Exploring Warszawa
October 17, 2010
Exploring Warszawa

After class, a few of  us decided to grab lunch. We walked around aimlessly for a little while, and finally decided on Klub Herenda, which was advertising "Lunch" for 17zl. None of us knew enough Polish to interpret the rest of the sign; I was resigned to the fact that I was getting mystery food, and I was just hoping it wasn't something fishy. It turned out to be delicious, and much more than I could eat! "Lunch" was a good, yet unidentifiable soup, pork with mustard sauce, salad, and potatoes! Mmmm!!!

After lunch I went walking with Alice to Old Town where we met her friend for coffee and cookies! It was fun because they were both speaking in French and unless Alice translated for me, I really didn't know what was going on. It is really fun to listen to conversations you can't understand, though. Besides, listening is the best way to learn! :)

After dessert, I went home to relax for a few hours before heading out to Coco de Oro. At lunch, we'd planned to meet up at the train station to go to this club/bar place. Coco de Oro is really cool, and completely not what I expected to find! :) We'd been promised with an awesome time with a drum circle. When we get to Coco de Oro, it is this very trendy-looking place, all white and red with feather boas on the table lamps. It was neat, but not the crazy drum circle I was anticipating. We ordered our drinks, then Stephen took us to the drum circle.

We walked to the back of the bar, and through this hallway, and I swear, it felt like I was moving between worlds! I left the neat lines and order of Coco de Oro and entered the beautiful dirty chaos of the back room where this drum circle was happening. There were probably 50 people in the room, most of them with drums all making a rhythm that moved me to my core. It was powerful and overwhelming in such a good way! Stephen, who introduced us to this place, said that you can't come to the drum circle without participating. We were a little bit slow to join the circle, but we all rocked when we did! :) It was completely awesome, I will have to go back!

After drumming, we sat and talked over drinks until 2:00a! We left Coco de Oro and went in search of food! We made our way to the Centrum area where the night bus took us, and found a Kebab King. It is the thing to get kebab in the middle of the night after a party. I didn't know what I was ordering, but it was something chicken-y and very tasty. We continued our discussion at Kebab King until 4:00a! Crazyness! 

Michael and Fabian went one way, and Mari and I went back toward Centrum. I needed another night bus. I couldn't find the bus I needed, so Mari and I shared a cab to get home! The taxi driver was really fun and was helping me with my Polish by telling me how to pronounce the name of my street and how to say, "Good night!" when he dropped me off. 

Home around 4:30a. All around, a great success of a day! 

Thursday was a normal day, but, I spiced it up by going to a lecture at the American Studies Center of the University of
Warsaw. The lecturer was from China, and he was discussing the history of teaching United States history in China. It was interesting to hear about the importance of US history in other countries. 

This lecture was the first in the Colloquium Series at the American Studies Center, and I found the schedule and plan to attend others! :)
Friday, Friday, Friday. I had the first day of class for my fourth class on Friday. This class, "Constitutional History of Poland", promises to kick my butt. But, I think it will be a very good class, and the one that keeps me in academic mode. I was pleasantly surprised to find Michael and Mari in my class! :)

After class, the three of us went to a milk-bar for lunch. I had walked past this place dozens of times, but this was the first I'd been inside. The menu on the wall was exclusively in Polish. I wasn't too hungry, but I wanted something since I was out with friends for lunch... I'd decided on soup, but I didn't know what kind. Just as we got to the counter to order, Mari found a tri-lingual menu! I successfully ordered mushroom soup and a coffee. :) This place was super cheap and you got a lot of food for your money. In US, the meal cost me about $1.50. Oh. Yea.

We decided to continue our conversation at a coffee shop since we were done eating and the line of people waiting for tables was growing. At Costa Coffee, Mari and Michael each had coffee, and we all had chocolate cake. It was sooooo tasty!! :) We continued our politics/culture conversation for another hour. 

The rest of my Friday was uneventful and peaceful. 

In the morning, I received an invitation to a house party at Fabian's that evening. I didn't have any plans for my Saturday night, so I decided to go! But, I had a whole day ahead of me with no plans. I wasted most of the day, but I did go for a run and do yoga. 

I was THRILLED to find that it was a simple one bus route to get to Fabian's flat. I found the place fine, but was the only one there! Right after I showed up his roommates returned! It was a little bit awkward, but soon enough the ice was broken, his roommates were teaching me Polish, and more people arrived! It was a nice and relaxing sort of party. Mostly conversations about languages, culture, and European movies. I left around 1:00a to catch the night bus back to my flat. 

The night bus was great, because it took me to a stop that is a 10 minute walk to my flat. But, apparently I didn't hold the "Stop" button down long enough, or push it hard enough, because we went an extra two stops before the driver let me off. Grrr. It was cold (30s F) and I didn't want the extra long walk at 1:30a, but it wasn't the end of the world. And, I had my hat. :) Made it home and was conked out by 2:30a.

On Saturday, Michael invited me to join people to see the Wilanów Pałac. I met Mari, Michael, David, and Gianina at the university gates, and we took the bus south to the palace. It was a beautiful day for the excursion! Sunny, chilly, breezy. The palace itself is a really awesome building. We went on a self-guided tour of the palace. The inside of the palace was mostly art galleries, but there were a handful of restored rooms to give you the feeling of being in a palace. 

After walking around inside, we walked around the Wilanów Park, the grounds surrounding the palace. The park was beautiful once you got past the sections of the gardens undergoing construction/replanting. But, the leaves are all changing colors, and once we got to the river, it was just awesome and easy to forget about the ugly parts. :)

After spending three hours at the Wilanów Pałac, we took the bus back north toward Nowy Świat to find lunch. Gianina knew about a place where we could get 9zl meals, and 5zl drinks, so we went to Metal. We didn't know what was on the menu (in Polish), and we were going to wing it, but one of the women behind the counter found her colleague who did speak English! Order successful! :) I had stroganoff, and it was delicious. 

From Nowy Świat, we walked toward the Pałac Kultury i Nauki (Palace of Culture and Science). We met up with another girl, Patricia (if I recall correctly), and went to check out what movies were playing on the last night of the
Warsaw Film Festival. We bought tickets for a Finnish movie, Twisted Roots, then went to the top of the Palace of Culture and Science to get the panoramic view of Warsaw.The views of Warsaw were beautiful from the top of the Palace!!! It was FREAKIN' COLD though!!!! 

After we were done freezing, we went to the coffee shop at the top to get hot drinks to warm up. After coffee, it was time for dinner! We journeyed to the mall food court a few blocks away, had a snack/dinner, then went back to the Palace of Culture and Science for the film. The film was enjoyable, it was fun to hear Finnish. :) 

Then I went home and started writing this entry. That was my week! I am planning a trip next weekend...!! It'll be a surprise. ;-)