I had found a 10:00 train to Malbork and wanted that because it was a fast train, saving me time in the morning. When I went to the Kasa the woman there looked at my note and said, "Expensive." I told her it was OK. Got to Malbork and found I couldn't open the train door to get out. Noticed a woman at the very opposite of the car asking if I wanted help. So glad she was there or I might have ended up somewhere else!
Got on the platform and found the peron/platform area at Malbork was under major renovation. I followed the Exit signs and ended up at a deadend. Started all over again and finally had a woman for help for the route to leave. Made sure I knew the secret place to access the platform for my return trip.
Got a taxi to the castle. I had thought about walking, but the route looked complicated and there wasn't a single sign directing one to the zamek. In a combination of English and Polish I asked about a return trip to the train station, and the taxi driver gave me a business card.
Went to the Kasa and bought a ticket. My wrinkles must be showing, for without any questions at all the clerk sold me a senior citizen ticket! I asked about English audio guide and was directed around the corner. There I found a sign about gathering for English tours. The next was at 1:30, so I decided obiad was next on the agenda. I walked to a charming restuarant.
Walked back to the tour meeting area noting this view.
We began the tour by entering the Middle Castle. This area was used for visitors to the castle. From the beginning -- or at least when the castle was finished after more than 100 years of building -- about 400 guests could be accommodated.
Next we headed to the refectory area, the dining room for the guests in the castle. Because people ate with their fingers, not with cutlery, a hand washing area was provided outside the refectory.
A fire burned in this area of rocks.
The room itself looks like this.
Up a few more stairs and we were in a room to one side of the refectory. Our guide explained that not all guests were "friends." During meals the beer and wine flowed freely, (and we need to remember at this time too, that people did not drink water because it was not safe) and this door allowed the Grand Master to listen and see if anyone became indiscreet and spilled secrets while they were drunk. So what's new in the 21st century regarding spying isn't really new; it's only the application of different technology.
Next we entered the High Castle. This area was reserved for the Grand Master, the House Commander, and the Head Chef and 60 knight who were also monks. (Interesting, the Head Chef's job was not cooking but rather food tasting to provide evidence and reassurance that the food being served was not poison!)
Next the guide walked us to a poster showing what the Castle area had looked like at the end of WWII. The castle had been a Nazi fortress, housing many soldiers so was heavily assaulted by the Russian Army. When the Russian Army had the castle under control more damage was done to castle in an effort to destroy any of its religious features.
We toured the cooking area of the High Castle and then walked quickly through the living quarters for the Grand Master, the House Commander and the Head Chef.
We entered the "decision room." This was the room in which issues of great importance were debated and determined. The acoustics of the room are designed to promote echoing, an effort made to prevent someone outside the room eves-dropping.
Then we were off to the toilets, a room in which I didn't take any photos.
Found the toilet area really worked quite well, because it was over the moat which had continuous water flow.
The dormitory area is now used to display art. One very usual item is this altar piece.
Our last viewpoint was the chapel in the High Castle, still in need of restoration.
As you can see I had a through tour of the Malbork Castle. It took 2.5 hours which is long time to be walking, standing, and climbing up and down countless stairs! I was ready to leave. Took me a bit of puzzling to find the exit, not the same place we came in, but through the gift shop areas
My next task wast to find someone to help me call for a taxi because I was not certain anyone would speak English if I called, and my Polish isn't good enough to explain where I was and where I wanted to go with any accuracy.
The area around the Kasa was now very quiet. I was approached by a young man, university age, handing out flyers for a restaurant. I asked him if he spoke English. Yes. I explained what I wanted and handed him my Polish phone. About 10 minutes later a taxi appeared and I went back to the train station.
I went into the train station to learn what peron for my train. Wow! it's beautiful.
Great day visiting Malbork. Glad I waited this long, for last winter on PBS in the United States I watched a series of programs about castle offensive and defensive strategies. That knowledge made this visit much more meaningful.