Monday, June 16, Warsaw, Poland.
Click here to see where Warsaw is in Europe.
After the best night's sleep I've had for awhile, I was up at 8 a.m. and got ready to get onboard a 9:55 train for Warsaw. As opposed to yesterday, the sun was out again today, and it was quite a bit warmer. I found my compartment and settled in for the 3 hour transit from Krakow to Warsaw. During the trip, I had the good fortune to meet a young man, Ian Debski, from the United States who now lives in Warsaw. We discussed a variety of interesting subjects, and once we disembarked the train, Ian was nice enough to offer to share a cab and drop me at the hostel. It was great not having to navigate the streets of Warsaw until later in the day.
Once I was settled in the hostel, I made my way back to the train station and purchased a ticket for Berlin. I'll be going there on Wednesday. I also stopped by the Tourist Information Office, and I've planned my day for tomorrow. While Warsaw itself is a very big city, the Old City and the old Ghetto area are confined to a well defined section of the city. I plan to walk "into" the old section and then use public transportation to get back. Depending on the weather, and how I feel, I might walk both ways.
So, what about my first impressions of Warsaw? Warsaw is the largest city in Poland and is the capital. Its population is 1.7 million or a bit more. After World War II, about 85% of the city was destroyed, so it is no wonder that Warsaw takes on the look of any other modern city I've visited. From what I've seen so far, and to my surprise (again), Warsaw is a clean, cosmopolitan city with high-rise office buildings, a mature transportation system and shopping as good as anywhere. Right next to the train station, as was the case in Krakow, a new modern shopping mall has every shop one can imagine -- including movie theaters (cinema as they are called in Europe). With some time to kill, I took in a movie and thoroughly enjoyed a brand new cinema with a "liquor bar" in the lobby. Now, that's civilized!!
The pictures here are of present-day Warsaw. The bottom picture is that of Ian as the taxi dropped me off at the hostel and we bid farewell. Thanks Ian...
I think one of the best parts of this trip has been the people I've met. It's been great, so far, and I expect the next two weeks will be just as good or better!!