WARS

No, nothing to do with killing people, except perhaps in the event of an outbreak of food poisoning but that’s unlikely because….

"I deduce my dear Watson that the food at WARS is of the highest quality"

“I deduce my dear Watson that the food at WARS is of the highest quality”

The nearest translation I can come up with of what WARS means is “WAgons with Restaurants and Sleeping”., in Polish Wagonów Sypialnych i Restauracyjnych.

Shares in WARS are owned 50,02% by the national railway company, PKP, and the rest by the state treasury. The state treasury also owns 80% of the shares in PKP so I think it is fair to just call this a state owned company and their job is to run the sleeping cars and restaurants on the Polish railway system.

I’m sure there are horror stories but my experience has always been good. I’m lucky that I don’t need a beer though, unlike my friend Michael, who praised WARS food but damned them for not selling beer in 2009 and then praised them for selling beer in 2012 and in between he loved the pork chops and (you guessed it) beer en route to Krakow in 2011.

Like Michael, I do enjoy sitting in the WARS carriage and could easily spend the whole journey there no matter what seat I’ve been allocated. There’s more space and more air too. Those seating carriages can get pretty stuffy and if you’ve got strangers sharing the compartment it’s more or less impossible to get consensus to open the window. You’ve got the world wandering buy in WARS but if you should get lonely the (often husband and wife) teams managing the WARS or one of the chirpy trolley girls always seem happy to have a chat – as much as your language skills allow. As long as you’re comfortable leaving your bags alone in the compartment (unless you have a minder) then I’d say WARS is the place to be.

The ordering hole.

The ordering hole.

My favourite train meal is breakfast and the scrambled eggs that WARS serve up are usually pretty darn good. Such was the reason for my consternation when reading the menu on my recent trip to Katowice. The train was heading from Warsaw to Budapest and seemed to be very much geared up for Hungarians. The primary menu language was Hungarian and, it turns out, so was the cooking style. I ordered the nearest equivalent to jajecznica I could find and Pani Hungarian Cook disappeared down her tunnel of a kitchen with a purposeful stride. What arrived on the plate resembled a sort of pale colour scrambled egg porridge. My heart sank. I’d been looking forward to this.

The good news was that whilst not quite hitting the spot it was nothing like as bad as it looked. I’d be happy to hear from any Hungarian scrambled egg experts if this ghostly porridge is the norm and how they manage to get most of the yellow colour out of the eggs? Is there a special kind of grey Hungarian chicken?

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