Dave's Prague/Poland Trip
Sunday the 9th- train to Warsaw
My best interaction with native Poles happened by accident. I was running late to the train of course, and there was a line for tickets, where there was none
yesterday. Looked like I was going to miss this one, when a guy (Peter) said he had extra tickets becuase friends didn't show up. He said the same
thing to a girl in front of me (Ania), and we were off to the track to try and make it.
It turns out there was a holiday special where you could get 4 tickets for around 160 zlotskys, vs the regular price of about 85 each. So by doing this on a
Sunday round trip he could make a little money, very motivated.
He turned out to be quite the energized comedian, reminding some in the car of Borat. While conversation was initially in Polish, after I started talking a
little effort in English was made. We had a great time passing the time on the train, and it makes sense why I barely made attempts at a single Polish
word- the language is hard as hell. For instance, there is a neighborhood in warsaw where they set up a sand beach over the summer- trying to pronounce
it I said "chipke" (which is a vulgar word for pussy), then se*shipke (OK this one means "fast cheese"?), and finally I think ssss-schip*ke is close to what I
meant to say. Craziness.
Here we part ways at the train station, with the enormous
Palace of Culture & Science in the background
While guidebooks and websites say the Poles hate the place, which given history makes sense, I thought it was certainly the most distinctive
building in the city and something that could be talked up as a landmark.
Stayed at MDM Hotel
You can see the review I made for
Once I got settled in the sun was almost down, but I wanted to get something productive done.
The Museum of the Warsaw Uprising was recommended by folks,
so I motivated to catch the last two hours there, cabbing back and forth, and it was well
worth it (it's also free on Sundays too).
So I felt this was really interesting, well done, and educational. I for one had forgotten that Germany invading Poland is what started WWII-
as an American you tend to think of Pearl Harbor. Also I never realized how much Poland got rocked- first Germany from the west and then from thier "friend"
Russia from the east.
Everyone knows at a minimum by reputation what a bastard
Hitler was, good to get a refresher about how bad
Stalin was too.
A movie starring Kenneth Branaugh and Tom Cruise about this incident should be coming out soon.
I like this one a lot- display of arm bands worn by the resistance members.
This restaurant was right next door to my hotel,
so after talking to local mmmmm I hit this place around 11pm before it closed. It looked like a
popular beer drinking spot, and I had kind of a tasteless schnitzel and fries below. Younger kids with good English working there.
Monday the 10th
Slept late and missed breakfast. Another cold and rainy day.
View down the street from the hotel on Constitution Square
Went to ATM close by, then a KFC right there- had couches by the windows, I got the new guy in training and took forever.
They had original recipe here (Krakow didn't).
I go by the Palace again to go up the observation deck, and with the
grey rainy weather there was nothing to write home about.
I eventually make my way to the Old Town area
Very small Christmas market, cute area considering it was all rebuilt after WWII, lots of cute little restaurants though while I was there not a lot of
people walking around. I found one store where I picked up a bunch of awesome unique Christmas cards for about $1 each.
Below you see the Monument to the Warsaw Uprising
with the Polish Army Field Cathedral
in the background. I feel this is a really cool, awesome sculpture.
After hanging out with Diana I would have dinner at the Vietnamese restaurant down the street from the hotel. I often felt like I was the first Asian person
a lot of the Poles had ever seen. In Krakow I spotted one Asian guy who was out for the night with business associates. In Warsaw I walked by one black woman
on the street, saw two black guys in the Vietnamese place, several Vietnamese workers there, and of course the two Malaysian guys on the train. That is my
full list of non-white people in Poland, kind of like when I had Idaho/Montana for my sales territory.
Tuesday the 11th
Czech Air #777 9am Warsaw Prague 10:10am
#50 11am to 2:15pm
Delta #5203 JFK 6:25pm to 10:45pm AUS, free upgrade to first class
$1 = 2.5 zlotys