up and down and move it all around (in central europe) # part 1

oh, oh, oh… travelling is so cool, until you have to take a trip of the same route for the xxx time...

belgrade-gdansk, gdansk-belgrade. the first time I came to serbia, about 7 years ago ,was such a fun. the second and third and fourth also. later, being here was fun, but coming got simply boring – same cities on the way, same stations, same trains falling into pieces. you feel the movement and that’s cool, but there is no spark in all that any more: hey, budapest! surprise me, switch with paris! hey, slovakia! change mountains into a land of lakes! cracow, cracow, why are you cracow?
and now, I have to get to poland soon and I would so much like to send myself via an e-mail with a few siutcases attached…

now finding connections doesn’t make any troubles – there are low cost flights (unthinkable some years ago!). you don’t have to cross the border zu fuss to make it cheaper (as we used to do), you don’t have to call other countries to book a ticket – the great god of internet and credit card wizzard took a good care of it. but in case anyone ever searched the net for listed and checked not too expensive connections serbia-poland: here there are!
just beware - this is the old-style backpackers' sistem :)

1. buses

as far as I know there is only one direct bus from belgrade to warsaw (and katowice, if you’re interested) that goes every week, during the whole year. it goes all the way from poland to athens and stops in novi sad, belgrade and nis. and in skoplje if you’re heading down to macedonia. the price doesn’t kill – neither because it’s so hight nor low. you can book and check the details on adamis tours website.
it’s ok when you have a lot of luggage to carry with. in general, worth recommendation.
notice: in krosno (poland) you’ll be asked to move to a mini-bus, as all the passangers are divided in two – some go to warsaw, other go to katowice. no fuss with it.
the bus comes to serbia pretty much on time, but it came late any time I was heading from belgrade. take warm clothes if it’s winter – it’s very probable that you shall wait 1-3 hours on a parking place…

during the season you can find some other buses – many travel agencies have some spare seats in their package tour buses. all you have to do is find a travel agency that offers trips to the balkans, go and ask if there are some places left. sometimes you can find a really cheap ticket this way!
notice: it’s a package tour. if you’re lucky, the guid will tell you what you see outside the window:)

2. trains

if you want to make all the way by train, you won’t have much problem with it.
the easiest way: train warsaw-budapest and budapest-belgrade. fits great if you want to make a little stop in hungary. costs more than the opptions above. they are both of medium price, and medium comfort - you can pay extra and get a berth, but it’s not really a burgain any more...

you can also take a train going from belgrade to bratislava and from there catch a train to katowice (or cracow). the morning train to bratislava costs pretty much, it’s signed as the IC train, but it gives you a very bad feeling of being pushed into a lausy local train that stops in all villages on the way. wouldn’t recommend it… and as far as a train to katowice (or cracow) is concerned - there are some direct, but pretty expensive ones. I used to go through zilina (slovakia), but this connection doesn't exist any more:( well, you can always take an eurolines bus to cracow- it will cost you around 20 euro.

and remember - the majority of international trains of central europe are a bit of a disaster. I don't say that it is a rule - you can be lucky and get something nicer. this is just what I experienced with polish, czech, seriban, romanian, hungarian trains heading to other central europen countries. the difference appears when the final station is a western city... sad but true.

next part: mixed means of transport (cheapest way), flights, hitch-hiking and general tips ;)



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