Witches, DJs and dancing in the aisles: on board the Culture Train from Berlin to Poland

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Musicians, dancers and a tarot-card reading artist animate the nearly five-hour journey to Wrocław from the German capital

Madame Ziemowit the witch nods and scratches her beard as I flip a tarot card, revealing the chariot symbol. Picking the chariot seems fitting, as the turban-clad sorcerer and I are on a train, having just crossed the border from Germany into Poland. Multicoloured lightbulbs adorn carriage windows, framing a green-blue blur of fields and rivers. Next to us a toddler, sitting in a mini-library by the loo, draws squiggles on an Etch A Sketch. A jaunty brass fanfare plays through the carriage speakers.

This is the Culture Train, which makes the four-and-a-half-hour journey between Berlin and the Polish city of Wrocław each weekend, and is surely one of the most creative and quirky railway services in Europe. Musicians, authors, DJs, teachers – and indeed performance artists adopting tarot card-reading witch personas – provide entertainment to passengers, who range from bum bag-strapped weekend trippers to Berghain clubbers on comedowns.

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