The “Getting to Auschwitz” saga

I’m on a bus for the approximately hour and a half ride to Auschwitz.

Before I reflect on that, I don’t think anyone has ever tried harder to get to Auschwitz. I have a ticket for a guided tour that starts at 10:30, and I wrongly assumed that the people at the train station would be familiar with a ticket like mine. I did my own research, of course, and I know there are three different stops at Auschwitz. I asked at the information booth and showed my ticket, which is for a tour once I get to Auschwitz. The lady at information told me to go to the ticket counter. The young woman at the ticket counter has to ask her colleague about my ticket because at first they told me I should leave the station at 10:30, which I knew wasn’t even on option based on the timetables on the website. They then told me I had to leave at 8:45, but then changed it to 8:30. I tried to pay for a ticket, but the woman kept saying 8:30 when I asked if I had to pay on the bus.

Long story short, the older bus driver wouldn’t let me on the bus, and it was 8:27 at this point, so I ran back to the ticket counter and excused myself in front of the line and the people being helped, and urgently told her I had 3 minutes, and the driver wouldn’t let me on the bus. She told me to wait, and then told me to go to information. There was no one at information so I ran back to the ticket counter. She ignored me, and I saw the information counter lady sauntering back to her desk. I told her the driver wouldn’t let me get on the bus, and she just said, “I don’t know,” and then continued to repeat the “gate,” G7. I realized I was getting nowhere so I ran back out to the stubborn bus driver, and he continued to shake his head until I took out my Polish money and gestured at it. Finally he said “12,” and I gave him 12 Polish zloty (plural?), and he shoved the change into my hand without looking at me, and let me on the bus.

I wasn’t expecting to get a free bus ride to Auschwitz, but the people I asked wouldn’t “let” me pay them. I tell this story because I’m sure I looked like an obnoxious American running back and forth, trying in desperation to pay someone to let me get on the bus to Auschwitz.

I don’t expect everyone to speak perfect English, but I had wrongly figured that they would be “used to” tourists showing them a ticket like mine.

This is hardly worth mentioning given where I’m going, but I wasn’t going to let anyone cause me to miss my tour.

Here we go.


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