Saturday, June 26, 2004

Warsaw, Poland—Day 147

Today started off with a trip to Wilanow, an old mansion just outside of Warsaw which has served as a museum for over a century. It also survived World War II due to its location just outside of Warsaw. We decided to try and take a bus there, but after stopping at the train station first to get times for our train to Lodz for tomorrow combined with trying to figure out if we had to buy our bus tickets on the bus or at a kiosk (which meant a lot of walking back and forth) we decided to just take a taxi and figure out the bus on the way back. The taxi proved to be worth the price. The grounds of Wilanow are beautiful and the exhibits inside were also pretty interesting. Despite being smothered in a sea of Italian and Polish tour groups, we were able to have a pretty leisurely time at Wilanow.

Afterwards we visited the small but interesting Poster Museum next door to Wilanow which has on display over 400 posters, ranging from advertisements and political statements. It was interesting. We then found the bus stop near Wilanow and boarded a bus back to the center of Warsaw. We figured out where to get off and were impressed by the extremely efficient and computerized bus system (you buy the bus ticket on the bus, btw).

We got off near a large botanical park and spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around the gardens, having lunch near the Palace on the Water, which was just that. The gardens were really beautiful despite bouts of rain.

We had quite a funny moment when Sarah stopped me and asked me to take a picture of a bird for her mother (who is quite an avid bird watcher). So I stopped and got out my camera and tried to focus on the bird. But then it flew away and along came another. So I kept moving my camera trying to follow once of the birds (much harder to photograph than a hippo btw!) and all of a sudden there were at least six little birds flying all over us, right in our faces. I screamed and ran away, as fast as I could (which didn’t prove to be fast enough since one bird managed to poop on me) and I left Sarah standing there with the swarm—straight out of the Hitchcock film. It was so funny-as I was running away, all I could hear was her shrieking. I turned around and to my surprise saw Sarah standing there with her arm outstretched and her finger propped just so that a bird could sit on it. And then one did! I couldn’t believe it. Then another, then another. Sarah was shrieking away and I was just dying of laughter and the look on her face was priceless. Needless to say, I never got the picture and when we composed ourselves and tried to get a picture (and some video footage) of Sarah standing there with the birds, none came.

After the bird fiasco we walked though the park and along to another, and then on to yet another before we were back in the main downtown area of Warsaw. We managed to walk all the way back from the parks to the hotel, where we rested for a bit before heading back out for dinner. We found a cute little Polish place and had potato pancakes and deep-fried cheese with our “sok do piwo” (a Polish specialty—beer with raspberry syrup!!!).

(c) 2004 Sarah Galbraith. All Rights Reserved.