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30 March 2013

time travel :: warsaw day two

(you can read day one here)

so, i'd shelled out 29,90 zloty (about £6) to see emily blunt and jason segel in the five year engagement before bed the first night, and after boyfriend enjoyed a bath in the giant tub and we had some cheap polish junk food - we slept like kings. the bed was giant and the pillows were (in my opinion too soft, so i had two) comfy - the only concern was all of the sirens all through the night! boyfriend said there was some such football thingy on that night and apparently the poles are known for their crazy football antics, so he might be onto something. either way, we were knackered and slept well.

we woke up in time to head down for our free breakfast - after the horrible food bex and i had in the hotel in marrakech, i was bracing myself for the worst... but was shocked to discover a flippen banquet of both hot and cold breakfast foods waiting for us. we had eggs and crispy bacon, sausages, cereal and fruit as well as hot coffee and fresh juice - and as much of it as we wanted! on the way back to the room to head out for the day, i grabbed some fruit and yoghurt - just in case. so far, hotel room TICK, breakfast food TICK. we were pleased as punch!

after breakfast and a hot shower we headed out into a brilliant blue day, keen to get our hands on some history. we were headed for the old town, by way of a few things we'd found on the only map in warsaw map given to us by the hotel. with the thick blanket of snow on the ground and the blazing sun overhead, it was so flippen bright! not only were the hat, scarf, double tights and gloves necessary, i definitely could have used some sunnies that day. mind you, once we were off, i was getting hot in all my layers, and the hat and scarfe were in constant rotation in my bag - on, off, on off...

walking through warsaw was like, walking through any city. commercial and overrun by the uk high street - the first grocery store we found was marks and spencer, and everywhere you went you were bombarded with h&m, zara and topshop... it was really disappointing, and took the whole 'european charm' right out of being somewhere new. we expected quaint market stalls and small family shops - and did not find it in that city. tall buildings and big business filled the skyline, as much as the droning sounds of public transport filled the air.

don't get me wrong - i'm not so naive that i believe the world can remain unscathed in this digital world we live in, but i've been to both prague and budapest, and they each had a certain... charm to them that we didn't find in warsaw. you looked around and saw history, age and stories. and it felt that in warsaw, something was being hidden from the world, as if there was 'nothing to see here folks!'. 

anway, we walked and snapped, walked and snapped - not really knowing what we were looking at because nothing was in english. our map wasn't really helpful, and although we did research what we were going to look at before we left the hotel, it was kind of.. underwhelming with no reference to what we were looking at. we visited the tomb of the unknown soldier on our way to find the old town, and that's when we finaaally got that 'omg something cray happened here' feeling you kind of expect when faced with bite sized chunks of history.

we wandered a bit more and found the president's house, the royal palace (we think) and st peter's church all before following the rows and rows of pastel coloured buildings into the old town. cobbled streets and oddly built houses - up and out, laid out in squares throughout this historic town. we walked the back streets a bit more and came upon the barbican - the walls of a run down castle, moat and all. the one thing we noticed as we strolled was... no tourist shops. nowhere to buy a postcard to souvenirs... anywhere. plenty of coffee shops, but nowhere to buy some tat.

around 2pm we stopped for lunch. we found a nice looking restaurant, keen to try some polish food. we were given the only menu they had in english, and told to try the dumplings. i don't know you, but when i think of poland, i don't think "yum, gotta get me some dumplings!" no. so, boyfriend ordered a small portion of ribs while i ordered a pea and bacon soup with a sauasge in it. yes, i'm serious. my lunch was lovely and boyfriend says his was too - our only concern came with the cheque and realising that his ribs were charged per 100g and they claimed his meal was 300g. which it clearly wasn't, but how do you argue in polish over something that essentially is £4? you don't. if you're me, you laugh at a furious boyfriend and you don't leave a tip despite being told we should.

full and furious, we walked on, back toward the hotel. we were tired and squinty from a day of cobblestone dodging, and we'd seen everything we had planned to that day. we headed down toward the river, as boyfriend had seen a park we could check out on the way back... the wrong way back, that had us walk about an hour in the wrong direction, and me finally refuse to walk any further. public arguments ensued, and assuming no-one would understand us anyway, a fair bit of potty mouthing at each other until we realised we were finally walking in the right direction, and then we walked in silence...

as the sun was setting, on that first full day, i was climbing into bed and napping while boyfriend cooled off by watching polish match of the day. he woke me up about an hour or two in, with an apology and a kebab.

boyfriend done good.