Day One: Ithaca-Washington Dullas-Munich-Wroclaw
It’s nothing but a normal Monday morning. I actually got up a bit earlier than I usually do, of course not because I’m eager to work on the first day of Thanksgiving week, but I’m finally travelling to a dreamland of volleyball – Poland, or the whole Europe in general I bet.
Unlike the last trip outbound Ithaca to Chicago five month ago, which was awfully disturbed by the bad weather, this trip went quite smooth. It was a little cloudy in the morning in Ithaca but when our flight took off it was all bright and clear. After a brunch snack at Newark Liberty, I diverted to Washington where my flight to Munich is awaiting. It turned out to be “awaiting” as at the time of scheduled departure, the aircraft hadn’t landed yet! I guess now you know the difference between United and a German airline. Yep, punctuality always means nothing.
Anyhow, since I decided to take advantage of a United club pass in the first place, it resulted in me staying in the club for another hour, which is not a good thing at all after you witness how awful the refreshments are distributed in the club – seriously, you’d lose faith in an airport lounge if you’re a regular customer of United club. At around 6 oclock, finally I was on my way to Munich.
Cabin service is typical United style to nothing to say. Interestingly the gentleman sitting next to me is going to Berlin for vacation/business. His wife is a biologist and he works in computer science. If you knew a little more about my current situation you’d understand we could have much to talk. However since we both were kind of tired and getting some sleep on board is important for getting over the jet lag, we both fell asleep (or more accurately forced eyes to close) for a couple of hours before we land on the Deutschland.
The passport check was surprisingly smooth as I was warned that there’s precedent history that German officers sometimes reject Chinese passport holders, which fortunately didn’t happen to me. After checking in my flight for Wroclaw, I popped out the airport and jumped on a train to Munich city.
As much as I was deeply impressed by so many statues of historical celebrities, so many magnificent architectures, so many breathtaking churches around the Mareinplatz, the only individual I really looked forward to seeing is my good buddy Julian. We haven’t seen each other since a year ago when I flew back to China after the Christmas party before he returned to Munich for good. So this trip turned out a perfect chance to catch up with our brilliant German dude. We had a crazy rush walk in the Munich city center before we had a traditional German cuisine, which is also Julian’s favorite, suckling pig with mash potato dumpling for lunch. Normally when I’m in jet lag I can’t eat too much. However, one can hardly imagine how tender and delicious that pork steak was! I managed to finish most of the pork and didn’t feel anything terrible in my stomach, thanks to the unforgettable aromatic beer I had. That was absolutely the best beer I had in my entire life.
The brief visit of Munich concluded in a sentimental farewell to Julian. As my Lufthansa cityline started to taxi, the real show meant to commence.
So here’re a few facts about airlines. In China basically all commercial airlines provide complimentary meal services, while in America you need to pay for everything. So I was kind of touched when Lufthansa provided snack service on a 1-hour regional flight from Munich to Wroclaw. What I also didn’t realize is that even though it’s no longer in day light saving time, it got dark already around 6pm in Wroclaw. Commuting from airport to Wroclaw city is carried out by a bus. I sat by an old gentleman whose son happens to be a teacher of Polish in China so we definitely had a lot to say, such that the 1-hour ride didn’t seem too horrible.
So now I’ve been in Poland for two days and this is what I found about travelling in Poland if you speak only English:
1. Most people can speak English or at least understand English on some level. Young people are normally more educated in English.
2. If possible, speak English slowly and use easy words. Sometimes the accent might be a problem so do best to grasp the key words.
3. To communicate with Poles in English (like when you sit by someone on a train), it’s a good idea to find someone cute.
4. Because if they don’t speak English well, they tend to smile, which makes them even cuter.
At around 7pm, I found my hotel and was welcomed by an adorable receptionist. It was great that I felt sleepy at 10 since that means I was adjusting my jet lag. But the only essence of a content sleep was the highlight of the day – I received my packages from online ordering, in which are jerseys of Polish national team and PGE Skra Belchatow.
At that moment, life just couldn’t be any better, could it?