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A proposal in Krakow ...

Well quite a lot has happened since my last post.

Please if you've got a chance, read through it, or if you don't, feel free to skip through to the bottom.

We got our first overnight train to Berlin from Paris. It was a couchette sleeper, 6 to a cabin, very cramped. For us though it felt like the start of the adventure!

None of us were prepared for what it would be like sleeping on a train, I got a bit of a sleep which may have been more than Paul or Jess. When we got into Berlin it took us a few (tense) minutes to figure out the trains before we could get the right one to where our hostel was. (S-Bahn - overground, U-Bahn, underground)

Our hostel was fantastic! Pegasus hostel, near Ostbahnof station. For €16 pppn we got a huge room, free internet, decent hot showers (although they were shared) and there was a supermarket across the road selling all those lovely (cheap) german beers.

Anyway as we all didn't get much sleep we spent the first day snoozing and lounging around the hostel. The second day we spent visiting the tourist traps (Brandenburg Tor/gate, Reichstag, Checkpoint Charlie etc). Third day we visited Sachsenhousen concentration camp, its just outside Berlin. A very sobering experience, and I think a must (visiting a concentration or extermination camp) when visiting Europe - just to remind ourselves. On our first night I treated Jess and Paul at a Bavarian restaurant on the west side of Berlin. Just remember - the white munich sausages should be eaten without the skin! (The waitress giggled herself stupid for 15 mins at our "mistake" !!)

Oh before I forget - before we went to Sachsenhousen Paul and I did our dancing thing in front of the Brandenburg gate in our kilts - I promise we'll send videos at some point of all our dancing along this trip.

For our last day in Berlin, Paul and I nipped down and mailed some stuff home/changed some money into zloty (Polish currency) and then Jess and I went and saw the holocaust memorial (beside the Brandenburg gate). After that we headed back to the hostel and chilled out while we waited for our next train.

As it turns out, our train was late. It turned up two minutes before it was due to leave, we showed our ticket, hopped on, then it left! No mucking around, that was it - train pulls in, we get on, train pulls out.

Something else we weren't really prepared for - border passport controls. After being on the train for an hour, and getting ready to go to sleep, there was a knock on the door and two very serious officials requested our passports. There was much "hmmmm"-ing and flicking through and looking at our faces before they finally decided to stamp them. In the end, its just like going through passport control at an airport. The difference is the official is right there in your face and sometimes (like I was) you are in your pyjamas and are in bed!

I can honestly say I slept better on that train than on the Paris - Berlin train, even though there were more stops and starts etc. Paul and Jess didn't though. When we arrived in Krakow, one of the owners of the apartment we were renting met us at the platform with a sign "Mr. Stephen".

A quick word on our apartment in Krakow - AWESOME VALUE FOR MONEY. All up it has cost us 425 polish zloty, which is about 68 british pounds. For this Jess and I have an entire room to ourselves, with a balcony, free satellite tv and we share a HUGE bathroom and shower with Paul (who has his own bedroom). We get free breakfast and they've given us an extraordinary amount of help in getting around Krakow and getting things done. If you ever think of going to Krakow please please allow me to recommend them.

Jess and Paul had a quick nap in the morning then we spent the afternoon wandering around the streets of Krakow, visiting the market square and having a huge meal in a polish/italian restaurant. With the sun going down we had a quick look around the "Wawel" Castle (Royal) and took the tram back to our apartment.

If you've read this far then keep on reading - it gets better =)

Well on our second day in Krakow the weather was absolutely miserable. I decided to wear my kilt anyway because I had a special reason to. I'd asked Paul to give us a bit of time alone so we could go have a look at the Cathedral and Castle alone. I however had an ulterior motive, most of the people I know knew, though as Jess and Paul read my journal most of my LJ friends wouldn't know that I was planning on proposing to Jess. (In retrospect I should have told Paul).

So we wandered up to the castle and I waited for the right moment (unfortunately the rain didn't stop falling!!). I managed to find an archway off from the cathedral and after waiting what seemed like an eternity for Jess to finish looking through the cathedral I finally managed to drag her down. I did have some stuff that I wanted to say but in the end I forgot it all and I just confessed to wanting to ask her something and showed her the box, before of course getting down on one knee and asking her to marry me.

I can safely say Jessica had absolutely no idea that I was going to ask her, as evidenced by the look on her face when I pulled out the box. As I kneeled there waiting she took stock, and asked me to ask again. I did and I can happily say her answer was a resounding "Yes!".

In case I didn't make it clear enough, I would like to make it official that Jessica and I are now engaged to be married.

Afterwards we managed to make it clear to Paul (I had to be quite blunt about it actually - Jess showed Paul the ring, told him I had given her the ring, and he still didn't get it) we headed down to a little Georgian restaurant and Paul bought us some sparkling wine to celebrate.

Thats about us all up to date then! We leave tomorrow afternoon for Warsaw, we have our tickets in hand (about 80 zloty each). We'll be staying overnight in Warsaw then catching an early train to Moscow, through Belarus. The next time you hear from me, we'll be in Moscow.


The archway I proposed in

Click on the picture to see a small gallery about it.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 9th, 2007 06:43 pm (UTC)
Feb. 10th, 2007 11:34 am (UTC)
Thanks =)
Feb. 9th, 2007 11:45 pm (UTC)
Congratulations on your engagement!!!
And I hope the rest of your trip is just as fantastic :D
Feb. 10th, 2007 11:35 am (UTC)
All evidence suggests its just getting better as we get along. Paul's 26th birthday is on the 21st, when we'll be in Mongolia.
Feb. 10th, 2007 04:02 am (UTC)
Yay congrats, though Jess did beat you to breaking the news :)

Drinks when you guys get back to these sunny shores.
Feb. 10th, 2007 11:33 am (UTC)
I've got a decent picture of the ring up on my gallery now. (Ok, in a sec ... when I pull the camera out)

I was on the phone while she was on the Internet.

I'm frustrated as I still haven't been able to get through to my Dad.
Feb. 10th, 2007 08:03 am (UTC)

had a celebratory (spelling) drink for you and jess

well a carton actually
Feb. 10th, 2007 11:34 am (UTC)
Go easy champ. There'll be plenty of drinking when we get back to Mackay ;)
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )