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Ostroda to Elblag Canal Trip

HelenaWojtczak 28 | 177  
1 Oct 2008 /  #1
My recent trip to Poland was built around wanting to go on this famous canal trip. I was so looking forward to it! I looked at photos and films on Youtube, etc.

Went on the trip Sunday 21 Sept. Bad start: it was raining, but I put up my anorak hood and was determined to sit on top deck as long as I could bear it!

They only run the trip if there are 20 people going on it, and you have to phone them at 7am to find out. I was glad to hear they had enough people. When I arrived there was only me and three others, then just before sailing an enormous and noisy group of about 50 middle aged Poles arrived. By 8am a crowd of them (male) was on top deck pouring out and knocking back vodka shots, accompanied by cigarettes. As the boat set sail I realised with horror that these were to be my companions for the next 11 hours.

I cannot abide cigarette smoke, it makes me want to puke up, and usually in these circumstances if one or two people smoke some metres away it all blows away in the wind, especially as I find that these days smokers are very careful to politely keep smoke away from others. Not this crowd; eventually there were about 40 smokers on deck, uncaring as to where they blew their smoke.

Forced downstairs into the cabin by 9am, I searched for a seat. By now half the group was half-drunk. They didn't have any interest in looking at wildlife etc, just talking and laughing really loudly and pouring shots of vodka. They didn't even look out of the windows. One guy had a shot glass on a ribbon round his neck! By 10am the cabin resembled a loud and raucous bar, male and female shrieking, shouting, and some groups even started singing.

I sought refuge with the three passengers not with the group: an American woman, a Polish woman who lives in the US and her brother, who lives in Poland still. It was at times impossible to conduct any conversation with them, even though were were sitting so close around a table, because the drunken Poles were so loud. I truly was shocked to see people drunk at 9.30am.

And so it went on. When the exciting bits happened, I went upstairs to watch, photograph and film the proceedings, but there were so many in the rowdy group that I could barely get to the rail to see or film anything. The group members were totally selfish and thoughtless. Many stood with their backs to the rail, in other words they were not interested in watching what was happening, they were on top deck for one reason only: to smoke. And every last one of them did, as well, so you can imagine how horrible it was for me. I could hear a lot of swearing among their normal banter and chat, shouting to each other, grabbing each other and messing about like a bunch of unruly schoolkids.

Eventually they were each given a plastic bowl of zurek then a polystyrene plate of lunch (kotlet and potatoes and surowki) and sat downstairs to eat it, then about half of them fell asleep, lolling about all over the tables and benches downstairs, snoring and farting, while those still awake were still drinking and singing.

Eleven hours. Yes, eleven hours later we all got off at Elblag. They all returned on the bus, I went to Gdansk by train.

Well this one met with stoney silence!

szarlotka 8 | 2,208  
2 Oct 2008 /  #2
Maybe it was because your description of the day left us feeling that we've all been there! It's a shame the trip you were so looking forwards to was marred by their behaviour.
OP HelenaWojtczak 28 | 177  
22 Oct 2008 /  #3
So Szarlotka are you saying that it's quite common for this kind of trip to be taken over by large groups of drunken Poles? I don't want to misinterpret what you say.
szarlotka 8 | 2,208  
22 Oct 2008 /  #4
So Szarlotka are you saying that it's quite common for this kind of trip to be taken over by large groups of drunken Poles?

I was saying that we've all had trips spolit by drunken yobs. My experiences of such days were not in Poland. Some in the UK, one notable nightmare on a boat trip in Greece and the trip from hell in a train in Siberia come to mind
Magdalena 3 | 1,837  
22 Oct 2008 /  #5
like a bunch of unruly schoolkids

And that's exactly what they were ;-) You had the bad luck to share the trip with one sort of field trip or another (could've been a farmers' co-op on a day trip for example)... All these people were probably as happy as kids to be away from home, away from work, away from everyday responsibilities. And as they knew no other way to relax than drinking and shouting, they drank and shouted. This is not to excuse them in any way, but I can understand them (sort of). The only thing is, they should have reserved the boat for themselves, and not inflicted their infantile joy on the rest of the world at large ;-)
mazzastaffordsh 2 | 68  
31 Oct 2008 /  #6
My family and I were taken on this trip by our Polish cousin who lives in Lebork. It is a shame you trip was spoiled as we had a fantastic trip but time was limited so we left at Maldyty and caught the train back to Elblag. Please don't think too badly of the Poles maybe this crowd were not so good but in our experience we have only had wonderful times in Poland. If you enjoy travelling in Poland try the area of the Slowinski National Park, or the old fishing village of Kluki, the dunes of Leba, the Hel Penninsula and Westerplatte, the Tri Cities of Gdansk, Gdynia and Sopot. Malbork Castle. All areas that we particularly love. Don't give up on the country because of some poor behaviour of a few people. I am from the UK and we have plenty of bad experiences during our travelling here but you cannot allow other people to spoil what should have been a fantastic experience.

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