Home To The Warsaw Village Band. Hmmm..

Trip Start May 02, 2006
Trip End Mar 02, 2007

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Flag of Poland  ,
Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Hello Warsaw !

Well, after a harrowing overnight bustrip from Vilnius we made it in one piece to Warsaw. It's funny, when you've done 12 hours overnight on a dirty bus with a little Chinese woman's cheesy sock in your nose you really couldn't careless what a city looks like on first impression. All you care about is getting to your hostel, having a shower and a then taking a nap. The city's been there for centuries, it'll be there when we're ready to have sticky beak around. God, age does get to you after a while.

So our hostel was a place called Nathan's Villa (of course) but we renamed it the Supersize Me Hostel. This place was shameless in it's constant badgering to buy maps, buy drinks, sign onto their tours, eat at their 'recommended restaurants', stock up on razors and deodorant, you name it they were selling it. But it was clean and had some nice people staying there so all in all not a bad place if you could by-pass the hard sell.

Well well Mr Warsaw aren't you the veritable phoenix rising from the ashes. For those who may not know (as I didn't till visiting the city) Warsaw was pretty much flattened during the Furhrers Heavy Metal and High Explosive Tour of Europe back in '39-45.

Fortunately for you and I the old city has been rebuilt brick for brick but you certainly wouldn't know it. It's quite a feat as the photos hopefully show. We spent a day wandering around taking it in and as your tour guides we can highly recommend you following suit sometime soon.

The new part of the city's not to shabby now either. Like any other major metropolis all your wants are taken care of. Most exciting to us however was finding the Polish equivalent of Borders. This place had every book and magazine under the sun to be viewed at your majesty's pleasure. Don't they know backpackers will not buy anything unless absolutely necessary ? Kat browsed through the latest Cosmo, Elle, People, Wallpaper etc whilst I busied myself with Hot Fours and Rotaries, Woodworking for Ametuers, Chicks with Dicks, PC Nerdberger and of course The Economist. If it was there and in English it was getting read by a couple of honeymooning backpackers with time to spare.

Seriously though, Warsaw is a city with history and a sad one at that. The Nazi occupation of Warsaw saw in excess of 600,000 (some number it over 1 million) people either die during the Warsaw Uprising, executed as a result of the uprising or due to starvation and disease. Poland as whole lost over 6 million the majority of who were of the Jewish persuasion. Hitler and Stalin both had a hand in that figure the dirty bastards.

With this in mind Kat and I went to the Uprising Museum which is only 12 months old. It's quite a sombre experience yet well presented in a dynamic museum which is there to engage you and make you think about the atrocities that occurred, not just walk along a corridor looking some fairly grim pictures and then leaving. That the residents of the Warsaw Ghettos had the brass kahunas to fight with homemade weapons against a numerically superior and heavily armed foe is something to be revered and proud of and this is what I feel the museum is getting at.

Anyway, not much else to tell about Warsaw except that it's a great city. A lot of people told us to bypass it but we're glad we didn't. We really enjoyed our time there, the old city's a charm and that it was completely rebuilt after WW2 makes it that much more interesting. The new city's just like a big city anywhere else but we liked what we saw.

Warsaw, we salute you.

Next pod, Krakow.


Nath and Kat.
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