I saw a lot of very white people, some very impressive buildings and many, many, many shipyards. We discovered on our epic one hour and 54 minute journey from Berlin to Poland that neither country’s train operators believe in air-conditioning. The Polish also do not believe in vowels. However, my Polish is now near fluent — I can mangle the words for “yes”, “no”, “please”, “thank you” and “hot dog”.
Perhaps if my Polish had been better I would have understood that the hour-long boat tour that we had assumed would be of the gorgeous adjacent Szczecin Lagoon was actually a crawl round the dozens of shipyards and boat builders in the Port of Szczecin. Different. At one point, our mighty boat, the Peene Queen, swung out in the River Oder as if she was about to glide majestically through the reeds and make for the open lagoon, but no, alas, mere seconds later, we swung back round and the monotone commentary resumed as we passed hundreds more cranes and half-built boats. Conveniently, I understood absolutely none of the commentary and could instead amuse myself by counting dead fish and smirking at a four-year-old fellow passenger with a pirate costume and one of the most impressive mullets I’ve seen since arriving in this part of the world — quite a feat considering some of the classics that Berlin has on show.