First leg: Bilbao – Paris – Berlin – Warsaw (04/02 – 09/02)
Here goes the first post on the road! This first part of the journey that will take me to the Far East started in Southwestern Europe, where Bilbao is located.
My first destination was of course Paris, where I had already been with my father when I was younger. I had quite an intense stay in Paris, full of activities and sights, thanks to my great host Gorka, a mate from Bilbao who lives there since 4 years ago.
I survived a night train with no bed from Paris to Berlin that took around 12 hours of journey, which I did on purpose so I can start getting used to spending long times in trains.
Berlin was a much more recent visit for me, even if it was in 2009 it seemed like yesterday. I had no trouble in walking around the places I easily took as already known and familiar.
These stays in Central European cities have much in common with my previous stay in London in January: big capitals, already seen, new perspectives, reunions with friends, etc. so the London trip can be considered a prologue to the Asian trip.
Warsaw was then the first unknown place I was getting to. And I really had a strange arrival, feeling totally lost in an underground corridor with lots of people going in every direction.
I didn't even know that there was no Euro in Poland so when I first ordered some food I thought prices were in Euro! But in fact one zloty is about ¼ of Euro.
Not knowing the language is another handicap I am not used to cope with, because normally I learn at least the basics so I can ask things and say hello, thank you and so, but I didn't take the time to do it in Polish, so I feel concerned that I force people to talk to me in English.
But I felt great walking around on my own, discovering the layout of a city I had never been to. I will talk more extensively about Poland in a different post.
Cold! A little warning for what awaits me further East. I found it very unpleasant, despite it is only 1 or 2 minus zero. But anyway, I could walk for many hours without getting indoors at any time and I endured this coldness. In any case, I am not using everything I brought against the freezing winter.
I cannot enter Russia till the 21st, so I must make time around. I am going South, to Krakow, which everybody says it's the most beautiful place in Poland, and then, given that Slovakia is next door, I am visiting Bratislava.
Vienna will also be added to the Western capitals that I have already been to and which I will visit before I leave Europe, especially to meet friends again :)
I have been meeting awesome people and old acquaintances on the way, so I can't complain.