Firstly — fly British Airways if at all possible. Three connections, 17 hours of travel, and I felt as safe as if I was in my bed at home. The longest flight, the jump from LAX to Heathrow, was on a 747-400. I love those planes. They’re huge, safe as houses, and can do everything but file your taxes for you.
So, no-one met me at Frederick Chopin Airport due to a bureaucratic glitch, but being a Big Girl, I hailed a certified cab and soon found myself at the Banach Center, obraz ul. Śniadeckich 8, 00-956 Warszawa, for those of you curious enough to google map it. After a heated discussion between my cabbie (scant English) and housekeeping (no English) I found myself in room 515-B, which was clean and pleasant, 15-foot ceilings with damask and embroidered silk curtains, a HUGE bath all to myself, quiet as a tomb, nice view of the courtyard — and 80° F at least. So, open up the lovely Euro windows (the kind that pull down from the top), put the fan on the floor on ‘slow sweep’ — and — I kid you not — sleep for about 19 hours. Hey, it worked. I’m on Poland time now.
Sunday: up at 4 pm, Warsaw time. I print out some basic Polish things on Babylon.com (“I’m starving — where is a restaurant?” Where can I buy some tea?” Why is my room so damn hot?”) and go down to the front desk. Most of the answers — as best I can make out — are “Ask the desk staff tomorrow,” but — thank heavens, I am pointed towards a restaurant well worth the flight, just 2 blocks from BC: U Szweǰka, where they kill you with delicious Polish and Czech food, free refills on wine and beer and delicious kirsch for afters. $20 USD for this:
that’s bacon and sausage spread in the left ramekin (heck yes, I ate it and it was incredible) and a creamy-cheesy-dill concoction in the right (thank heavens for long-lasting lactaid) — but this doesn’t show the second glass of wine, the heavenly apple pie with vanilla ice, or the kirsch. I rolled out of there, and wandered around the city in the twilight.
I found a great little grocer’s about a block away, and took pics of a nearby Catholic church, and what I think was some post-Soviet archway sculpture:
We’re definitely in a tony section of town: little parks everywhere, big public squares lined with high-end shops. Scrupulously clean yellow-and-red electric trams and buses every 10 minutes or so — even at 8 at night. The weather was perfect: cool and pleasant, a few clouds, a beautiful sunset
Oh, how to say thank-you? It’s “dziękuję” pronounced “Cheen-qoo-yee,” as best as I can tell.
Well, the math starts tomorrow at 9 am. Dobranoc (Goodnight)!