Thursday, August 15, 2013

Warsaw rainfall

Just outside our hotel we encountered a city bike rental program. Awesome idea, particularly given Europes more compact cities. Sadly we didn't have a card and couldn't participate.

Many squares were encountered, and they often had statues of Poles of note. There were also, as promised, many many cafes. They had coffee. And cakes. After the coffee conditions in mainland China this was a form of paradise.

Looming over all is the Russian gift of the palace of culture and science. We were excited to recognize Cyrillic specifying the name in Russian.

Our goal of the morning was to find the mall, procure a charger for the eeePc, and then find and wander old town. Abrupt changes in weather conditions led to finding an umbrella or some other means to keep electronics - and ideally ourselves - dry a priority.

A helpful girl at the information desk informed us the electronics stores were on floor two so we went up a level. It took us a few minutes of confusion to figure out that the ground floor was 0 not 1 and we had thus gone 0=>1 not 1=>2 as it would have been back home. Overall we rather like this system: ground is 0, one below is -1 ... it all kind of makes sense, particularly as compared to ground is 1, one below is B1, and one above ground is 2.

We also located a grocery store and procured waterproof disposable bag lining and quick deploy pocket sized camera covers, that is, garbage bags.

The rain abated, so we wandered out. Then it came back so we took shelter in a convenient building the locals provide for rain-averse tourists.

It was nice inside but a bit preachy.

Eventually the rain letup and we wandered out. Then it resumed and we ran into the woods, which turned out to house the tomb of an unknown soldier. When the rain stopped for a bit again we made it to the heart of the old town. In a fortuitious turn of events a local church was offering a cheap pipe organ concert so we popped in to check it out.

I have a video which I aspire to one day upload that shows a sample, albeit recorded with the not entirely awe inspiring microphone built into the D7000.

The square had a tower that allowed climbing so we did. As is required in such cases.

The square also had rows of rather charming buildings, each with its very own hue. In general the prevalence of old buildings in regular use in Warsaw was awesome. Coming from the new world we are perhaps suckers for old stuff because we don't get much of it.

We went in search of lunch and found an entirely non-awe-inspiring barbican.

The entrance to lunch on the other hand was cool.

Lunch comenced with the traditional liter of beer, which came with a particularly torrential downpour that made one happy to be under covers and eating meat.

The meat for two proved to be huge. After an enjoyable attempt we failed to uphold the law of NMLB (No Meat Left Behind). In our defence, the lard soaked bread was very filling.

A liter of beer, several pounds of meat, and two shots (one was complimentary, the other was a local specialty which, as is oft the case, was appalling) we headed out. We made it many meters before retiring to a cafe.

The regular availability of espresso and fresh squeezed fruit juice was, as always, awesome.

Some signs are just funny.

To wrap up the day we went by Warsaw Centralna and purchased tickets to Krakow for the following day.

Dinner proved unnecessary after our meat fest so we crashed at the Sheraton. Proper bed and bathroom facilities ftw.

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