My First European Train

From Warsaw to Krakow, we decided to start our Intercity Train adventures. I had heard that the best way to experience Europe, if one is doing a multicity trip, is through the European railways, as it epitomises comfort, security, efficiency, time management and value for money.

Buying the tickets

PKP is the state run Polish network. From Warsaw to Krakow we decided to book tickets on The EIP trains: bullet nosed pendulino trains which can ride up to 200 km/hr. Advance booking is a must in these modern sleek trains. Moreover booking opens one month before journey.

Ticket portal of PKP Intercity and the ticket.

The tickets are easy to understand although in Polish. You can see time of departure, arrival, train no , wagon no and seat numbers. You can find more about the train in https://www.vagonweb.cz/fotogalerie/PL/PKP_ED250.php. We were eight of us travelling and I couldn't book more than four. So i booked two sets of four tickets in my name. Now there is some gross mistake there. We shall talk about it later.

At Warsaw Centralna station....

All European platforms have these huge LCD screens with all information about your train. you can figure which peron (Platform) and tor (Track) your train will come in. There are always information kiosks in case of doubt. If you still have doubts, you can compare tickets with fellow passengers, equally lost/ enlightened. We knew exactly where wagon no 4 would be.

Our train EIP 1303, pendulously slides in... as we are caught unaware about whether to click the train or rush to get in. Awkward, as this was the first train, we would get better and better, later as we travel to Berlin, Amsterdam, Brugge and Paris.

The Interiros...

Although the numbers were not serially put...But there must have been some order in the disorder. It was so luxurious and comfortable inspite of being second class. There was ample space to put our luggage on luggage racks at the two ends of the coach and in between and overhead racks too. Seating was open type, as in a flight. There were charging points , personal reading lights, and small inbuilt trash boxes.

The efficient interiors...

The washrooms were quite spacious, clean and vacuum WCs (whatever that might be). and there were all handicap friendly.

There was a Bar bistro on the train. There was a take away snack counter. The helpful train stewards served us tea and cookies. What more could you ask for...

Spoken too soon....A lady inspector checked our tickets, creased her forehead and then went away. After sometime, a gentleman inspector came and wanted to know in whose name the tickets were booked. When I affirmed, he said we would have to pay for four tickets.. FOUR TICKETS! My heart skipped a beat or two. Then he clarified, how can one person purchase two sets of tickets, both with my name. He had a point. But I pointed out that the website would not allow me to buy more than four. And payment had clearly been done, as I showed him the receipts. After a lot of frowning, when I had already started counting the Euros mentally, I had to pay, he said, as we were tourists and this was our first travel, he would let us off, but NEVER to repeat this. Sure, I thought...as if I was going to travel on and of. That was a huge lesson.

And within two and a half hours we reached our destination Krakow, where we had booked a tour from Viator to visit the World Heritage Site of Auschwitz Concentration camp.....

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