Monday, May 14, 2018

Warsaw - Marianne goes haunting

We walked down to the train station and waited for our train to Warsaw.

This was not it but was similar to the train we used to go to Malbork.

Gdansk station is being upgraded.

Our train arrived. I had booked tickets well in advance on a newer fast train. 

The seat numbering must have been designed by a lunatic, or a committee. Possibility a committee of lunatics.

We arrived at our bnb which is a building labeled McDonalds. We have seen these Ikea lanterns in other bnbs and also as decorations in shops. I used one years ago to build an amplifier.

We are on the 4th floor of the tall building and yes, there is a McDonalds at street level. We have not sampled their wares.

Serious bicycle racks.

Later in the afternoon we set off to find what was left of the places where Marianne's grand parents lived. They left for the USA early in the 20th century before WWI.

We were not expecting to find any much remaining because the Germans razed Warsaw during WWII. In 1944 the Russians had advanced to the other side of the Vistula River from Warsaw. The Polish resistance fighters then rose up to fight the remaining Germans expecting the Russians to continue their advance. Stalin ordered the advance to be halted so that the Poles would be crushed which duly happened. The Germans then leveled the city and left and then the Russians crossed the river and took complete control until the fall of Communism. You can read about it here.

This is the only house remaining in the street where M's grand-mother lived.

It even has a plaque. It's not M's house however.

Mostly the street is just a parking lot.

The address was 2364 Zielna. It must have been a different numbering system since the street is not very long.

However there is one place of importance that survived and that is the All Saints Church where her grand-parents were married.

Pope John-Paul II celebrated Mass here.

It is the largest church in Warsaw and though badly damaged in WWII, it has been restored. 

Marianne's task is to create a quilt with this pattern.

Interesting building. Most of the buildings in the area are soviet style blocks.

Marianne's grand-father lived at 1090 Twarda. Again, the numbering does not make much sense.

Twarda Street.

Oddly enough I suspect the location might have been this little cleared area at an intersection.

Marianne suspects that she is the only descendant of the grand-parents to have visited Poland.

The Palace of Culture and Science which the Russians built using much the same design that was used for the Seven Sisters buildings in Moscow.

Somehow I am usually delegated to find the restaurant for dinner. This time I chose Zapiecek which is a famous Polish style restaurant. Marianne ordered a half litre of a really good lemon drink. It was loaded with ice and was utterly refreshing. I got a boring beer and wished I had got the same as M.

Marianne ate these crepes filled with spinach, garlic and cream and was very pleased. 

I ordered bigos which is a mix of various meats and sausage in sauerkraut. Here it was served in a hot pan and it was incredibly rich and delicious.

Since the next day was Mother's Day, I encouraged M to get one of these. It's a chocolate sweet yeast cake enclosing cherry preserve and covered with chocolate. I had a small portion and it was very chocolatey. M almost managed to finish it.

This meal cost $25.58.

Sometimes we hear about the ugly Americans in Europe but I have rarely seen examples. There was a group of 10 Americans, possibly with some Canadians of about our age at the table next to us. They were loud and took ages to decide on what they were about to eat. Just as the main courses were being served, some members of the group decided to change from chicken to goulash even though the plates were arriving. The poor waitress had to call over the manager who said to go ahead with the change with no charge. Even then, there was still more fussing and fuming. Later when we paid our bill, I commended the waitress for putting up with them and she obviously appreciated the compliment.

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