June 16 – 6:51AMEST, 12:51PM Local
We had just arrived in Poland (Warsaw, to be exact) from our connecting flight from Frankfurt. After we landed, we walked out of the plane onto the tarmac, and caught a bus to the airport terminal.
We're really tired. And Alex needs a smoke.16-Jun-2009 06:11, FUJIFILM FinePix A345, 2.8, 5.8mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 88
Peter is diggin' Poland16-Jun-2009 06:11, FUJIFILM FinePix A345, 2.8, 5.8mm, 0.068 sec, ISO 100
Poland! Sooo tired…16-Jun-2009 06:18, FUJIFILM FinePix A345, 2.8, 5.8mm, 0.357 sec, ISO 100
Once we got inside, we had to somehow find our checked luggage. There was some concern that our luggage may have been lost in the shuffle when our original flight from Frankfurt was moved forward, so we were a bit worried. If all of our luggage magically showed up, with no fuss, or missing bits, then we were in business.
So we went down to the carousel…and waited…and waited…nothing was moving, no luggage had arrived. We waited…and then, finally, the wheels started moving. Bags started pouring out of a chute built into the floor.
Would any of our bags be on the carousel?
It took a few rounds, and some people lost hope – but then the first bag was sighted. After that, one after another they poured onto the carousel. There was much rejoicing.
Now that we had our luggage, we had to find Tamara. And here was the tricky part: as far as I know, nobody had contacted her to tell us that we had taken a later flight. So, she may have been waiting around for an hour, and then left when we didn’t arrive. So, we started patrolling the arrivals area…
I love these things…16-Jun-2009 06:53, FUJIFILM FinePix A345, 4.7, 17.4mm, 0.051 sec, ISO 100
And immediately found Tamara. Bless her heart, she hadn’t left, and had been waiting there the whole time for us. She’d even brought a big green bus with her to take us to our first hostel.
It’s amazing how weary us travellers can get – especially since we don’t do much, physically, while we’re being transported. All it is, is an exercise in sitting still. Still, somehow it’s exhausting. Also factor in that at this point, I’d probably been up for almost 24 hours.
While we were riding the bus, Tamara informed us that the original train trips that had been scheduled into our itinerary had been too difficult to set up, and that she had arranged for the green bus to transport us to where we needed to go. We officially had a tour bus! Awesome!
We flew down the streets of Warsaw. My first impression? The license plates sure look different. And most of the advertisements were, understandably, in Polish. The Stop signs were still in English though, which I found interesting.
It was rainy and gray out. Traffic flew by. We were all exhausted. To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t paying too much attention to the road. I was really tired.
When we got to the hostel, we all piled out of the bus and unloaded our luggage. Tamara apologized because we had to walk up 3 flights of stairs with our luggage – but it wasn’t that bad. At first, the smell of the stairwell discouraged me…it smelled funky and musty. I was prepared for the worst.
I was pleasantly surprised.
The hostel was awesome. Freakin’ awesome. If you’re about my age, think about your ideal apartment. Now add lots of free food just lying around. Now add the awesome reunions with Una Ruud and Linn Farley, two other UCDP students that had come from elsewhere around Europe to meet us. Like I said: awesome.
If you’re ever interested in staying in Warsaw, I recommend the place that we stayed at: New World St. Hostel. Very clean, friendly staff, great bunks, great location. Here is the hostel’s website.
And here are a few photos:
Our first hostel! Loved it.16-Jun-2009 07:44, FUJIFILM FinePix A345, 2.8, 5.8mm, 0.192 sec, ISO 100
We were spoiled at our hostel.16-Jun-2009 08:01, FUJIFILM FinePix A345, 2.8, 5.8mm, 0.278 sec, ISO 100
Tom, Linn and Una make their first appearance on my camera!16-Jun-2009 08:01, FUJIFILM FinePix A345, 2.8, 5.8mm, 0.25 sec, ISO 100
We didn’t have access to the rooms at first – we had to wait about half an hour. But that was OK, seeing as how there was awesome free food just lying around for us to eat: cakes, freshly picked strawberries (very common at this time of year here, apparently), crackers, bread, etc. After our long trip, it was heavenly.
While we were chowing down, Tara Gerami and Tom Davis walked through the door, which whipped us into another hyper frenzy. Tom and Tara are two other UCDP students who had been in Berlin, and were meeting up with us like Linn and Una. We were exhausted, hyper, dazed, and kinda grungy. I won’t lie – even though I hadn’t done anything physical, I really needed a shower. I wasn’t alone.
Ever played Monopoly? Sure you have. You know how when you pass GO, you get $200? That’s basically what happened to us. By coming to this hostel, we had apparently passed GO, and so Tamara dished out 200 z (zloty, Polish currency) for each of us. Nothing wrong with that.
Finally, our rooms were ready. I looked inside our rooms – grey bunk beds, foot lockers for personal storage, and nice big windows. The bunk beds were nice, and were the exact same type that I have at my own apartment. A very comfortable room.
Where we slept in the first hostel. Really nice room – very clean. Familiar bed.16-Jun-2009 15:54, FUJIFILM FinePix A345, 2.8, 5.8mm, 0.192 sec, ISO 100
After we had settled, we realized that (despite all of the free food) we were hungry for a full-sized meal. We all trooped out of the hostel, and went to a restaurant just down the street.
Good food. I had a macaroni, chicken, broccoli, and cheese casarole. I also took this opportunity to send very short emails to my parents and my girlfriend Em with Una’s iPhone (the restaurant, despite looking like the Three Bears’ cottage, had wi-fi).
Eating at our first Polish restaurant. Very rustic…Three-Bears-ish.16-Jun-2009 09:16, FUJIFILM FinePix A345, 2.8, 5.8mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 400
My first traditional Polish meal. Brocolli, chicken, cheese, macaroni cassarole. Nice.16-Jun-2009 10:16, FUJIFILM FinePix A345, 2.81, 5.8mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 100
The effects of sleep deprevation were really taking their toll. The jokes were non-sensical. I couldn’t tell if I was hungry, but I ate anyways. In my opinion, we were all (understandably) burnt out.
While it would have been nice to just curl up and go to bed (awake for over 24 hours at this point), Tamara advised us that it would be wisest for us to stay up as late as possible so as to not completely screw over our sleep cycle.
So, instead of going back to the hostel, the lot of us hit the pavement, and we started checking out Warsaw.
Click here to go to Part 3: Our Day in Warsaw
Good reading Mike. Sounds like the trip is going well, and it’s nice having the photos tied in to the blog.
Got to mention something…I’ve only heard about translated stop signs in Quebec, which we find very funny (and ridiculous) in France.
I guess it’s better to have one language for roadsigns. In Italy, all the colours are reversed for the type of road compared to France (green is highway, and blue normal one, and vice versa), and we are sure to make mistakes…