Monday : From Warsaw to Piotrków Trybunalski by Train

For anyone wondering why they’ve seen this, I had pinched this photo for yesterday’s post, and as I got down much earlier, it was far more peaceful and sedate in the breakfast area. No masks were needed this morning and there were plenty of tables available, so I sat near to the food.

This is where I’ve spent the last four days, two nights in Ibis Budget on the left and two night in Ibis Styles on the right. They’re both reliable choices, around a 20 minute walk or so from the main station area.

Pomnik Chwała Saperom, or the memorial to Polish sappers. This is one of the most powerful of the war memorials in Warsaw, especially appropriate given what is happening to the poor people of Ukraine at the moment, not that so far away geographically.

The memorial was designed by Stanisław Kulon and was unveiled in 1975, to mark the 30th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.

Walking past the Palace of Science and Culture, the debate about whether to demolish this Soviet structure rumbles on. As I’ve written about before, it seems now to be part of the city’s history and I’m not sure much would be achieved by destroying it. But current events in Russia might change opinions over the coming years.

I decided against a decadent lunch and instead went for the cheap meal deal from KFC. I felt that I deserved it.

The KFC is located in the large shopping centre that is Złote Tarasy, located above Warszawa Centralna railway station which is where my train was departing from.

The departures board, I was going to Piotrków Trybunalski which was the 12:25 train.

Here comes the train, with everyone standing at the appropriate part of the platform (and note how politely they stand back) as Polish trains usually detail in advance which sector to stand in for each carriage. Unfortunately, the train came in back to front, so everyone had to rush to the correct part of the train, which was more challenging for those with lots of bags. This was an unusual mistake from the Polish rail network, which is generally reliable and although minor, it did mean a lot of people faffing about on the platform.

The reversing of the carriages caused some general confusion, and I got to my carriage with my reserved seat number which is printed on my e-ticket. I asked the person next to me if I was in Carriage 7, which is where my ticket was for, and she said I was in Carriage 6. That exchange was in Polish (of sorts), but then another passenger came over and said politely in English (recognising that this would be quicker for all concerned) that I was in the right place, it was Carriage 7. That then caused confusion and it was realised by numerous passengers that they were in the wrong area.

I’ve started on this little story as there’s a cultural thing here, as every passenger then tried to move to the correct seat on their ticket without complaint or stress. I’m not sure they’d do that in the UK, where seat reservations are often ignored and passengers just sit anywhere. I quite liked the order that existed here and also the politeness that everyone had when moving about seats to get to where they should be. I like to think that I was the cause of this chaos, but I suspect someone else would have questioned the carriage number soon enough.

It was a generally busy train for a couple of stops, then all became quieter. As my boring comment for the day, I realised that there’s a little slid out bin between every pair of seats, I was most engaged about that.

Arriving safely into Piotrków Trybunalski railway station, first constructed in 1846.

Watching my train about to depart again, it was still stubbornly hot, but I didn’t complain…. (not least as I didn’t have anyone to complain to).

I thought that I’d go for a quick meander around the city, this is one of the iconic structures and it’s located opposite the railway station. It’s actually just a water tower that was completed in 1926, but it’s got a grand design and so at least they’ve made an effort here.

This is a centrifugal pump and I know that as there’s a large sign in English next to it, explaining its history. It was produced by the Swiss company the Sulzer Brothers in 1928 and it was used at the city’s water purification plant until 2000. I must admit that I thought that this was a slightly odd thing to put on display, but I suppose it’s connected to the water tower behind it and some history is better than no history.

Cerkiew Prawosławna p.w. Wszystkich Świętych, or the Orthodox Church, which is a beautiful building, although is closed to visitors outside of services. It was constructed between 1844 and 1847, then expanded between 1867 and 1869 under the supervision of Ivan Vasilyevich Sztrem.

John Paul II park in the bright sun.

Unveiled in 1999 and designed by Krystyna Fałdyga-Solska, a sculptor who specialises in statues of Pope John Paul II.

I’m puzzled by all of this, I assumed that the sculpture, the statue of Pope John Paul II and this open space overlooking the city was from when he had visited the city. However, there’s no mention of the city in the official lists of Polish locations visited, even though the Pope travelled extensively throughout his homeland. I’m sure this will make sense to me one day…..

Klasztor Ojców Bernardynów, or the Monastery of the Bernardine Fathers.

One of the buildings in the city seemingly under repair, but I’ll have much more to write about my thoughts about this city in tomorrow’s ‘fascinating’ instalment.

And there’s the hotel that I was staying in, the Mercure, part of Accor Hotels. There was a friendly welcome at reception and the helpful lady at the counter mentioned that she’d upgraded me to a better room, which I thought was rather lovely. I then went to my room, after spending a good 30 seconds working out how to call the lift, and then couldn’t get in it (the room, not the lift, I had worked that out). I traipsed back down to reception and the staff member came up with me to show me how to work the door. She said there was an ongoing problem with the locks, but I slightly suspect I’d broken it or something. Anyway, at least we weren’t in for another Jerseygate situation where my hand didn’t work on the touch sensitive key pad.

The bed was an odd size, something of a cross between a single bed and a double bed.

There were just four rooms I think with a balcony, offering views over the city centre. I liked this arrangement very much. I like having a window to hear the streets outside, so having a balcony is an extra bonus. I still strongly dislike sterile rooms where the windows won’t open, Accor are generally very reliable for having opening windows (unlike IHG who seem to think it’s a great way to cut costs).

And from the other direction.

There’s a big brewery nearby, Browar Jan Olbracht Rzemieślniczy, and my welcome gift was this bottle of beer from them, a marvellous gesture I thought which was very appropriate for my needs. I was also given a welcome drink voucher, but saved that for the next day.

The room was long and narrow, the bathroom was behind me in this photo.

And a view of the city in the late evening from my balcony.

This is the first time that I’ve been to Piotrków Trybunalski and I’m starting to struggle to find larger places in Poland that I haven’t already visited. It’s easily accessible from Warsaw by train, and I paid about £7 for the rail ticket, booked the day before. There’s little point my mentioning that everyone I encountered seemed friendly, this is something of a universal truth when travelling in Poland, but I’ll restate that anyway. There’s something also quite appealing about watching darkness come down over a city (or at least when safely in a hotel room).