Note: More photos will be added to this post over time, so keep checking back.
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.
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…
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:
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.
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).
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.