Katowice, a city of 250,000 souls, is an hour train ride from Krakow. I passed near the city on my first trip to Lubliniec and heard whispers of its coal mine past and present. While I should have planned for more than a four hour trip, I secretly wanted an excuse to test out my new video camera and walk around. With a Monday journey to Latvia on deck, I didn’t want to overdo it, but I also wanted to be out and about. The ongoing goal is to visit somewhere new in Poland every two weeks, although due to a busy travel season ahead, once a month is more realistic.
Katowice did not disappoint. I found it super easy to navigate and in my case get to Spodek, the famous sports and entertainment venue where Metallica, Genesis, and The Cure played their first Polish concerts. I wasn’t there for a show though, but to catch a glimpse of the saucer-like structure. Any chance to see a potential UFO or a fake one was in order for this Star Trek fan. I loved the fact that Spodek was the largest indoor use facility in Poland for over forty years. Even now, it’s still number two.
After enough time to get in some shots, I meandered through the city and looked at the varied architecture. This one building in their center square caught my eye simply because it was blue. I found myself next in a beautiful church and eventually at a large park where a parachute jumping tower stood like a lone soldier. I’m still processing a day later how that tower was used prior to the German invasion in World War 2 and I’m confident again after the Red Army made their arrival to the city. Seeing a bit of history is always rewarding.
With the sun out and the temperature just right, I finished off my trip roaming the park and watching the various dogs at play. It was a great trip, although I could have done without the temperamental self register at the grocery store in the mall. For over five minutes that sorry bastard would not let me put my backpack in the bag area. Despite pressing the help button, no one was eager to give a hand to this American as the line grew. I confused a well dressed man as a store employee and gave him a wave only to retreat just as quickly as he brushed past me into the mall. I gave up, threw the bag on the floor, and the register finally let me scan my items; including a double scan of a loaf of garlic bread I thought needed to be ingested. Note to self, don’t buy that item again.
From there I thought it would be a quiet ride home. If someone told me I would be on a train returning to Krakow in a compartment full of rabid Backstreet Boy fans, I might have just laughed at the absurdity of it all. Truth be told, when I stepped on the train and slid past a corridor full of eager people ready to disembark at a future stop, I saw the pulled curtains and wondered what I was getting myself into.
With my camera in hand, a more confident me might have filmed as I pulled open the door, but I didn’t have a chance as one of the five women in the compartment let me in. There were a few giggles and immediately I was asked what my level of fandom was for the Backstreet Boys. Music boomed in the background. These five moms were at the end of a nine hour train ride from Szczecin. The almost empty bottles of water, Coke, and a fifth of vodka made that clear. I smirked at the empty plastic cups spread across the table and wondered if the right Kuiper son was traveling this day.
For the next hour, I had more fun on a train than on any other journey thus far in Poland. How is it not easy to join in with a choir of women singing BSB songs from the late 90s and early 00s? I can only imagine after selfie time and some impromptu dancing what would have ensued had I accepted a shot or two of vodka. I guess we’ll never know.
Traveling in Poland continues to be more exciting and rewarding with each trip I take. Here’s to keeping the momentum going and for more adventures to share along the way.
10/30/2022 03:55:14 am
Sounds like the perfect day adventuring! Love the story of the women on the train! It really shows we all share common bonds no matter what country we live in. Thanks for sharing!
10/30/2022 12:37:36 pm
Yes the common thread is "Everybody, shake your body, Backstreets back alright..."
10/30/2022 06:00:44 am
10/30/2022 12:36:48 pm
There will be more, that much I promise.
11/9/2022 12:39:01 pm
World more argue everybody rich consumer half.
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Sixteen plus years as a published author, Jonathan has been independent the last eleven. With readers across forty-seven countries and six continents, he has readers around the world. Writing across genres, he loves good dialogue and flawed characters.