I mentioned before in a post about Tampere, Finland that I’m inspired by industrial landscapes. Rail yards definitely fit that bill. When we pulled out of Wroclaw Main I had my camera ready. Although the station looked newly remodeled, the train itself was a classic. This five-hour journey through southern Poland reminded me of my numerous long trips on old Soviet trains.
The rail yard had several tracks intersecting each other, railcars in disrepair, graffitied concrete barrier walls, and smokestacks beyond the walls. Inside the train, the faux wood paneling lined the carriage. The large windows allowed the afternoon sunlight to fill the southern-facing side of the train. Our destination was Krakow.
There were two older men already in our compartment when we boarded. I must have mustered a half-decent Dzień dobry that the man responded by to me in flowing Polish like I could understand him. We hoisted our backpack up to the luggage rack above the seats and settled in for the journey.
We’d pass mostly through corn fields along the way, occasionally coasting through a grove of birch, fields of balled hay, and villages. Soon the men grew curious and asked me if Juno was from Vietnam. “Korea” I responded back. Soon after that they figured out I wasn’t Polish and were slightly confused. United States I told them.
“Dziadek Dziadek Polska” I explained, raising my hand higher and higher, trying to express that somewhere along the line, someone from my paternal Grandfather’s side had left Poland for the New World.