Pit stop: Warsaw

So the journey to Colombia pretty much started. On the 19th, with a one way ticket to Warsaw, as I had to get my VISA for a smooth and lovely 6 months experience in Colombia. Said goodbye to friends, listened to parents’ advice over and over again (I could repeat them in my sleep) and hit the road. By night, as I love it the most. Don’t worry, IR1664 (Iaşi-Bucharest night train), the Iaşi-Otopeni bus ride will never take your place in my heart.

And the airport joy
Fast-forward 6 bumpy hours later, it was 3:30 AM in the airport and already got people’s attention. Oh, c’mon guys, I’m just a 5 feet tall (or better said, short?) girl carrying 2 huge suitcases and a backpack. Nothing to see, move along, I’m fine. I somehow don’t think they believed me. But staring back at them pretty much did the trick. On my checklist of panic moments on the road: managed to panic a passenger going the same destination that we took the wrong bus from the gate to the plane. We suddenly weren’t that cold anymore. Turned out it was the right bus. Good job, Ioana, nailed it!

And the first Polish experiences
Landed in Warsaw the next day, which was the most intense day I’ve had here so far. First thing first, I used all the dirty words I’ve learned in 24 years just to feel better when I saw my suitcase broken. In my mind of course, because I’m a lady. It didn’t work, I still needed a new suitcase. Next, figured out how to get to the main train station to leave my broken and heavy stuff for a few hours, exchanged some money in the airport so that I could buy a bus ticket (lesson learned), occupied 4 seats in the bus with me and my luggage. Enjoyed the same look on people’s faces like I did in the airport back in Romania. But I smiled this time, I was alone in a foreign country (ah, the excitement!). Got rid of my things, then changed some buses to get to a bank and then to the Embassy. One of the buses was some kind of Speedy Gonzales, it took me directly to my destination without stopping at every single bus station. Nice guy who gave me the tip, thank you!

And the bank scene
So, you know how we always complain about the slow bank employees in Romania? They’re a universal sad truth. I was counting the minutes until my visit at the Embassy while the lady exchanged some money for me. It took her 20 excrutiating minutes. I’m pretty sure she was in a struggle with some inner demons in the process, making me a collateral victim. I could feel her pain, but I only cared about mine.

And the Embassy appointment
When she finally won the battle I literally ran to the Embassy (10 minutes away from the bank). I was 7 minutes late and cursed every single bad decision I’ve taken in my entire life so far. With no connection one to another, obviously. I got in and met the best Primary Secretary ever. The online system and the printer gave her some troubleshoot, because they decided I haven't had enough panic moments. System and printer, sit down and do your job, I’m not your person! 20 minutes later I was holding my passport with my very first visa on it. Suddenly, everything bad that happened so far just vanished. Who needs a suitcase to get to Colombia when you have the visa, right? Ok, that’s not entirely true. I left the Embassy with hugs, kisses, tips&tricks, phone numbers and a bag with promotional materials of Colombia from the Primary Secretary. If all the Colombians are as nice and warm as she was, I might not leave that country. I’m ready to take the risk of wanting to stay.

And the rest of it
Got the visa, a place to stay, a new suitcase and a smaller budget than I expected (damn you, airport services!). I’m also crying for my favourite local coffee in Starbucks shops so I can get a decent WiFi connection to let my people know I’m alive. Warsaw, good thing you have your charming local bars with weird live music and handsome guitar players. But the Polish people who hit on me by talking about Herta Müller and their personal pity for our communism times in a subway station are not that charming. Nor the panic moments when a metro employee said some freaky Polish words in a microphone and then everyone rushed to the exit, leaving policemen behind at every corner.

And the end
It’s freaking cold out here. I know, I’m still in Europe, not for long though (take that, February!). But it’s a nice kind of cold, the one you enjoy walking alone in a new city, taking photos and mental notes. Only 2 days left, so I’m off to take the most out of them.


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