Don’t ever put your bag in the back of a Polish minibus

After a very scenic train journey we arrived mid-evening in Zakopane and checked into Target Hostel, where we were reunited with Sami from Finland who we had met in Krakow. There were very few of us in the hostel as this resort town is only really busy in the ski season and the hiking months of July-October. Therefore after making some food it was a very quiet night in.

The next day we decided to take one of the cable cars in the area up to a viewpoint. The highest cable car in the area was unfortunately closed for repairs, but we were still able to get up fairly high on another and were greeted with fantastic views of Zakopane and the mountains surrounding it. Walking down a steep footpath back into the centre we stopped for a well needed beer! That night we went to a restaurant that served local food and left absolutely stuffed, having greatly enjoyed the food that was mainly meat that had been slowly roasted on a barbecue.

Up relatively early the next day we got on a minibus to Poprad, Slovakia at 9.15. We intended to visit Aquacity, a water-park there, before continuing to Bratislava on the train. Another scenic journey through the mountains ensued and we duly arrived in Aquacity around 2 hours later. We got off the minibus, looking forward to a few hours swimming in good weather. However, when the boot was opened to collect Dad’s bag (there had been no space for mine and so I had it with me on the minibus) it was nowhere to be seen. Very shocked and worried we tried to figure out what we should do. We wrote down a list of everything that had been in the bag, thankfully there was nothing of any value as that was all in our smaller bags. We had passed through the main bus station in Poprad just a few minutes before we arrived at Aquacity, and had only stopped a handful of times at smaller stops on the rest of the journey, so we thought that the bag must have been taken from there. Deciding to return to the bus station we aimed to look around the streets next to it, hoping that if someone had stolen the bag they would have realised it contained nothing of value and dumped it somewhere. We approached the driver of the minibus to ask if we could get a lift back to Poprad. He asked us what the bag looked like and so we said it was black and described its shape. The bus driver, though his English was very limited, told us that he thought he had seen a blonde woman around 30-35 take the bag off at one of the smaller stops. He pointed out which stop it was and we asked if he could take us there on his return journey. He said that was fine, clearly slightly embarrassed about the whole situation.

About 20 minutes later we arrived at the stop and started looking around trying to find the bag, thinking that it may have been dumped behind a building or a wall. It was looking very unlikely that we would find it. Approaching a small wooden hut in the corner of the car park in which the bus stop was situated I noticed a sign that said ‘Parking Attendant’. A man was sat inside and I suggested to Dad that we should ask him if he had seen anything. Dad was hesitant to ask but I decided that it was worth a try. Nearing the booth I suddenly spotted a black bag on the floor of the booth. Asking Dad to see if it was his it turned out it was, untouched and with everything inside! The only reason we can think of for this is that someone took the bag out of the boot to take their’s out and forgot to put it back in, thus leaving it in the middle of the car park where it was collected by the parking attendant who put it in his office.

Thanking our lucky stars we waited in a nearby cafe for the next bus back to Poprad, determined to not let the experience ruin our day and still enjoy ourselves and relax in Aquacity. Dad ordered a coffee and a shot of vodka to calm himself down whilst we waited. Needless to say he needed it! About half an hour later another bus bound for Poprad pulled up in the car park. We went to get on and as we did the bus driver asked us a question that we certainly knew our answer to: “Would you like to put your bags in the back?”

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