Europe

Warsaw, Poland – Peacocks, Red Squirrels, and Blisters

Our time in Poland is nearly over…it’s hard to believe that only 9 days ago we emerged, blinking and exhausted, from the night train from Prague. Today we board an expensive 7.5 hour train to Vienna where we will be staying with a host that has two pups. Those dogs are going to get a lot of attention.

Until this trip, I had never stayed in a room with direct access to the sun starting at 4:00am in the morning. Officially, the sun rises at 4:14am, but she starts to show here true colors earlier than that. 20140609-070013.jpgIt’s sorta lovely to wake up for a pee in ‘the middle of the night” and see this out the window. It’s not lovely to wake up 1.5 hours later to the sort of light I associate with near-death experiences. Obviously, we are not going to Bonnaroo this year, but the universe is making it all even by sending us unseasonably hot weather in Vienna (low 90’s), blasting us with sun at 6:00am and forcing us to set up oscillating fans around the bed. We’re definitely be at the farm in spirit! We even found a Roo arch of our own.20140609-071638.jpgWe started the day with a visit to Łazienki Park. The park is a 17th century creation which, shortly thereafter, fell into the hands of the King, Stanislaw August Poniatowski. There are lots of structures in the park, notably Łazienki Palace. 20140609-071924.jpgAlthough a lot of the buildings were damaged as a result of the Warsaw Uprising and during the mass destruction carried out by the Nazi’s that followed the surrender, the buildings were relatively well preserved in comparison to Warsaw’s Old Town. The Germans drilled holes in the Palace for placement of explosives, but the charges were never included. They were probably distracted by all the other bastardly things they had on their list to do; more on that during John’s Uprising post later. Our guide book said that we would see peacocks and red squirrels…and it wasn’t wrong.

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20140609-071600.jpgThe squirrels are very tame, although they don’t appear to enjoy potato chips.

After 5 years of solid service, my keen shoes have started to fall apart. The inner lining on the heel has rubbed away and the underlying plastic structure has cracked, causing little scratchers to destroy my socks and ankles. Exhibit A:20140609-072942.jpgIn retrospect, I’m a little more heartbroken over the demise of the shoes and the socks than I am my ankles, although when I was 94 meters below the ground in the salt mine, developing blisters, I was ready to throw them into the brine lake myself.

I got these shoes in preparation for my first Bonnaroo in ’09 and they have served me well. My favorite flavor of socks are from the Mast General Store in NC, and I received some every christmas from my dear Ma and Pa, hence their name Christmas socks. They are all pretty much destroyed now, due to heel damage. It’s been hard to find a replacement set while on the road. As many of you know, I am a friendly giant with enormous feet. Every shoe salesman we’ve met has uttered a small chuckle when I ask for a women’s boot in size 42/43. So, women’s boots are out of the question and all the majority of the rest of the boots are waterproof, something I am trying to steer clear of. I tried Merrells, but they just don’t fit my feet properly…I am a Keen girl, through and through. We suffered the mall in Krakow, but left empty handed…so we thought the capital city might be a better option. This is what prompted us to leave the park and head to Warsaw’s largest outdoor sports store. Alas…no Keens to be found. I am sure as we get closer to the Alps, my options will start to broaden (as will the gaping hole in my checking account).

Another tragic loss of this trip is my Travelsmart Inflatable Back Support Pillow. Mum got me this for Christmas and, after John, it’s my most prized possession on this trip. It’s gotten me through numerous long haul train rides (including night train) and provided relief on the variety of beds we’ve endured. It was lost somewhere in Zakopane, fell out/swiped from it’s special pouch in Angus. I hope whoever found it/swiped it takes good care of her.

We decided to drown my sorrows in Warsaw’s Old Town…we had heard a rumor that there was a tower to climb. The Old Town has been completely rebuilt since the German’s flattened it in the 40’s. We climbed atop the tower of St. Annes (a paltry 148 steps) and took in the view.20140609-074841.jpgBonus Info: The symbol of the city is a mermaid wielding a sword…how more bad-ass can you get? A T-Rex with chainsaw arms?

20140609-075658.jpgIt was time for postcards and, more importantly, time for beer. We bought many of both.

I’m going to let John pick up the rest of our Warsaw adventure, but I will say that I really enjoyed my time in Poland. A couple of people warned us that it was a bit grim, but I couldn’t disagree more. Cheers to you and your people, Poland! I can’t wait to come back.

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Categories: Europe, Poland

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