Saturday, February 21, 2015
Poland was kind of an accident in our travel plans: we were going from Vilnius to Prague and the cheapest way was to bus with a stop in Warsaw. We spend about 16 hours in the city, bookended by two overnight buses, so this was definitely our most difficult day of travel. We were kind of dirty and cold, but we saw so many beautiful things that we didn't regret our choice.
We did end up hanging around in the train station for a chunk of the dark hours, but when we ventured out we found some gems. The first place we headed was my favorite: Lazienki Park. It's a huge stretch of greenery in the center of the city, interspersed with ponds and statues and little footbridges. It even houses a palace and an art gallery. I was genuinely amazed, and felt like I was wandering around in Narnia, helped along a bit by the faun lampposts. My favorite favorite was this open air theatre we stumbled across, built to look like a classical ruin. You can't entirely tell from the picture, but it was in the lagoon. It was separated from the seats by a narrow strip of water. I was nearly salivating at the thought of performing there on warm summer nights, surrounded by the swans and stars. Ugh! So cool!
The afternoon was spent exploring Old Town, which is a good hike from the park, but we split up our walk by stopping in at some cool ephemera shops and having lunch at a restaurant I compared to a Polish Olive Garden. One of our biggest laughs of the trip was looking at the Google Translation of the restaurant's website:
"In the room is a furnace. The furnace has a window, through which peeks grandmother. Whether we taste? After our smiles to know that, yes."
The decor did include the facade of a wood burning stove, but we didn't eat any bits of grandmother as far as we're aware.
Late afternoon saw us headed back towards the vicinity of the train station; we spent a couple of hours exploring a really interesting (and free) Museum of Modern Art. Once our feet got too tired to keep standing around, we loitered in the cafe and perused the really interesting bookstore. I took notes about some titles I wanted to check out when I got home, and I've really been enjoying a couple which I'll share soon.
Finally, we were overcome by the fourteen miles (self high five!) we'd walked that day and dragged ourselves back to the train station to wait for our next bus. A nap and episode of Game of Thrones later, we were on our way. To Prague!