Warsaw, my new home!
September 26, 2010
Warsaw, my new home!

The Warsaw airport was remarkably un-busy. I walked with the group of people to the immigration check point, and successfully got into Poland. I didn't realize until after the fact, but I didn't have to fill out any deceleration or immigration forms like I've had to for every other country I've visited. Interesting... I walked a very long way to the baggage claim, found my suitcase, and went out to the main area where I was greeted by my friend.
After lunch, I took a shower, then we set out for Old Town Warsaw. We took another bus! This time the bus driver was very aggressive with his breaking, and it reminded me of the crazy CTA drivers back home. We took the bus to Nowy Świat, right by the University of Warsaw. Our first stop stop was the university, so I could find it later, and my friend Patrycja showed me where some of the different faculties were as a reference. After visiting the university campus, we started walking and Patrycja pointed out many sights: monuments of important people, churches, landmarks, gardens, etc. After walking around for about an hour or so, we walked in the direction of Old Town, and stopped for a coffee on the way.
We had coffee at Literatka. We had the option to sit inside or outside, and since it was a balmy 65F degrees, we opted for outside. Patrycja ordered a latte, and I ordered the Literatka Coffee, the house special. I didn't notice when ordering it, but after I ordered, Patrycja said that the Bailey's in the coffee should do something to make me more happy. I thought to myself, "Bailey's? There's going to be Bailey's in my coffee?" It turned out to be a very good coffee. Even though I wasn't in the mood for alcohol, it was very tasty and I couldn't help but drink up.

While we were having coffee, we sat and talked for about 35 minutes, and while we were sitting there a cool breeze kicked in. The restaurant staff came around and gave blankets to all of the outdoor guests who wanted one.I've never gotten a blanket in a restaurant before! This was exciting and fun! Patrycja teased me though, and said the way I was wrapped, I looked like a grandma. :-P 

After coffee, we really went to Old Town. :) My first sight of Old Town was breathtaking. I couldn't believe I was really in Warsaw and really seeing the sights! Then, the moment passed when I saw flames coming out of a tuba! We walked over to see what was going on, and saw a man playing a tuba with a recording, and each exhale produced a little ball of flame! It was really quite hilarious! We stayed and watched him play two songs, then moved on.

I don't know the best way to describe the beauty of everything I saw. I couldn't believe that the buildings were really less than a century old, because the restoration of Old Town Warsaw was so immaculate! I really felt like I was stepping back into the 17th century. I think my favorite part of Old Town was the market. We didn't browse very much, because things are usually more expensive in Old Town, but it was fun to people watch. We walked around Old Town and into New Town, and when we were ready to head back, we hopped on a tram to the bus to go back to Patrycja's flat. 

Back at Patrycja's, we grabbed my luggage (again), and hopped on a bus back to Nowy Świat to meet my other friend,
Kasia. Kasia was going to take me to my new digs! We had to walk a few blocks because the streets are closed in the Nowy Świat area on the weekends. The walk wasn't really that long, but after all the walking and lack of sleep, it felt like it took ages. When we were able to hop on a bus, Kasia gave me the information to get back and forth between the university and my new flat. I am rooming with one of Kasia's friends who is presently out of town, so Kasia was the one who showed me the ropes. I got my key, gate code, laundry and cooking instructions, and other housewarming information. She even left me some cake! :) We didn't get to visit for very long because it was late, and I was ready to fall over tired, but I really loved getting to see her again! :)

After Kasia left, I really wanted to go to bed, but my mind wouldn't shut off. So, I started unpacking, did some laundry, tried unsuccessfully to finish this entry, caught up with my US friends on Facebook, and managed to stay up until 2:00a, when I finally felt ready for sleep.