I come back and the hostel employee is yelling at me for using the wrong bed. “You should have come told me that someone was in your bed!” Yeah, because I’m still four years old. The naked guy seemed to know what he was talking about, and I really didn’t want that bed anymore.
I have spent most of my time in this city just trying to get out of this city. I don’t care for it. I gave it two visits, and that was one more than it deserved. I found a train that runs to Jelenia Gora in the early afternoon. Damn right I’ll be on it. Jelenia Gora is a cute little border town with Czech that I stopped in last year with a friend of someone I was chatting with on Couchsurfing. It was a bit of an odd situation, but still a lot of fun. She even (after knowing me for about an hour) let me drive her car the rest of the way into Nowy Kosciol. I will be spending one day in Jelenia Gora until I meet Julia on Sunday. I still have no idea where I’m going to stay, though. The hostel situation is a big confusing. None of them are listed on the usual hostel websites, and all the independent pages I found were in Polish. I couldn’t even find one that would let me book online. As of right now, I have no place to sleep. I would rather sleep in a gutter in Jelenia Gora than this (or any) hostel in Wroclaw.
Okay, I think that covers most of my issues. I must say, despite the unbearable heat, I spent several hours this morning/afternoon walking around the city. It wasn’t all THAT bad. I had a decent lunch with a few beers, visited some of the churches, and found the island that Julia took me to last year where everyone goes to drink outside. I was almost considering upgrading Wroclaw from ‘don’t bother’ to ‘if you are already in the area and need to sleep for an entire day and if the world isn’t ending anytime soon and if someone pays you enough money, then check it out.’ Still, I’m gonna have to say a big ‘no’ on this particular part of the country. It’s a shame, too, because what I’ve seen of the rest of Poland is so nice. I guess this could be Poland’s Chicago. Not Detroit, because I would never go to Detroit even once.
Oh, I also got to participate in the opening ceremony of what I think translates into “White Festival.” The flyer I received says “Festiwal Bieli.” You figure it out. The main ceremony is tomorrow, on Saturday, so if I have time before the bus, and if I really want to walk that far to the city, I may have to go back and take some photos of all the people painted white.
I guess that will be all for the evening. I may not be able blog again for a few days, depending on my situation in Jelenia. Hopefully all the suffering will be over soon. Flickr doesn’t seem to be uploading about 30% of the pictures I take, but I guess that means the majority of them are still on there. If we aren’t Facebook friends and you want to see my photos, feel free to check them out here.