Amsterdam and Poland 2017 

 Day 5, Warsaw

Thursday , June 8


We got up at 5:30 this morning and finished our packing. We had made arrangements with the cabdriver who took us to the Concertgebouw yesterday to pick us up at 7 o'clock to take us to the airport. He was on time and we got to the airport in about half an hour. We walked and walked to find our gate which was in a new part of the airport. We checked our suitcases and then went through security, which was very thorough. I have a card that I carry which says that I have a pacemaker so to avoid the x-ray. I got a very detailed pat-down. They were doing a very thorough check through everyone's carry on. My carry-on consists mainly of my computer, reader, camera and electrical connections plus all my meds.

Another long walk to the gate with a stop for a muffin as we had not had breakfast before we left. I think that the Amsterdam airport is one of the largest that I have ever been in. When we return, we fly back to Amsterdam and spend the night and fly out the next day on our way home.

 We had paid a little extra for upgraded seats with extra leg room. Kathleen and I had seats on the aisle on either side but no one in the two seats beside us.  The flight from Amsterdam to Warsaw was an hour and a half. The Warsaw airport was large but small in comparison to Amsterdam. It didn't take long to get our luggage and the taxi was waiting.

It was about a half hour ride to our hotel which is the Grand Hotel Mercure. We checked in and we have a nice size colorful room-rather modern. The whole hotel complex was vert attractive.  

 It was approaching 1:00 and the only thing that we had had all day was the 9:00 muffin.  We found the hotel café and had a nice lunch.  I ordered a hamburger which was the largest I have ever had and couldn't eat all of it.  Kathleen had a cheese plate. 

   Amsterdam uses Euros for money. Poland uses PLN (Zioty), for example my hamburger cost 35 PLN  which was $9.16 in American  dollars. We went to an ATM machine and got 600 PLN which cost us $150.00.  We walked about four blocks and came back to the room to rest.  

Warsaw is a very different looking city. Most of Warsaw was destroyed during the war and has been rebuilt by the Soviets in a Soviet style, whereas in Amsterdam most of the old buildings are still used and are in excellent condition. We have seen very few bicycles, no bicycle lanes here.  

Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland located on the Vistula River around 160 miles from the Baltic Sea and 190 miles from the Carpathian Mountains. The population is estimated at 1.750 million residents within a greater metropolitan area of over 3 million residents  

Once described as Paris of the East, Warsaw was believed to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world until World War II. The German Invasion in 1939, the massacre of the Jewish population and deportations to concentration camps led to the uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto in 1943 and to the devastating Warsaw Uprising between August and October 1944.   Warsaw gained the new title of a Phoenix City because of its extensive history and complete reconstruction after the severe damage it suffered in World War II which left over 85% of its buildings in ruins.

In some neighborhoods, there were modern buildings next to ones that looks as it was damaged by the war. It is also sad to see all the graffiti that is written on these newer buildings.    In 1980, the historic city-center of Warsaw, with its picturesque Old Town was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Buildings represent examples of nearly every European architectural style and historical period. Around a quarter of the city is filled with royal parks and lush gardens.

We will see much of Warsaw in the next several days.  

We had made dinner reservations we the dining room of a historic hotel in the Old Town area. It was too far to walk and were both tired so we decided to find something locally.  We walked around the area and saw several outdoor cafés. We realized that the dinner servings would be too large, and we didn’t want a big dinner, so we came back to the café in our hotel and ordered wine and prawns – quite unlike the prawns that I had yesterday in Amsterdam. They were in a wonderful sauce which was also good for dipping bread.

 For dessert, we had lime cheesecake with pear sorbet and caramel sauce. All during dinner a young couple played the guitar and sang many of the familiar songs. It was fun.    

Next Day

Day 1 - Amsterdam

Day 2 - Amsterdam

Day 3 - Amsterdam

Day 4 - Amsterdam

Day 5 - Warsaw

Day 6 - Warsaw

Day 7- Warsaw

Day 8 - Czestochowa and Kracow

Day 9 - Krakow

Day 10 - Auschwitz and Wroclaw

Day 11 - Wroclaw

Day 12 - Poznan and Torun

Day 13 - Torun and Gdansk

Day 14 - Gdansk

Day 15 coming soon