Hotel: Hotel Kyriad Prestige
Breakfast: 8:30 Bus departs: 9:00
Our wake-up calls this morning were screwed up, I got mine at 7:05, but apparently they were supposed to be at 8:00. I was already up when they called, but I got nervous that I screwed up the breakfast time and was running late. Breakfast was a wonderful spread though: more fruit, bacon, eggs, yogurt, rolls, toast (with little jars of jelly), cereal and more.
At 9:00 we went on our Warsaw city tour with our local guide. She explained to us about how 85% of the city had been destroyed during WWII. But after the war it was all rebuilt, including the Old Town, which was rebuilt exactly as it existed before. On the tour we were told about the 4 men with mustaches - the 4 great leaders of Poland, we saw the park that has the statue of Chopin, and where the Warsaw Ghetto was (including a remaining piece of the wall). The guide explained to us about the Ghetto and the famous uprising.
Poland generally hasn’t done so well. They had a rough history in general, then the Nazi’s came and destroyed much of the city (along with kill a bunch of people while they were there), then the Russians came and destroyed the rest of the city. Then they lived under Communism for decades. But Warsaw is a nice city and the people even nicer.
Our tour of Warsaw ended in the Old Town. I made a quick stop to mail off my last postcards then we had “lunch” in a little café, ok, it was really just a pastry, but a good one. In the square we took pictures with the little mermaid’s sister and did some shopping. Then we went to see the sights and get some good pictures of the memorials we had seen along the way.
Our first stop was at Marie Curie’s house, then the memorial with the cart holding the crosses (for the Polish people sent to Siberia under Communism). Along the way we ran into Tania who needed to get pictures burned to CD since her memory card was almost full. We also saw the Supreme Court and the memorial to the Warsaw uprising. On the way to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier we saw Nike, Goddess of War, and the Opera House. At the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier we saw the ended of the changing of the guard and then some rude tourists got in front of our pictures, and hung around for a little too long. Where are people’s manors? After getting our pictures we went on our way to the church where Chopin’s heart is buried - St. Cross's Church. We tried to walk around a bit inconspicuously, but couldn’t find it. Finally, I sat down with Lis and Kate while Andrew and Jilly asked someone who worked there. It turned out we were sitting next to the pillar where his heart was buried, except we were on the opposite side of the plaque, we weren’t that stupid. Then we headed back to the Old Town for lunch passing a statue of Copernicus along the way.
We decided to have lunch in the Old Town, we looked at a couple menus and the prices seemed reasonable so we picked one of the outdoor cafés. It was really nice to sit and people watch while having a nice lunch with a delicious dessert.
At 4:00 Lis, Jilly and I met the bus to go to the Chopin recital. The recital was in a lovely location with a lake and peacocks hanging around. The recital itself was very nice and relaxing, and came with a glass of Champagne, though I must admit I did struggle to stay awake at one point. But the piano player was wonderful and it was amazing to watch her fingers move so fast.
After the recital we were dropped off back at the Old Town to finish our free day in Warsaw. Lis, Jilly and I decided to go shopping since Jilly needed new jeans. We took the bus to where the shopping was, but since we couldn’t remember how to pay for the bus we ended up riding it for free, opps. No one made any purchases and we decided to walk back to the hotel (we were just on the other side of Central Station), even though we were really tired. We decided that we should grab dinner on the way back and ended up with Subway, which I was fine with since we had had a nice lunch.
Back at the hotel everyone was getting ready to go out to a bar and meet up with the Eastern Road Tour group that had come into Warsaw today, but I was way to tired to go out. Instead I did more laundry, I realized I was almost out of t-shirts, and played Uno with Lis and Andy while having my last Smirnoff Ice that I had bought in Stockholm.