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Fragments of a Journey

I come to the city of Wrocław, the former Breslau, by train. Until Pardubice, the train is modern and certain, spacious and sleek. In the arms of this doleful efficiency, I sleep. From Pardubice, we step through a looking glass, and the fabric and character of the journey are wholly transformed. The wagons, now subdivided into dark and cozy cabins, no longer slice smoothly through the cold morning air, they jostle and shake gently, a half-hearted rebellion against friction and gravity. A train of infinite patience, it pauses to stop at every hamlet, no matter how small, and heeds the whim of any local dweller to travel, from one whistle-stop to the next, on this particular day.