And I’m off!

You know the drill by now. Berlin, Copenhagen, Croatia…and then some crazy combination of buses and trains to make my way back to Warsaw by the 18th of August. 

Warszawa, do zabaczenia! See you later, see you soon!

Inside Warszawa Centralna, Warsaw’s main railway station. 

Text on one of the plaques: “Space and time travel machine. Machine that generates leisure time, spent together. You stay in the machine for an unknown time. You travel at your own risk.

Leftovers from Communist-era Poland

Me: I really like all of these green spaces in Warsaw.
Mladen, a Warsaw transplant: But do you see this path? (Gestures to a narrow dirt line running through the grass)
Me: Yes.
Mladen: You have to walk on this because the signs say it’s illegal to walk on the grass.
Me: Oh. I wondered why no one ever walked on the grass here.
Mladen: Yup.
Me: So where’s the sign?
Mladen: Oh, there’s no sign. Everyone just knows.

The best Sara I know (so good that she has TWO tumblrs) sent me the best postcard from Dublin. Because European mail is slow and Sara is fast (at leaving places), I had to send my reply into the netherland of cyberspace. Safe travels, Sara! See you back in the ‘burgh.

Lunch For Under 10 Zloty.

When good cappuccino and mediocre beer run for 8 zloty apiece (at least!) in Poland’s lovely capital, I start pinching my groszy…because I like both of those things and I’ve still got over 3 weeks left in Europe. And Europe gets expensive. So when I can score a minor victory, like a satisfying and somewhat healthy lunch for less than 4 USD, I cheer a little bit inside. (Get it? It’s like a competition…me against the Warsaw)

Greek salad: 6.50

Multi-grain roll the size of premature infant: 1.40

Vending machine cappuccino (better than it sounds!): 1.60 

Grand total: 9.50

(in US dollars, that’s about $3.51) Go team.

Helpful hints: groszy = the cents to the Polish zloty (100 groszy to 1 zloty); current exchange rate: 1 USD = 2.789 PLN

Varsovian Stream of Consciousness.

It’s not a list, but it could be. Anything could be. Here’s this weekend:

Northern visitor, fancy start at the Marriott’s “Panaroma” bar on the 40th floor, best views, Irish pub without Irishmen, hipster bar called (what else?) Plan B, liquid apple pie in a back-alley-basement-bar, dancing underground with dogs and smokers, daytime sunlight, a bookstore-cafe with a swing inside, more cafes, cakes, coffee, lawn chairs, crossing the Swietokrzyski Bridge to Praga which is known for grit, exploring remnants of Jewish past, free jazz where one guy scoots back the piano bench and it is called music, Praga’s fanciest cafe which is far from gritty, made to look like a house and you can buy everything inside even the coat hangers, busses are slow so we walk all the way (I mean all the way, 4.3 kilometers) home, stopping at a metallic UFO bar for hipster leg photography, Sunday is (what else?) more sun, a big piano in the biggest park in Warsaw (Lazienki) and a bigger man plays Chopin, the university library’s roof, amazement, more cake, coffee, people watching, Old Town (because no European city is complete without one), many tourists, thirsty, sticky (we all are), and then another UFO-shaped thing but this is wooden and called Unidentified Fountain Object with the best dub-step of the afternoon, Bulgarian dinner, whole fish with an olive (alive?) for an eye, finally finding Plac Zabav hidden beneath a park and a bridge and a forest and unexpectedly good dancing, wet grass, more dogs, walking home, home? Home.