My first trip without plans

Country: Poland – Czech – Austria – Lithuania

Places: too many, see the map 😀

Time: From 29th of July to 21th of August

In a sentence: oh gosh!

Why?

Why I decided to travel without knowing where to go and what to do? The simple answer is: Adventure. But trying to find a deep reason… Everything started in July 2017 with my Interrail ticket for 31 days. I planned EVERYTHING, literally. I mean, I had to, I had 2 weeks in an English school in the opposite part of Europe (north of England) with one train-connection that I had to book a lot of time before (the English Channel) and just some days to reach Newcastle. And then I had to reach my friends in Netherlands (who were flying there). I had to search every single train I had to take and plan everything to consider if everything was possible to do, on time. It was, and I did everything. And even more, but I felt “trapped”. Don’t misunderstanding me, I spent amazing 31 days of tons of traveling, fun, people, spectacular places etc. But there were that little thought inside, telling me “you already know everything you’ll do next, where is the pure joy of the discovering, of the unknown?”. In a way, it was an adventurous journey: there are always unexpected things in a trip, but simply, it wasn’t enough for me. So, for this summer I decided to be more free.

Very often the wrong train brought me to the right place.

<Paulo Coelho>

21 days through Poland, Austria and Czech Republic

It was 26th of July, I was waiting a friend to go in a local festival in Lithuania, where I’m volunteering. I decided finally where to go, I knew I wanted to go somewhere in Poland but I was struggling where to start. I booked the cheapest night bus, from Vilnius to Gdansk, that I found. The start was extremely bad. My bank notify me the payment of the ticket, but I didn’t receive any ticket. Contacted the website where I booked they told me they didn’t receive the payment. Contacted the bank, they sent the payment and everything was okay for them. Great. I decided to give the transaction one night and the day after I’ll see what to do. Fortunately the day after I receive the ticket (without shout at the phone with nobody 🙂

20180727_220227 modif.jpg
Galapagai festival at the sunset

After, I almost forgot about that ticket. I spent an amazing time with friends in the Galapagai festival, with local and international artists. After two crazy nights and a bit of sleep in the Sunday morning, I packed all the things I thought I needed, asking to myself, where I will sleep? I need the tent? Sleeping bag? etc. etc…. Paranoia. Without knowing the answers I started the journey. I knew just three things:

  1. I wanted to see some friends in Gdansk, I told them I was going there as soon as I get the ticket 3 days before being there. And even in Czech I had some friends I wanted to visit, from different cities, so no idea where and when.
  2. I have to come back after a maximum 21 days. I had to return to volunteering for some days before start again to Stockholm (I casualty found a very cheap flight). Yep I know, I didn’t work so much this summer, almost all July and August I was…well, around 😀 but I worked more I had to for months, so…
  3. I’m going to Gdansk.

That’s pretty much everything I knew it. I can tell you that it was amazing as the previous year, but soooo more adventurous. I just loved it.

What have I done in 21 days?

A little number-summary:

  • 21 days traveling madly
  • 477km walked
  • 3950km on transports (more or less)
  • 3 countries
  • 8 cities (3 capitals)
  • 3 towns
  • 5 houses and 5 different hosts
  • 95m climbed (via ferrata)
  • 3 hostels
  • 1 tent
  • 3049 pictures taken
  • 4 buses + 4 night buses (1 bus broken)
  • 2 trains
  • 4 day-hikes
  • 2 friends seen
  • 4 friends not seen 😦
  • 1 bow and many arrows
  • 1 allergy reaction
  • 1 backpack lost
  • 2 country-border seen during hiking
  • Tons of freetour
  • Many beers
  • A lot of awesome people

Here you can see the trip on a map:

In my blog, I don’t want to talk too much about that beautiful church I saw or that place where to take the perfect selfie to make all your insta-friends jealous. Maybe I will do it, but not in this post. This is about the experiences, I will tell some episodes I remember because now are part of me.

Gdansk

I had a nice Indian guy, who was living there, as a host. For the first time I sent the first message on CouchSurfing and after 5min he said yes, you’re welcome at my place! Amazing! Anyway, we had time to talk just at 23.00 the first day. I was tired as f***ed and we started to talk in the beds. Or better, I was in the bed, he was sleeping on the floor, I tried a lot to be the one on the floor, but after a bit, I understand he would be offended and I stopped. We started to chat, I was so curious about his Indian culture and he was so interesting but I almost have fallen asleep at least 5 times. I think after a lot of my “yes” or “no” as answers, he understood I was almost sleeping and he wished me goodnight.

Gdansk
The extremely wonderful Gdansk *-*

Always in Gdansk, I was waiting in a restaurant my friends who live there, a really nice-crazy couple who I hosted in Pisa during their honeymoon (yeah, you read well :). There was a downpour meanwhile I was reaching the place…I took the table for 3 of us and after 5 min I received this awesome message:

bad news
Don’t care about my delay because I took the wrong tram, it happens 😀

So we weren’t able to see… I was so happy to see them again, but what to do? The day after I was leaving the city. It was a pity, but at least the dinner alone in the restaurant was awesome, best dumplings ever and a very good beer. And extremely cheap, I really love Poland for that.

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Toooooooo goooooooood, I mean, the flowers 😀
Going from Gdansk to Krakow

I wrote this: “ Night bus from Gdansk started 23.45, 1st of August. Expected arrival 9.30 of the day after in Krakow. Time 6.10 a.m: something happened to the bus. After 3 hours we are still here in the emergency lane. There are still 3 hours driving to Krakow and the mechanicals arrived 30mins ago, no news at all. If the problem will fix soon, there will be “just” 3 hours of delay. I’m surprised about the calm of the people…in Italy, there would have been the apocalypse. And also, people don’t speak each other, they are staying by themselves, in silence. We can learn a lot of things about a culture in every kind of experience, especially the bad one.”

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Niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice 4 total hours of delay
Krakow

My second stop, after the nice night in the broken bus I did a free tour around as soon as I get to the city center. The tour was nothing special, not a nice guide, but the places where extremely beautiful. A nice thing happened… after the tour I was extremely tired because of the night and the walking around all city with the big backpack. So, I found a nice grass around the castle and I sit there searching things to do in the city on the city map and waiting for my new host to tell me where to meet for the first time or where he live. So I was there alone, bow on my map, and one Japanese guy appear from nothing and say hello to me. He was in the same tour 5 mins before, we didn’t talk, we exchange just a smile. He asked to sit next to me, “of course!”. After something I call “normal chatting with a stranger” he asked me to go somewhere together, I said I can’t because I was waiting my host from Couchsurfing who didn’t answer me for hours and I didn’t know where to go and what to do ’cause I was dependent on him. After a bit I said “Ok, if my host doesn’t answer me for other 10 mins, do you want to go to take a beer? I found a nice place written on the map”. He said yes, very happily. My host didn’t answered me and I said that it was time to go for our beers. Time to stand up and the host answered me. Oh damn it, I was foretasting my cold beer… but people in Couchsurfing, usually, are very friendly and nice people. So I asked him to meet in this place “for a beer with a Japanese guy I just casualty met” and of course he told me “in 30 mins I’ll be there”. So, me and the Japanese guy (if you are reading sorry, I don’t remember the name and I’m not able to find you among my friends on facebook even if I know you’re there :S) went for the beers and my host joined us after some minutes. We had a very nice and long chat. It’s always nice when people from different countries and cultures meet for the first time, especially in front of some beers. So many interesting and curious things, so many stories.

Okay, I think this post is long enough, I will write the second part and publish Thursday, stay tuned 😀


Always curious, keep exploring, Wo/a\nder

Francesco

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