Gdansk is a magical place, brought back to life by the dedication of the local people to rebuild the Old Town identically to how it was before the destruction caused by World War 2. It’s main industry, the of extraction of amber from the Baltic Sea, is still thriving and on the streets it’s possible to purchase your own amber jewellery souvenir.
Day trains are available but I chose the night train designated TLK operated by the Polish state operator, PKP Intercity, that leaves Gdansk Glowny at around 22:00 and travels south arriving at Wroclaw Glowny at approximately 06:00 (for tickets and timetables visit https://www.intercity.pl/en/). Both of these stations are in the centre of their respective cities so travelling by train overnight makes very efficient use of time. I opted for the couchette option which consisted of a room with three bunk beds with a pillow, blanket and sheet provided. This is unusual for Europe where couchettes normally have between 4 and 6 couchettes in a room so it was very quiet especially as there was only me and a Polish lady sharing (the middle bed was unoccupied).
The Conductor of the train didn’t speak any English so communication was a challenge with my lack of Polish knowledge. When it came to the time to wake me up his method of wake up call was an interesting one. He waved my ticket in my face. I can’t say this was the most pleasant way of waking up and I didn’t expect this having never been woken up this way before! He also woke me up at 05:15, but upon waking up I didn’t understand what he was saying to me. I assumed I would have to get off at the time printed on the ticket which said I would arrive at 06:15. The Conductor came back at 05:40 and I understood from him that we had arrived at Wroclaw and he wanted me off the train! I rushed off the train and then took a trip to the warm part of the station on the main concourse and had a bite to eat at the 24 hour McDonald’s before waiting for daylight to arrive! I did enjoy the comfort of this night train but my advice here is to be ready for an early start and perhaps a strange method of being woken up!
It certainly saves time travelling through the day and the cost of a hotel.
Wroclaw sits on the River Oder and the oldest part of the city dates back over 1000 years. Its setting is beautiful and it boasts squares with buildings with colourful facades – great for pictures.
Look out for the over 400 gnomes situated across the city all with their own professions!
This article was first published in November 2017.