Poland Photo Diary: Old Friends and New Favourites

poland photo diary krakow old town square view from town hall tower

I can only apologise for having been silent on this blog for nearly a year! To make up for it, I bring you my Poland Photo Diary from this summer! Naturally, I’ve been on the road once again. So far this summer, I’ve visited Valencia to see a friend nearing the end of her Year Abroad, and gone to Italy for a week to visit Florence and Venice with my boyfriend, but right now, I’m keeping to my roots in more ways than one, backpacking solo in Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary.

It’s lovely to be back in a region where I feel so at home, whilst simultaneously being strange to visit family in the Czech Republic without my mother accompanying me. Despite branching out to travelling with friends and my partner, this is still primarily a blog for solo travel, so I’m going to get cracking and tell you all about my month in Central Europe. Well, show you – in this Poland Photo Diary!

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My Top 10 Grateful Moments in… India!

Travelling, as we all know, has its highs and lows. Unfortunately, when we’re out there, sometimes we get so stuck on dwelling on the little things which are going wrong, that we forget how lucky we are to be able to travel in the first place. I know that I, all too often, find myself complaining, even if it’s just in my head. Maybe I should make it a resolution to go just one day without moaning about something, even if it’s just an internal gripe.

Once you accept that things won’t always go off without a hitch, you’ll cope much better. Trust me. Because in the end, most of it is magical. Nearly every cloud has a silver lining. Nearly. And at the end of a bad day, you just might find something which will make you smile. I always do.

In no particular order regarding their amazing-ness, here are my top ten most grateful moments from my two trips to India these last couple of years… As far as I can think of right now!

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A Guide to Surviving Train Travel in India!

I’ve taken a few trains over the course of my travels in India over the last couple of years, and whilst there are few things you can do to prepare, the journeys will never fail to surprise you. Be it delays, unexpected fights over your assigned seat (or lack thereof), or frantically grabbing your belongings to leap off the train at an unmarked station, there’s a lot to take in, and some things you just have to take in your stride…

Without further ado, here is my introduction to train travel in India, and what you can do to make the most of your journeys!

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Returning to India: Delhi, One Year On

To anyone who asked me about Delhi after my trip last year, I always said the same thing. It’s a place you love or you hate, I said, and thankfully I took to it straight away. It was true – from the moment I stepped off the Shatabdi Express train from Dehradun in the middle of June, 2015, I knew there was something different about this city. I have also always said that I am eternally grateful that I had two months to acclimatise to India in Dehradun whilst volunteering with the Saheli Trust, rather than coming straight to Delhi and being thrown into the deep end. I don’t think I’d have coped nearly as well in the capital if that had been the case.

More than one year later, I’m back again. Or I was, for a day or so. Whilst last year I spent more than a week in Delhi, this year, it’s been a flying visit before moving on to Dehradun for a couple of days to visit, and then catching a plane to Mumbai (please, save me the 40-hour train journey!)

So, a few things have been different. I’m no longer wide-eyed and unaccustomed to Delhi traffic, and I have even less patience for touts and over-eager rickshaw drivers. More on that later.

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Why is the fun gone? Coming home, feeling guilty and dragging my heels…

Sigh. *paces* Harumph. *sits down heavily in armchair* Pfft. *blows fringe out of face* So I’ve been home for nearly a month, and guess what? I’m moving out tomorrow, back to Exeter for another year at university, this time studying a brand new course which hopefully won’t make me want to hibernate all day in my room, eating cheese and crackers and whining about my abject misery to anyone who’ll listen. But never mind that…

I’m all packed – as usual with far too much stuff to take – and aside from the usual last minute panics and remembering things I forgot, I’m ready to head back for Freshers’ Week. Take two!

Trouble is, I’m feeling a little flat. I’ve mentioned this already. Before I got home, I was so full of it. So keen on writing, I bought a few more notebooks – always a necessity – to start journalling by hand whilst my laptop was out of action, I finished reading Eat, Pray, Love, and I couldn’t wait to get home, and start catching up on all my posts. The trouble is, it hasn’t really worked out like that.

Me and the fam after my return

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Inactivity notice 

Hey guys! Got some annoying news – someone tried to mug me last night and although I didn’t lose anything, my laptop charger fell on the road and something must have broken in it because it isn’t working! Laptop is dead so blogging on hold indefinitely except for maybe a few VERY short posts!! Activity will resume when I am home in August, unless I manage to get a new charger in that time!

24.4.15; DEHRADUN, India

On Thursday, I made it in after the morning session as I still didn’t feel great, and taught half a day in the school. The good thing about school starting and ending so early with only one short break, is that everyone is out by 1.30, and you have the whole rest of the day! I feel like I have more time than I know what to do with.

When I got back to the shelter today, there was a new boy sitting with Shruti and Dr Pandey; they were speaking to him in Hindi so I didn’t find out much about him for a while. His English was non-existent, though he later told me he wanted to learn. The boy had run away from home to earn money, but had ended up being pretty much enslaved in a local bakery where he worked for two months with no pay at all. He stayed for a couple of days, managing to make a bit of an annoyance of himself in terms of hanging around in my room and generally being a bit odd.

(I later found out that the boy was in fact addicted to drugs, and seemed to be causing some disruption and so was moved to another shelter.)

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