The Frederick Chopin international airport of Warsaw was blanketed in fresh snow, the sky clear and sunny, the outside temperature -10 degrees. The Boeing B77… (remember drop the last numeral) kissed the piano keys ! Indeed I have yet to have anything but a smooth gentle touchdown in all my international flights! The airport was cavernously quiet on a Saturday at 11am. Being one of the first off the plane I reached immigration to face the obligatory 2 lanes: EU passports to the right everyone else left lane … in a few years time it will give me a wonderful sense of schadenfreude to think that British travellers will be forced to veer left.

Anyway I trotted along literally hundreds of metres of the mazed, roped off lane, a lone non EU citizen, to discover on arriving at the immigration hall, both lanes converged and in the end I was pissing in the wind, merging into a seething mass of Europeans!

Emirates managed to successfully book my luggage straight through to Warsaw, unlike Qatar last year who managed to lose my luggage once it left Adelaide and who achieved the unenviable feat of doing the same thing for Vivienne on a later flight!

I was met at the arrival hall by a willowy blond baby faced polish lad who escorted me to a shiny black BMW.. it was huge and all I remember when I enquired, was that it was a “7.. XX “ in other words, as with Boeing aircraft, it was a BMW 7… something! I explained that in underdeveloped Australia we were still at “BMW 3 …” something.

So efficient was the whole process that my blond Pole had me disembarking outside the Warsaw Central station by 12:15, an hour to the minute from touchdown, the train to Gdańsk leaving at 14:20.

I had a prepaid Eurorail pass , indeed costing some 400 euro for the month and several sectors, at least I assumed so. Presenting my voucher at the ticket window proved to be an exercise in futility. The man gave the distinct impression that in 48 years of exemplary service to the Polish Railway, the ticket I had presented was an an utterly new experience. It could have been a pawn shop ticket , a laundry list or a counterfeit Russian 1000 rouble note. -I think he favoured the latter having held it up to the light and turned it over several times. He disdainfully pushed it back through the window and indicated The service desk, uttering the word “English”. Eventually I was able to deduce that the counterfeit 1000 rouble note, was in fact just the seat reservation, not the actual ticket and furthermore because I was booked onto the Polish equivalent of a Japanese bullet train, there was a surcharge of 43 polish Monopoly money which I had to pay immediately lest I be downgraded to the local mail train. It has been all sorted, I have paid the excess and now sit in the Polish bullet train, 2 hours from Gdańsk and 28 hours from Adelaide.

The Q hotel room – Gdańsk