Trip 2 days 1-4
10.07.2011 - 10.10.2011 8 °C
As I said in my previous post I finally arrived in Warsaw after an excruciatingly long day of train rides. After I submitted that blog it was nearly 11 pm. Then quickly showered and headed to bed. Normaally when I try to go to sleep it often takes me close to an hour to finally drift off, but not that night! I finally understand what people say about falling asleep as soon as their heads hit the pillow. I woke up the next day around 830 and began to get ready for the day. Because I lost a day on my train rerouting, I only had one day in Warsaw, so I checked out – left my bag at the hostel for the day- and hit the town. At first I planned on walking the streets on my own, but that proved difficult because all of the information on te buildings about the history were in Polish. So when I spotted a tour bus that cost about 20 Euros for a day pass, I jumped at the chance. I first travelled around on the bus listening to the commentary and looking at all the sites. Then the next time around I hoped off to look at everything. I was entertained with this for about 3 hours and then was done. Not because there weren’t things to see, because there was plenty to see and plenty of history to go along with it. I just… didn’t like Warsaw. The Polish people I met were very nice, for some reason I just didn’t care for the city. By the time the day was over I was happy to be jumping on a train to a new place.
Warsaw Royal Palace
A memorial to Catholics, Christians, Jews, Muslims, etc. that were mrudered during the holocaust
They definitely love the late Pope in Warsaw
My train for Bratislava left at 8pm that night. I was set to arrive in Bratislava around 540am the next day. I kept my fingers crossed that the train would be late so I could get some more sleep, but it pulled up to the station in Bratislava right on time. The train ride there wasn’t too bad except for customs stopping us in the Czech Republic and Slovakia to check our passports and the attendants checking our tickets at every stop throughout the night. So we were woken up pretty much every hour. Other than that there were no hitches. I was happy to see that the trams were running so early in the morning, so I hopped on one and headed to my hostel to drop off my bag. They were happy to let me drop my stuff off even though I wasn’t due to check in until three in the afternoon. They also offered my some coffee and let me hang out in the common area until the shops and restaurants opened (It was a Sunday so that didn’t happen until 10 am) I happily sipped my coffee and read my book on a giant cushy couch for a few hours then headed out to do another free walking tour. I think my tour guide in Edinburgh ruined me for tours though, because none have really compared since then. But, no matter. The guide was very nice and tried to tell us jokes, but the Slovak to English translation sometimes didn’t make sense. After the tour finished I headed back to the hostel to check in and find my room. Then I laid down for a half hour and headed back out again to find some dinner. I lazily wondered around the city. It was quiet, but not eerie like Warsaw had been at night. For some reason Warsaw just made me itch with uncofortability. It didn’t seem unsafe, but for some reason I did feel at ease.
Old Bratislava National Theatre
Famous statue in Bratislava
Spot of the first witch burning in the Bratislava witch hunts
The Bratislava Castle from afar
Famous Blue Church in Bratislava
Cool looking church down one of the side streets
Spray paint on the side of the church in the previous photo
One thing that I realized I wasn’t prepared is the huge language barrier. Sure I have been living in a country that doesn’t speak English as a first language, but a lot of the people there do speak English. Also, Dutch – to me- isn’t that hard to understand. There are of course times where I am completely clueless, but the things that I need to know are not too difficult. And because I have a grasp on Dutch, German isn’t too difficult. But, Polish? Slovak? Way different. Not only are there completely foreign characters in their alphabet, but I also have no clue how to pronounce anything. It has definitely made this trip wild! Not to mention I still have another week of trying to figure out Czech and Hungarian. At least in Austria I will get by with my broken German.
On a completely unrelated note I have been reading a book about Janis Joplin and it entirely fascinates me. I knew she wasn’t the “typical” musician, but I had no idea how far out she was. It also has an extensive background on the mid- 1960’s and early 1970’s. I have to say I am in love with this era. To my mom- you’re lucky I was born in the 80’s instead of the early 50’s because I would have definitely run away to San Francisco to find the “beautiful people.” I also had no idea Bob Dylan had such an extensive role in the Rock & Roll movement. Mind blown. More research must be done. If anyone out there has any recommendations on books or articles, etc.- let me know!
Overall, I don’t think Warsaw was too bad, just not my cup of tea. But, I really enjoyed Bratislava.
The weather on this trip has been a bit brutal, but after Edinburgh and Inverness I packed a few more layers. Warsaw was mostly dry but a chilly 7 degrees Celsius while Bratislava has been a balmy 10 degrees (hah!) and pissing down rain since I arrived. I’m sure some of you are laughing at me for being a baby about the weather, but remember I’m a So Cal girl who is used to 23 degrees year round.
Next Stop: Prague, Czech Republic