Finally, a bus picked us up and drove to the Polish border. Border control took about two hours, they really took their time. But I didn’t care, because they played a movie on the in-bus television screen. It was a Russian remake of the action movie “commando” (1985), called “День Д”(Day D), brainless entertainment.
It took only a few more hours to Katowice, where I arrived at 3am Polish time. A very unfriendly man sent me away when I asked to stay in the small bus station’s waiting room. Shame on him, one week before Christmas. So I walked to the “Katowice” hotel, an ugly highrise near a roundabout, and the concierge let me stay in the lobby. I sat down on the decent yellow sofa and almost fell asleep. As my dozing was noticed, he tickled my shoulder and told me that I could stay there, but not sleep. I didn’t want to torture myself trying to stay awake, and at about 7:30 I left the building. In a cafe, after a roll and a cup of coffee, I woke up and started my day. They let me leave my backpack there until noon, and I walked the city of Katowice, which was, as my host later affirmed, quite uninteresting. Streets, a cemetery, concrete buildings from the eighties. After picking up my backpack I spotted a man with a violin under a viaduct. His awful howling (he really couldn’t play) mixed with the traffic tumult and I decided to ask him if I couldn’t play a little. So he gave me his violin, and old instrument which wasn’t bad at all, and I started playing Beatles, Bach, Vivaldi, Simon and Garfunkel, Bob Dylan, Smetana, and some Christmas carols (he had some scores written on paper). I enjoyed it a lot, and played for about two hours. Many people donated and a little dream had come through for me: helping an unable vagabond musician with making money. He liked to give me something, though, and I walked away with 10 sloties and a bar of chocolate.
I had a simple meal in the centre and met my couchsurfing host, Maja, whom I could connect to immediately, and we got involved in a good conversation that lasted until very late that night, and cheered us up, to the extent that Maja thought she would die laughing, and I replied “Well, than I write on my blog: Since my host had passed away the next morning, I had to find my way to the station all by myself, which was not easy.” We had the same macabre sense of humor.
The next morning I got up at six and went to the airport. There was nothing to worry about, it was all too easy, and I wrote a few lines over a good cup of coffee in the departure building. The flight to Eindhoven was two hours. I decided to hitchhike to Tilburg, where my dad lives, and believe me, that was very, very easy. The first driver who stopped at entrance road of the highway A2 took me with her, and I arrived eary afternoon. I started to walk home and by coincidence saw my dad in his SUV – I was just in time to go buying a Christmas tree together…
Katowice to the Netherlands was originally published on Meandering home