Pegpontheroad in Poland. Again.

Jul 20th, 2018, 08:57 AM
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Pegpontheroad in Poland. Again.

Okay, I'm finally going to do it. I've been back from my trip to Poland for almost three weeks, and I don't see how I can put off writing a trip report any longer. So today's the day. I need to do this before I forget any more details than I already have. I hope that once I get started, the momentum will keep me writing.

I visited Warsaw (for the third time, Krakow and Gdansk for the second time, and Wroclaw and Zakopane for the first time.) I have to make a disclaimer about Warsaw here because the last time I was there, I took a WWII tour and a Communist tour, so there were important sights I didn't see on this trip. Also it took me a couple of days to recover from jet lag, so there I took naps when I could have been sightseeing.

I did visit the Museum of the History of Polish Jews and found it to be fascinating. I'd been to that museum before, but didn't feel that I'd spent enough time there in my past visit. I've also visited the Umschlagplatz, Pawiak prison,remnants of the ghetto wall, the Insurgency Museum, and various other monuments. The most impressive of these was the Insurgency Monument, which shows members of the Home Army emerging from the ruined buildings or descending into the sewers, which they used as corridors and as refuges from the Nazi soldiers. Long list of things I didn't see on this trip.

Now for the things I DID see when I wasn't napping or hunting for food. The main place I wanted to visit was the Powazki military cemetery, which holds the remains of the great Polish codebreaker, Marian Rejewski. After a long hunt, it finally occurred to me to ask for help, and finally getting a map, and taking a loooong walk, I found his grave. I was as thrilled as if I was meeting him in person. I even talked to him a little (but he didn't answer back). I saw the tomb of Gomulka, the leader of Poland during its time as a communist state. I was surprised to see that tomb.

In the lobby of my hotel (Novotel Warsaw Centrum), there was a desk manned by a young guy who gave information about tours and the like. I stopped by to chat with him and get information. At one point I told him that I was in Poland to see WWII and Cold War sites, and he told me about people who come to Warsaw to shop. Apparently there is a big mall somewhere--I assume apart from the center that's near the train station and the Palace of Science and Culture. So while we are chuckling about those people, a couple comes up and wants information about the location of the shopping center. I have met people in the States who visit in order to replenish their wardrobes at a reasonable cost.

I'm going to post this nowso that I don't lose it.
Pegontheroad is offline  
Jul 20th, 2018, 11:35 AM
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Please don't lose any thoughts - enjoy always reading things you post and admire your spunk!
PalenQ is offline  
Jul 20th, 2018, 11:49 AM
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I'm following along Peg. We visited Warsaw and Krakow for the first time last December--I liked them both but really liked Warsaw and want to return (when the weather's a bit warmer and the days are longer). Aside from the Fine Arts Museum we saw the Warsaw Rising Museum which was really well done and the Royal Palace (completely rebuilt, but still retains holes made by the Nazis to hold the dynamite--they were incredibly systematic in their destruction of the palace). And there was a lot we didn't have time to see.
outwest is offline  
Jul 20th, 2018, 12:16 PM
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Fun read! Glad you posted.
joethebear is offline  
Jul 20th, 2018, 02:35 PM
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Peg, thanks for posting. I was hoping to hear about your adventures prior to my leaving for Europe next month. I'll be visiting Warsaw beginning of September.
Treesa is offline  
Jul 20th, 2018, 07:39 PM
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"I have met people in the States who visit in order to replenish their wardrobes at a reasonable cost."

From Vienna's Inner Stadt there is a dedicated bus to taking people to the Outlet Mall about 40 minutes from the city. Whenever I happen to see it there is always a queue of people, mostly Asian, waiting for board. I don't get it; of all the day trips one can take from Vienna, why a mediocre outlet mall?

Looking forward to the rest of your report!
fourfortravel is offline  
Jul 20th, 2018, 08:32 PM
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Hi Peg,
Thanks for taking us on another of your fascinating journeys. I always enjoy your descriptions, insights & way with words.

looking forward to the next chapters
Bokhara2 is offline  
Jul 21st, 2018, 03:43 AM
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Nazis systematic, who knew?
bilboburgler is offline  
Jul 21st, 2018, 04:41 AM
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Looking forward to more.
thursdaysd is offline  
Jul 21st, 2018, 06:56 AM
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Glad you are posting about your trip and eager to read more.
Trophywife007 is offline  
Jul 21st, 2018, 12:28 PM
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I look forward to your report.
Kathie is offline  
Jul 21st, 2018, 10:21 PM
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Looking forward to your report. And that is awesome you found the grave of the Marian Rejewski. My family are really into this part of computer and WWII history. Are there any other sites that commemorate the Polish codebreakers work?
5alive is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2018, 04:18 PM
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I always enjoy reading about your travels and look forward to more.
travelchat is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2018, 05:00 PM
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Oh, rats! I've been writing for an hour, and I just lost what I wrote. Hit the wrong key or something.
Pegontheroad is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2018, 07:09 PM
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I can see you walking around Krakow with your phone out, snappin' like you Fabo!

Is there a Gucci shop in Warsaw?

Glad you are having fun. If you were to see any of the Radziwills, tell them I said "howdy."

Pepper_von_snoot is offline  
Jul 24th, 2018, 10:13 AM
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Warsaw/Krakow are on my shortlist for a trip in next year. So I am looking forward to your next installment and am sorry to see that the computer has eaten it !. I have just booked a day course next month at the city lit in London about the Ghetto in Warsaw to give me some important background knowledge and so am interested in visiting the museum of Polish Jews. I suspect will be giving the shopping centre a miss though as only things I like shopping for on holidays are local markets and foodie stuff.
loncall is offline  
Jul 25th, 2018, 10:05 AM
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Oh, gosh! The last post I did was eaten. Again. Clearly, I'm not a techie. I'll try again but will make the posts very short, so perhaps I'll be able to post them.

Okay, leaving Warsaw...A couple of times I went to the train station to buy a ticket to Gdansk, but there was a long line the first time I went, so I returned the next day.The line was very short, so I was able to get the ticket. To go to and from the train station station, I had to use the subways, as the traffic on al Jerozolimski street is horrendous. The disadvantage is that I never knew for sure where the subway would emerge. And there were all those steps, too.

I asked the young guy at the tour desk if it would be weird for me to take a taxi to the train station, as it was very close. I didn't want to drag my suitcase and carry-on down those subway steps and then back up again. He said it would be normal to do that, and sure enough, the taxi driver seemed to think that was normal. He took me to the entrance near the platforms and even told me which platform to go to. Turns out he was wrong. I waited patiently on the platform to which he referred me, until I finally decided I was in the wrong place. Sure enough, I missed the train. Never panicked (Ha!) I sped off the buy another ticket. No big deal, except that I arrived in Gdansk a little later than I'd expected.
Pegontheroad is offline  
Jul 25th, 2018, 10:20 AM
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Thin, sorry to disappoint, but I get so interested in what I'm seeing that I forget to take enough pictures. That's okay, though, since I am an inept photographer. My buildings usually lean to one side.

I learned a few lessons using trains this time. One thing is that the number of the train is printed on the ticket. As I recall, it was 4 digits. That information is helpful if you don't know what you're doing. I also learned that I prefer to travel second class, in a compartment with six seats. Later in the trip I reserved a first class seat, which was one of two seats together in the open carriage. I am always helped to get my suitcase and carry-on onto the train. There was always some nice Polish man to heft it up to the carriage for me, and there was always another nice Polish man who wrassles my stuff up on the ledge over the seats.

On this leg of my journey, I had a nice chat with a couple in the compartment. At some point in the conversation, the man asked me about Polak jokes. That always embarrasses me because I think it reveals a certain prejudice about Poles. I always respond by saying that we did do that, and that Canadians I knew would tell "Newfy" jokes about people from Newfoundland. I wish I'd thought to mention that there were always Pat and Mike jokes about the Irish, and that fairly recently people still tell "blonde" jokes.
Pegontheroad is offline  
Jul 26th, 2018, 05:12 AM
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Just a suggestion Peg, type you report in any word processor you have (WordPad comes with Windows), save it, and then copy and paste in the Fodors text box.

Looking forward to more.

Last edited by cdnyul; Jul 26th, 2018 at 05:43 AM.
cdnyul is offline  
Jul 29th, 2018, 01:43 PM
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Okay, hoping I won't lose this. I arrived in Gdansk and checked in at the Hilton, which I really like. It has an ironing board and ir on and it has both a shower and a bathtub. I can't use a tub because I have artificial knees, and if I sat down in the tub, I'd be in there for good. It isn't awfully expensive as long as I do the pre-pay/non-refundable price.

The Hilton is on the waterfront, with various restaurants and coffee shops nearby. I wandered around at various times, once hunting for the very big church where Lech Walesa used to attend Mass, but even though I found it the last time I was in Gdansk, I didn't find it this time. So I gave up on my quest to attend Mass. That was okay, because for me, Polish is such an opaque language that even with a little multi-language Mass book, I never have any idea what's going on during Polish Masses.

During my stay I tried to find cheap breakfasts so that I wouldn't have to pay the $20 or $25 the Hilton charges, but I finally gave up and just loaded up at their breakfast buffet, figuring that I could eat a big breakfast and skip lunch. As for other foods, I did have a really good steak at a restaurant named Patio Espaņol. In general, I don't recall what I ate during the trip, except for some steaks and also pasta. I am a picky eater, and I'm not crazy about seafood, so my food choices are limited.

As to sight-seeing, I went to the WWII museum twice. I don't think I saw everything there was to see, even on the second trip, but that museum was really good. Very well done and very thorough. One thing that shocked me was a quotation by "Smiling" Albert Kesselring, a general who fought in North Africa, Italy, and on the eastern front. Referring to people on the eastern front--probably the Poles and Russians--he said, "These beings are not human beings. Only the brave German soldiers are human beings." There are various generals I can imagine saying that, but Kesselring isn't one from whom I'd expect such a thing.

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