Posts Tagged ‘Warsaw’

Magical History Tour

January 2, 2017

Dear Family and Friends,

Today was a great day. First stop was the Palace of Culture and Science. I arrived before it opened so went to get a nice espresso and sandwich for breakfast. Then went back to go up to the 30th floor to see Warsaw from above. It was snowy and foggy so there wasn’t much to see but I’m still glad to have went.

wp_20170102_10_17_31_pro

After that I took the metro to the Museum of History of the Polish Jews. I found it informative yet very busy. It wasn’t crowded, but the exhibits were not simple, somewhat hard to follow. Jewish people have lived in Warsaw for a long time. wp_20170102_11_20_34_proBefore WW2 Warsaw was 30% Jewish. Now most have either been killed or left. There were about 400 synagogues, but now there are 2. I also learned that Lodz became a major textile industry hub in the late 1800s. Now it makes sense that my ancestors (and a lot of others) worked in the textile industry when they migrated from Poland to the United States in the early 1900s. wp_20170102_13_08_41_pro

After the museum I walked to the Old Town and for a walking tour of “WW2 Warsaw.” It was freezing but great, very informative. I learned more about how the city was leveled, the two uprisings, and the reconstruction. Then ate a late lunch of sour rye soup and sausage. Really delicious!

wp_20170102_10_39_23_proThen I went on a Polish Vodka tour which was fantastic. We tasted seven kinds of Polish vodkas, a few rye, potato, herbal vodka “for your health” a infused, one made with a medieval recipe, etc. I learned about the history of vodka, history of vodka in Poland, and about drinking customs. Our guide was a real badass. wp_20170102_15_52_50_pro

Also learned that the cabbage and sausage dish I ate yesterday is called “bigos” and each family has a different recipe. And that bigos pairs well with vodka.

Tomorrow I’ll go to Krakow, try pierogi, and am not sure what else!  Hope you are great!!

Love,
Annie

 

Advertisements

“Cześć” and “Dziękuję”

January 1, 2017

Hi Family and Friends,

Those are two Polish words learned today. “Hi” (cheshch) and “Thank you” (jen koo yeh). They are hard to pronounce. I’ve wanted to visit Poland for a long time and am finally here for a personal vacation! The flights were easy. The first one was in the air when it became 2017 and Swiss Air gave everyone a champagne toast. And no one was sitting next to me so it was comfortable.

wp_20170101_17_12_37_proZurich airport was as I had remembered, nice, easy to tell the time, but none of the bathrooms have enough stalls so there is always a line. The second flight from Zurich to Warsaw flew next to the Alps for an hour, which was a fantastic feast of the eyes. The plane landed in Warsaw in the early afternoon and it overcast but not raining.

On the train to the city, I chatted with a guy I met at the ticket machines who was also having an issue buying a ticket. The train tickets are inexpensive and the machines don’t like large bills. One of the train stops is across the street from my hotel. It was really lucky.

Late afternoon I took the tram to the old town to walk around the Old Town. I ate real grilled cheese (literally grilled cheese only, with cranberry sauce (see picture), walked around while drinking hot wine, and then had an awesome bowl with cabbage and sausage. It was really crowded downtown. They had new years fun things set up like a skating rink, craft shops, local foods.

wp_20170101_19_02_15_proIt was beautiful but really cold. I went to get a cappuccino and almost nodded off while drinking it so went back to the hotel. Tomorrow I’ll do a free walking tour of the old city (to see it in the light this time), almost definitely try pierogis and zurek (sour rye soup), and other things are up in the air.

I contacted an informal group that puts on “vodka tours” so hopefully that will work out. It wold involve learning about vodka culture in Poland with some tastings and food pairings. Just last week I learned that broke students from this area of the world may drink vodka+beer+seltzer because that’s a great way to get drunk when money is tight.

Happy new year and hope you have a fantastic, fun, and productive year. “Na zdrowie!” (cheers!)

Love, Annie