First the quick note: Windows Movie Maker does not apparently do well with memory constrictions, so am I attempting some workarounds in order to get the Dusseldorf and Warsaw videos up. They are complete, but WMM crashed every time I export the video; this is a known issue and there are some documented fixes for it, so eventually I’ll get those up. They’re worth waiting for.
But onto Warsaw!
Warsaw has a tattered history and nearly all of its pre-WWII buildings are gone. Quite literally, they’re down to basically one block of pre-WWII architecture:
I saw that building on a free walking tour of the city that was run by a guy whose grandfather was expelled from working for not converting to the Communist party under Polish communism — which was basically controlled by the Soviet Union. He was a pretty funny guy and presented some remarkable tidbits about Polish communism in particular while having the tour end at their “best local brewery”. Half the beers there were “California IPAs” so it felt like I was somewhat at home at the end of the walking tour.
In addition to the walking tour, two Scots and I embarked on our own walking tour, where we visited the Marie Curie museum / home, had roasted duck in Old Town, walked through what’s left of the Barbacon and Royal Palace, and took pictures of “Stalin’s Penis”. Yep, the name for the extremely large “Cultural and Science” center is called “Stalin’s Penis” since it was he that had the building erected after WWII in order to show Poles that the Soviets had good intentions in their new-found relationship.
I was also sure to go running every morning in Warsaw at it was entirely flat, had a whole bunch of newly built parks, and was fairly spread out in terms of European capitals. In order to see everything, I planned my runs carefully. One of those runs ran through their largest park; at the head of the park is their Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
As you can see below, it’s under construction, which could be said about absolutely everything in Warsaw. The tour guide says it’s because they hire Turks and Turks are lazy. I know Vaughn will get a kick out of that. (I asked him if the Poles were hiring workers they knew were lazy, does that mean that Poles are stupid? The tour guide thought that was funny and asked if he could use it in the future.) The most stunning example of how under construction the city is, though, is how they still haven’t finished the metro stops that go to their central train station. They were supposed to be finished before last year’s Euro Cup.
It wouldn’t be a full recap of Warsaw if I didn’t talk about the cuisine. They have a whole lot of pork, dumplings, sausages, etc, and drink beer basically exclusively (with the exception of one type of vodka). I’ll spare most of that, but post some of the highlights:
That said, I’m off to Auschwitz. Will post more later.