It's a creekmore world

Day 8-9 Poland – Warsaw: Stalin, the finger, boomboxes and makeup.

Day 8-9 Poland Warsaw-7“Crack-house? Good Dance?  Pole-land?  War-saw?  What is it with the names in this country?”  Lily asks.  Groan, Emma and I think.  It’s 14 year old humor.  Lily is an early teen and full of sugary spite and salty humor when she’s not on her phone.

Not that she isn’t fun, we still tease her a lot, which she likes as long as we don’t go too far.  For at least 10 years I’ve been pushing her into doors, kicking the bottom of her shoe as she walks and pulling her backpack down as we wait in line.  Never gets old.

Day 8-9 Poland Warsaw-2Our accommodations in Warsaw are incredible.  By stacking deals I got this apartment-like suite for $50 a night.

There is no breakfast but the attached restaurant is the top pasta restaurant in Warsaw and worth it.  Lily raves about the lamb meatballs and tagliatelle.  I get a single large ricotta ravioli with a moltDay 8-9 Poland Warsaw-11en egg yolk in the middle that gushes out when pierced. Emma eats… buttered noodles.  The waiter seemed a little offended.

We’ve been waking up late, 9am and getting out by 10am.  Today we add another hour to get breakfast and coffee.  We try a few cafe’s on a hunt for Wifi to post yesterday’s blog about Malbork Castle.  They all keep me from uploading pictures.  It starts to cold rain.

Day 8-9 Poland Warsaw-3We duck the raindrops and scramble toward the Palace of Science and Culture.  This Palace is recognizable to anyone who has been in Moscow.  It’s a modified copy of the seven Stalinist skyscrapers that mark the Russian capital.  Built in the 50s, they had elements of Russian gothic and Art Deco.  I have always found them frightening and intimidating, which probably was Stalin’s intent.  In that sense, they are great architecture.

Day 8-9 Poland Warsaw-12The polish one isn’t quite as high, but still very powerful.  The rain turns to hail as we make a mad dash for the entrance.  I mistakenly thought the buildings would be connected but we need to be all the way on the other side and have to run around in the rain.

The destination is the Museum of old technology, a collection of mostly Soviet era stuff.

Day 8-9 Poland Warsaw-10That a data cassette for programs and files,’ I show them on the Commodore 64, my first real computer.  ‘Oh cool, and it would play music too, so it was like an Ipod?’   Not exactly.

The reactions from the girls to the old stuff is hilarious.  Lily is fascinated with it.  “I want a boom box, a manual typewriter and a rotary phone.’

Day 8-9 Poland Warsaw-9Why can’t we have a rotary phone at our house, Father?’ (They ONLY call me Father now.  I think it’s some sort of ridicule.)  “Because I don’t pay for the line anymore.”  That makes no sense to her and she grumbles something about connecting a phone is easy’  She has no concept of what a land line is or means.

Day 8-9 Poland Warsaw-4

They play in the side car of the motorcycle, another item Lily wants.  This is an entertaining museum despite few English captions and no audio guide.  Cars, planes, household equipment, photo and darkroom, mini mainframes, space exploration stuff… It’s all here.  Both kids are fascinated with records, but also horrified at how inconvenient they are.  “It’s just for hipsters” says Emma.

Day 8-9 Poland Warsaw-5Lily pauses to lie down on the floor of the giant Stalinist staircase for a break and gives me the finger.  Again. It’s time to go I guess – back into the rain.

Unthinkable 25 years ago, there is a mall with a hard rock cafe across the street.  We go in, lured by some signs for Sushi.  The only things we really eat while traveling are Indian, Mexican, Pizza, Sushi (if they do avocado rolls) and fries.  Mexican and Sushi is the rarest, so we get it when we can.

Day 8-9 Poland Warsaw-18Since it’s pouring and we have the time, I suggest we eat quickly and catch an afternoon movie.  I fall asleep in 4 out of 5 afternoon movies anyway, but I know the girls want to see Logan, the X-man movie.  The theater has one that’s not dubbed.  I can’t tell you anything about the first 90 minutes of the film, as I slept promptly.  The last 45 minutes had a lot of slashing of bad guys and blood.

I’m still trying to get this damn Malbork blog posted.  It’s gotten so much easier to post in the last 5 years, I can almost do it from my 2g phone.

Girls in the movie theater

Girls in the movie theater

When I started this in 2006 it was kind of unusual to be posting day by day accounts of world travel.  I had to scratch and claw to get internet.  I remember I slept in the lobby of a hotel in Mexico once to get the photos uploaded.

I give the girls a treat of $20 each to spend on makeup a their favorite store NYX.  *It’s good quality but not as expensive as the others.)

Day 8-9 Poland Warsaw-17I finally find a Nero coffee shop that has decent bandwidth and get the post done.  The girls and I meet outside the local mexican place.  Excitement as we sit down and look at the menu, disappointment as we are served.   This is a pattern for us.  We are never happy with Mexican anywhere outside the Western Hemisphere.  We try to make a rule that we won’t do Mexican again like this, but we know we will.

Day 8-9 Poland Warsaw-14The next morning we pack bags and leave them at the hotel before we go to the Warsaw Uprising Museum.  Our plane departs to Lithuania at 4pm, so we only have time for one thing and this seems best.

I’m sure Warsaw has great stuff to do – but compared to Gdansk or Krakow is seems difficult to program.  It’s spread out and nothing seems like a must-see – just a lot of good but not great stuff.

Warsaw uprising museum

Warsaw uprising museum

And the Warsaw Uprising Museum is indeed only good not great.  Partly that’s because we saw some world class museums in Gdansk.  It’s also because it was insanely crowded and they had run out of audio guides.

But it is also because it’s very fragmented and hard to follow.   Though it’s got a lot about the 2 month, mostly unsuccessful Warsaw uprising of 1943, it’s also about the whole of WWII.  Much of it we have covered so we can move quickly.  Its such a zoo I’m glad to get out of there.

Day 8-9 Poland Warsaw-21And then we almost have some travel problems. First I tell out taxi to go to the sister hotel of the one we are staying, and end up far away.  It leaves us little time to catch our flight to Vilnius at 4:20.  Lily and Emma keep cracking up when they see our flight time.  ‘Heh heh  4:20 Emma”  At the Lot airlines counter they nicely tell me that I’m not booked on the flight I think I am and to call United.

Again, unlike 10 years ago, this is actually solved in 10 minutes.  I call United in the states and the agree they made a mistake, fix the ticket, and the nice lady looks at her screen and sees we are now on the flight.  Amazing, right?  Even I take it for granted.  It’s so much easier than it was.  I guess that trend will continue.

Lily and Emma playing in a mirror house in the Technology Museum.

Lily and Emma playing in a mirror house in the Technology Museum.

Shit! I remember I have $15 in Zlotys to spend and our plane is final boarding.  We stop in the last place before our gate and grab some soda, cookies and little sandwiches that miraculously are not gross.  I am assuming that the odds of getting a not gross prepackaged sandwich in the Warsaw airport is low.  Maybe I’m not giving them enough credit.

And away we go.  Poland is a good place.  I’d consider coming back, but not for a while.  It’s a backpackers dream – cheap, safe, easy.  In a short hour the tiny plane’s wheels come down and we are in the last city of our trip:  Vilnius Lithuania.

Day 8-9 Poland Warsaw-22