First day in the big city

Tuesday May 31, 2016

Today we are headed to Poland’s capital city, Warsaw. We left the Lublin train station around 10 am. The train was very nice and efficient. I wish we had more train transportation in the U.S.

The population of Warsaw is 1.7 million, so just a little bit smaller than Chicago. I was surprised to see all these tall buildings. We have not seen any skyscrapers on the trip yet, so this was something new to see.

At our hostel in Warsaw, we were given two rooms with 10 beds in each… this should be fun. We were at least given normal towels at this hostel. There are 6 guys and 8 girls on the trip, so the girls got the short end of the stick on that one. We started walking around the old town that afternoon. We went to the church where our tour guide’s parents got married and where he was baptized.

We saw the place where the president lives. The building wasn’t as extravagant as the White House, but it still looked quite cool. I think It’s interesting to see where presidents of different countries live, and how they compare to one another.

We also saw a sight where the unknown soldiers are kept. There are 2 soldiers that guard the site at all times. We were there when the guards were switched out. They rotate every hour, but during the winter every 30 minutes. We were able to see the two new soldiers being escorted by a lead officer, and they did an official military march which was cool to see.

We then went further into the old town. When we got to the old castle square, there was an ambulance that had to get through. Several people were almost struck by the ambulance since it went flying into the square center at about 40mph. I’ve never seen such reckless driving by an ambulance before. This was by far one of the most memorable experiences of the trip. I wasn’t able to get a picture of the ambulance since I was too busy watching the crazy driving.

We then made it to the old town square. It didn’t seem like too much was going on there, but they had a sculpture of a mermaid. Apparently the symbol of Warsaw is a mermaid.

There were a lot of beggers around the square. We found out from our guide that they’re gyspies. When we were eating dinner, we had 6 people come up to us asking for money. Since most restaurants are outdoors, this wasn’t the first time we’ve encountered this, however, we’ve never had 6 people come up to us during one meal. I ordered fish, and once again was not expecting to receive what I did. At least this time the fish didn’t have the eyes and teeth still in tact. The fish was very good though. The ice cream was very good too!

Our waiter gave us all a free shot of cherry vodka, so that was a nice gesture, and made up for his poor service. We’ve had some good servers so far, and some that are just awful. Our tour guide is a very nice 75 year old man. So far we’ve have very nice tour guides and they’ve all been very helpful.


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