When the last guests in the skyscraper opposite to our apartment leave the party with the rising sun, we pack our suitcases to leave Warsaw again.
Of course, there would have been many more sights that would have been worth visiting. Our next destination is Prague in the Czech Republic.
We ordered tickets from Flixbus via the Internet. A map where the central station was marked as a departure station was enclosed in the confirmation e-mail. So we go to the central station which is not far away from our accommodation. There we try to find out where the bus leaves.
Already after a short time, the whole thing develops into an odyssey, as nobody knows where the station is. So one sends us from one end to the next and even another parallel street. Without success! When we reach the departure time, it is clear to us that we now need a plan B.
Since we are at the station, it is obvious to ask for a train. There is one that is much more expensive than the bus that we have already paid for. But worse is that we have to wait about 5 hours and will arrive in Prague only after dark. Our mood hits rock bottom!
We spend a part of the waiting time in the shopping center opposite.
While waiting, we have again plenty of time to inspect the Flixbus ticket. There we see that there is an address of the bus stop. It is not really noticeable, and one can easily overlook it. The bus departs from the south side of the station, opposite the tram stop.
It was our mistake but sometimes things go wrong. When we finally sit on the train, we quickly forget the incident.
The train leaves the city area fast and we reach the rural surrounding countryside. Arable land and pastures alternate with forests and bushes. It is a beautiful landscape but very flat, without considerable elevations.
We drive south. Only smaller villages interrupt the landscape from time to time. Some few industrial plants also lie next to the railway line.
We pass Zawiercie, Lazy, Dabrowa Górnicza Zabkowice, and Sosnowiec Glówny before we reach Katowice in Upper Silesia after about three hours.
We don’t see much of the city itself, only a church (Kościół Rzymskokatolicki p.w. Niepokalanego Poczęcia NMP), some houses and a shopping center (Galeria Katowicka).
But it is clearly recognizable that Katowice lies in an important industrial area (coal and ore). We see modern industrial plants but also old dilapidated factory ruins from the train. Obviously one leaves these until they decay on their own.
Shortly behind the city of Rybnik we cross the border from Poland to the Czech Republic and reach Ostrava in the Moravian Silesian region after 4 hours 40.
Ostrava is the third-largest city in the Czech Republic. It has also suffered from structural change. Heavy industry has come to a standstill. Service and tourism are in the foreground today. Ostrava and the surrounding countryside suffered heavily from the environmental disruption and the fine dust pollution.
Environmental protection programs, such as the replacement of all coal stoves in private households, reduced particulate pollution to 2% of levels in the 1980s.
What is also striking for us is that we are no longer making as fast progress as from Warsaw to Katowice. We also often observe track construction work. Sometimes we have the feeling that rails of different track widths are guided in parallel. Something we have already noticed in the Baltic States.
The Russian broad gauge system is increasingly being replaced by the European standard gauge network. At the same time, the tracks and bridges often have to be renovated or extended.
Of course, this has consequences for tourism. Most tourism traffic is handled by buses, vans, and planes. But it also has consequences for the military alliance. NATO does not yet seem capable of transporting troops and heavy tanks quickly to the Baltic States in the event of a crisis.
We continue our journey already in the light of the setting sun and pass the cities Olomouc and Pardubice before we reach Prague 7.5 hours after the departure in Warsaw.
Please read on > Prague on a Sunday
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