You should have seen the sea of green I flew in on. Unknowingly, I picked to fly into Warsaw on Aer Lingus with a plane change in Dublin on none other than St. Paddy’s Day. Sometimes I couldn’t even tell if there was a person in the seat because their clothes were green, the cushions were green… green green green! Maybe that’s why I couldn’t sleep the entire trip. Whatever it was, I wasn’t able to actually celebrate said holiday when I landed in Warsaw because I was too tuckered to stay awake! Oh, Diary, it was quite the predicament.
However, I did make it out to see the city eventually, and what a city it is! (Diary, you’d love it!) The Old Town has such flair… such pizzazz… with ornate buildings sporting colorful walls that reach up high to the sky. It felt a lot like Austria, but with less mountains towering over us, making us feel claustrophobic. I couldn’t wait to visit all the museums!
And, Diary, what do we both love that makes a European city great? Kebab shops on every corner, that’s what! I swear, kebab shops are like Warsaw’s McDonald’s (I’ve only seen one) – you’re never far from one. Hey, I’m not complaining!
I know you were wondering about the language barrier before I left, and yes, it has been a problem at times, but there are ways to adjust behaviors to make everyone’s life easier. For instance, when ordering food, keep it simple. When I order a kebab, I just let them make it how they want instead of me asking for it without tomatoes, for example. I just have to spend a few extra minutes perfecting the meal before I can eat, but at least it was easier than trying to pantomime “leave off the tomatoes” in front of everyone.
I got very lucky the other day when a huge group of Canadians invaded my room. They sounded very un-Canadian to me most of the time until they started busting out their “outs” and “abouts” and then it was just absurdly stereotypical Canadian. I still laugh thinking about it. They invited me to tag along for the day, which was way better than walking around by myself. One of the Canadians comes from a very Polish family (she was actually born in Chicago – aka Poland outside Poland), so she is fluent and was our tour guide and translator. Even though it was terribly, terribly cold, we kept walking around Warsaw in search of this mermaid. Imagine the look on my face, Diary, when this is all we got out of the cold hike!
In order not to bore you with a long story, I’m going to close with saying there have been many highlights during my stay in Warsaw, but here are my top three:
1) The Warsaw Rising Museum – This museum is fantastic. Not only is it an interesting montage of information of the Polish fight against the Nazi oppressors in 1944, but it is also done in a very aesthetically pleasing way. This museum makes you want to look around and learn more about this piece of history while featuring movies, recreations, and even a large section on the postal service during the era.
2) Pierogies rock! – Polish-Candian girl took us out to a pierogi restaurant for an authentic dinner. We indulged in pierogies stuffed with meat, pierogies stuffed with potatoes and cheese, and pierogies stuffed with fruit for dessert.
3) The drunk guy in the mall. – We made a trip to the overpriced upscale mall, and while we were coming down the escalator, I see this man trying to go up…the down side. Now, at first I didn’t quite understand it. He wasn’t getting anywhere, and a very strong look of frustration took over his face. This guy was seriously trying to go up without ANY luck! When I passed him, I definitely got a strong whiff of alcohol. He almost fell on his face trying to do this. It took another level of escalator before any of us could process what just happened because really… was that for real?!
There you have it, Diary. I have decided to head to Lublin tomorrow, so I will definitely be writing more soon!