Warsaw: The Phoenix City
Our group took it easy when we arrived two nights ago & ate at our hotel instead of walking a half hour into the city center for dinner.
Yesterday was my final full day in Europe. We started out with a tour of Warsaw at 9:00 AM. Our tour guide was very monotonous and did not provide a lot of stories to parallel what she was showing us. We did see the monument to Chopin, the fan zone for the Euro 2012 Soccer Tournament, and the old walled city of Warsaw, the Barbican. It was pretty short – only about two hours and a half. I think our poor tour guide affected how I feel about the city of Warsaw. I am not as amazed or in awe as much as I was in other cities of Europe. Our tour guide did not make the city come to life, so it feels like any other big city. My one takeaway from the tour is that it is absolutely amazing and a testament to the Polish people that their language survived. They were occupied for a period of over 100 years in which they had to speak either Russian or German. Polish was not allowed.
Monument to Chopin
After our tour, we grabbed lunch at a restaurant in the Old Town. Then, we walked around the old town and grabbed a few souvenirs. I left the group and went to wander around and take a few pictures. Then, I ran into a few other friends and grabbed a drink while we waited for our bus to pick us up and bring us back to the hotel.
Last night, we had our final group dinner in a traditional Polish restaurant where I tried a few things for the first time – none of which were my cup of tea. I’m happy I tried them, though, because now I know for the future. First, we had a mushroom and onion stew. I have tried mushrooms before and can tolerate them in moderation, but every bite was filled with mushrooms. Then, I had duck. I have NEVER had duck. It was okay, but I really don’t like dark meat. Now I know what it tastes like and that, if I need to, I can eat it. Then, we had a dessert that tasted like butter cake. My sweet tooth got the best of me and I ate the whole thing. After dinner, the group went out to a local beer garden, but I went back to the hotel since had to wake up at 4:15 AM for my cab to the airport.
This morning, I woke up and met my friends and we headed to the airport. We got to the airport by 5:20 AM and I was through security by 5:40 AM. I grabbed a coffee and donuts for breakfast and headed to my gate. My flight departed on time, so I’m happy.
The Warsaw airport itself seemed to be communist era airport. The colors were very plain and there was minimal extravagance. There were not a lot of space for stores. That was just my observation though.
Note: This post was originally published on June 21, 2012 in a blog entitled “Romeing Around Europe…Again” which chronicled my post-graduation trip across Europe.