Ten Most Awesome Icecreams in Warsaw

One thing you can say for sure about the Poles, is that they love their icecream, or ‘lody’. The only people who love it more perhaps are the tourists that flock to Warsaw’s Old Town, in search of it.

So of course I made it my mission to try out as many different icecreams as I could while I was in Warsaw.

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The Swiderki

The Swiderki, meaning ‘fusilli’ (you can see the resemblance to the pasta right), is one of the most popular icecreams you’ll see while walking the streets of Old Town Warsaw.

They generally come in plain vanilla, plain chocolate or mixed, as above. And you can choose from mały (small) or duży (large).

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Syropy do Lodowé

Basically icecream with syrup, I tried this one from a shop just outside the Barbican in the Old Town. There were several flavours to choose from, I chose green apple whi h was really nice. The icecream was super creamy!

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Maczane

Back inside the walls of the Old Town is where you’ll find this treat. Maczane means ‘dipped’ and that’s what you are getting here – a soft serve icecream, dipped in chocolate. OK, not so special in itself, but it’s rather the flavours of the chocolate the soft serve is dipped in that make it a delicious treat. I chose citrus (cytryna), but there was also smurf and strawberry. I had to eat it fast though as it was quick to begin melting all down my hands. Glorious!

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Czarny Bez

OK, so this one I sourced from the Praga side of the river, at a small shop inside Galeria Walenska. A small scoop of black lilac flavoured gelato, slightly tangy, slightly tart, slightly sweet. A nice change from all the soft serve.

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Cookies n Cream

This is your plain old store brand (Społem) icecream sandwich and it was good. Lots of pieces in it and a nice quality icecream. Perfect for the walk home to my apartment.

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Natural Lody

Sourced from a small stall along the river Vistula, this little gem was banana choc chip flavoured. Small, but sweet and totally good for you – I swear!

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Gourmet Lody

Head to Hala Koszyki for this Sernik (cheesecake) flavoured ice cream. Worth the money and the trip.

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Black Cactus

Yes, you heard right. Another store bought treat which I couldn’t resist reaching for when I saw it. And it does taste kinda cactusy, whatever that tastes like, but in a good way.

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Rurki z Kremem

Wafer filled with cream. That’s super sweet mock cream. Good for a lighter treat.

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Store Bought Heaven

Ok, now I can’t for the life of me recall what this super creamy icecream was but I know it was bloody awesome and I got it from one of the Żabka stores near PKIN. Sorry.

The moral of the story? Pretty much any icecream you try in Poland whether store bought or store made is gonna be good.

War-sore

Magda Szubanksi writes in her novel ‘Reckoning’,

My family were proud Warszawians. Warsaw. War-(sore). In Polish it is pronounced Var-SHA-var. Lovely. Like the rustle of petticoats in a Viennese waltz. But the English pronunciation, sadly, is more apt.

What she says is true. The battle scars of war are written across Warsaw’s face. And perhaps nowhere is it quite so obvious as when you stand outside ulica Bielanska 10 – the remants of Reduta Bank Polski.

Established as the bank headquarters in 1926, it became a key strategic target during the Warsaw Uprising and served as a base for Polish insurgents upon capture. It was decimated by German bombs, riddled with bullet holes and left to rot.

Nothing can prepare you for your first glimpse of this building and it quickly transports you back to this sad time in Warsaw’s history. You can imagine people on the other side of the walls, silently praying that the bullets wouldn’t hit them, that they would survive this day. It’s really heartbreaking.

And it presents a difficult situation. The younger generation wish to move on and get over the war. The older generations don’t want to forget what was sacrificed and lost. There are many buildings like this one in Warsaw, many of them are apartment blocks housing people going about their every day lives. Personally, I think reminders such as these should remain.

The Reduta Bank has found a second breath of life as an event space. Joyous occasions such as weddings are held here in this eerily beautiful building. But its definitely worth having a look at if you have the time and inclination to wander the streets of Warsaw.

Festival of the Pierogi

Leaving beautiful Błędowo behind, Paula and I head back to Warsaw to drop in on the Pierogi Festival, which was happening down along the banks of the Vistula.  Hundreds and hundreds of people turned out to try pierogi and dumplings from around the world and enjoy the beautiful summer’s day.

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It was hard to know where to start; we did so by walking around all the stores to see what they had and then diving in. There were fried pakoras and dim sum and croquettes, Indian dumplings and Polish pierogi. But perhaps the most popular stall, certainly the one with the longest queues, was for one of my favourites – bao. Unfortunately the massive queue was in direct sunlight, and I just couldn’t bear to wait in line for much longer than 10 minutes, so we moved on.

Admission to the festival was free; filling your body to the brim with delicious dumplings? Not so much!

Dumplings in hand, we headed for somewhere to sit, and like many others chose the steps along the river. This part of the river was set up like a beach, complete with a firepit and toasting tongs, though no-one was toasting up anything today, content to have themselves cooked for.

Paula and I walked along the river and back to my apartment, hoping in vain to try and walk off some of our lunch. We chatted about this and that and talked a bit about my plans for the next few days.

It had been such a wonderful weekend with my cousins. I couldn’t believe I was getting to spend so much time with them – it was just what I had wanted for this trip and I was so grateful. Thinking back to my childhood or even my teens, I never would have imagined having the opportunity to meet my Polish cousins, and certainly not in their countries.

The ability to travel has given me the opportunity to get to know my extended family, both in Poland and in Wales. I am so glad I pushed myself to get out there into the big wide world all by myself. I can’t imagine life any other way now!

My Favourite Museums in Warsaw

Warsaw Rising Museum

I would have no hesitation to call this Warsaw’s Number 1 Museum. Hands down.

Located in the suburb of Wola, it tells you the story of the Warsaw Uprising which took place in 1944. Full of interesting artefacts and information (there’s a plane hanging from the ceiling in one place), I could have spent the best part of a day here. Heartstopping is the 3D movie titled City of Ruins which is a flyover of Warsaw after the uprising. The devastation is insane.

Audio guides are available and although I didn’t get one due to time limitations, I would recommended one.

Admission is free on Sundays.

Vodka Museum

Now this is newly opened museum is well worth the visit. Especially if you are a vodka fan. Housed in the old Koneser Vodka Factory, which has been beautifully restored to bring you the incredible story of Polish vodka.

First a short video is screened in the cinema, outlining the history of Polish Vodka, and in particular the Wyborowa brand. Then you will learn the even longer history of vodka itself, how it is distilled, how many types and brands there are and even partake in some little quizzes – including putting on some ‘beer goggles’.

The tour concludes with three tastings of different types and brands of vodka. It was at this point that my new appreciation for vodka began and I vowed never to drink rubbish vodka again.

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POLIN

The Museum of the History of Polish Jews is considered one of Warsaw’s best museums. It tells the story of the Jewish people in Poland right through World War 2 and up til modern times.

Be prepared for an information overload, as there’s a lot covered here, but its well laid out, with some interactive activities on offer. I would recommend taking advantage of the museum’s cafe for a break.

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Ethnographic Museum

During my first 15 minutes in this museum, I thought I had made a mistake. It seemed like a fairly docile exhibition with some items that didn’t even belong in Poland. But when I ended up in the second part of the exhibition, my mind was changed.

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An array of bright, bold regional costumes lined the outer edge of the floor. And there were all sorts of festival props, Easter and Christmas decorations and general household nicknacks, some of which I’d seen in my Babcia’s home and never known the purpose of.

I was glad I’d ventured further inside and actually got a great deal out of my visit to this museum.

Fotoplastikon

It was a little hard to find, but once inside and after paying not a cent to do so (if you go on Thursdays it is free!) I was glad I had made my way to Fotoplastikon. A pre-cursor to today’s modern cinemas, the fotoplastikon was invented in Germany in the second half of the 19th century. At one time, there were around 250 of these machines in Europe, but advances in film and movie technology moved them to obsoletion.

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This one was received in Warsaw in 1905 and there are now over 2,500 slides available to view in it. Each slide series runs for 20 minutes. While I was there, the photos were taken from Warsaw’s World War 2 period and they provided an interesting glimpse into Warsaw’s war-time past.

Where else in the world would you be able to view one of these?

A Tale of Two Gardens

Saxon Gardens

The Saxon Gardens (also known as Saski Park) is considered to be one of the oldest parks in the world. Flowerbeds of white and red dot the park, but the main inhabitant here is trees, the oldest one in the park having been aged at around 250 years old.

If you’ve heard of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, this is where you’d find it, two guards standing guard over the tomb, an eternal flame burning in the background. Dedicated to the unknown Polish soldiers who lost their lives in war, it is considered one of Poland’s most important monuments.

The monument itself was created from the only surviving fragment of the Saxon Palace which stood on these grounds until 1944.

Don’t forget to check out the magnificent fountain in the middle of the park – it was designed by Polish-Italian architect Henryk Marconi, who also designed the Hotel Europejski nearby.

Warsaw University Rooftop Gardens

If I was looking for a garden with a difference, then this was it. Entering through the doors of the Warsaw University and following the steps up to the garden, I found myself overlooking Warsaw’s skyline, standing in one of Europe’s largest rooftop gardens.

The green and purple architecture, domes and studded ironwork, gave the garden a real steampunk meets Alice in Wonderland kind of feel. It was definitely worth a visit.

Rain Drops and Tram Tickets

Leaving Paula’s this morning, the sky was grey and rainy. Fat drops of water hung from the trees as I walked towards the tram stop. So far, I had caught trams to and from larger stops and stations, where I could use a vending machine to buy a ticket in English, but today I would have to catch it from a normal street stop and purchase a ticket from the little shop on the street corner. Which meant, I had to buy a ticket in Polish. Oh crap. Think Michelle, think. OK, I know the words for ‘one’, ‘ticket’ and ‘please’. In my mind I put the words together and practiced the line over and over a few times, took a deep breath and stood in front of the kiosk owner to spout the magic words that would get me home. ‘Czy moge kupic bilet’. She returned fire with some more words, that I didn’t know, until something in my brain twigged and I responded ‘normalnie’.

My hard earned tram ticket

I was so proud of myself. When I had finished smiling to myself, I looked up and noticed for the first time, one of my fellow tram passengers…

This little fella rode a few stops, holding his balance against the rocking and sudden stopping of the tram, before walking to the door, waiting for it to open and hopping off, out into the streets of Warsaw. I was loving this place!

Later in the day, I had another birthday to attend (now you know why I had spent so much time learning the Polish birthday song!) and I needed a gift. Today it was the birthday of Paula’s half sister Zuzanna and I had decided on a big bouquet of flowers, in her favourite colour pink. So now I just had to track down a nearby florist and order some flowers. Luckily a nearby shop was easy to find and the staff spoke some English, so I headed for home, feeling more and more satisfied with my day.

The guest list for the party was much larger than Grazyna’s a day or so ago and included the rest of Paula’s and Zuzia’s family, Paula’s stepfather’s sister and her family, some family friends and Zuzia’s boyfriend Dawid. I was lucky once again though as there were English speakers afoot, so the conversation flowed easily, helped along by vodka and wine. I had a fantastic night, and once again delighted in the fact that I was spending normal, quality family time with the relatives I hadn’t grown up with.

Life as Normal

I was looking forward to spending time with my cousin Paula today, but as an early riser, I headed to the Old Town to wander around and see what there was to do in the meantime. In the main square, housed in one of the old townhouses, I found the Museum of Warsaw.

Below the streets of Warsaw…

Stepping down into the first floor of the exhibition, which was below street level, scale models, coreflute boards and an interactive wooden townhouse board, told the story of Warsaw – her fluctuating population, the types of employment, pre and post war modelling and remnants of war rubble – everyday items like glasses and ceramics.

The remaining four floors continued Warsaw’s story via photos, postcards, fashion and art. The photos of Warsaw pre and post World War 2 were particularly interesting.

Um, not really my kind of art…

It was all quite interesting, but for me, the highlight of this museum was what you find when you finish climbing the stairs to the 5th floor – sweeping views of the Rynek.

The view from the 5th floor

For the rest of the day, Paula and I had decided to take her son Marcel to the local pools. I jumped on the tram and navigated the streets towards the pool, as directed by my phone’s GPS. I was finding Warsaw’s tram system great and had used it a few times already. Sadly, Perth didn’t enjoy a service like this.

Entry to the pools

The pool was nothing special – a large expanse of grass with lots of shade, several pools for paddling or swimming and a small waterslide – but what I liked about it most, was that I was actually experiencing a slice of Warsaw life that most travellers wouldn’t. And it was the perfect way to cool down from the relentless heat. We tanned, chatted and paddled the afternoon away.

Afterwards, Paula and I headed back to her apartment, stopping along the way to enjoy dinner at her localy Thai restaurant, followed by snacks and some extremely large glasses of wine. It was awesome, with great company and MTV playing Sammantha Fox’s ‘Nothing’s Gonna Stop Me Now’. This was the side of Warsaw I wanted to see most.

Back in the Land of the Living

It was a fairly early start to get back to Warsaw from the little train station in Przemysl. I grabbed a sandwich and a drink from the shop inside the station and headed to the platform to await my ride. Catching a train in Poland can be a little daunting, simply for the lack of English explanations. I had taken a train journey from Krakow to Warsaw on my last visit and it hadn’t gone down well. But I wanted to use the train network a bit while I was here, so I began to make note of the recurrent words I saw around the station and commit them to memory.

When the train arrived, I took my seat in a 8 seat cabin for the six hour journey back to Warsaw, which was fine until the train filled up at the next couple of stations. The seats are small and the cabins are cramped, no airconditioning in sight. It was one, long, hot journey home.

It was simply too hot to sit in the cabins, so I pushed stumbled my way to the corridor and stood against the window, relieved for the wind in my face.

The weather hadn’t chilled back in Warsaw, by any means. I was so hot and sweaty by the time I arrived back at Ratusz Arsenal subway near my apartment with my heavy duffle bag (no doubt thanks to all those books I bought), that I just wanted to sit down anywhere just to cool down a little. Lucky for me, a pop up beer tent came to the rescue. One ice cold pint of Tyskie later, and I was ready to make the last few hundred metres home.

But there was no rest for the wicked. I had a birthday party to attend! Paula’s grandmother Grazyna (was my Babcia’s sister Ana’s daughter) is 79 today. Ana remained in the relatively unscathed Praga side of Warsaw for the duration of the war, after an unsuccesful attempt to join the family at the farm in the Kresy. It is a shame that the language barrier separates us, because I would love to talk to Grazyna about her memories of the war as a young girl. I need to work on my language skills, but for a birthday party, I’ll get by fine. Because I made sure to learn all the words to the Polish birthday tune ‘Sto Lat’.

Making my way to Makow

This morning I’m leaving Warsaw on a week long journey around Poland (and even a lit bit of Belarus).  I have hired geneologists Polish Origins to assist me in finding any information on my Polish ancestors.  I’ve been researching my roots for a while now and have a fairly good idea of their stories, but I would love to stand in their shoes, visit their hometowns and try to find out what made them who they were.

I’m starting in Makòw Mazowiecki, which is about 80km north of Warsaw and the birthplace of my Babcia (grandmother).  My guide for the first part of my trip is Zbigniew.

Babcia was born Lucyna Kaczyńska in December 1909 to Franciszka and Stanisław Kaczyński.  Stanisław was a sculptor, though not much more about him is known.  Lucy was one of seven children – 2 brothers and 4 sisters –  and one of four siblings to survive childhood.

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Pułtusk

Enroute we stop in Pułtusk to visit the state archives and search any records that have not been indexed on-line.  The archive in Pułtusk possesses collections and archival records from the 18th century to the present.  We don’t manage to find out much in the way of new information, except that Petronela Grzybowska (Franciszka’s mother and Lucy’s grandmother) was from Pomaski in the Szwelice parish.  We make a note to visit the village later.  And of course, I get a glimpse of Stanisław’s signature.

Makòw Mazowiecki

Arriving at our destination a short distance away, Zbigniew and I check into our rooms at Gospoda Pazibroda, which is situated on the outskirts of Makòw Mazowiecki.  The grounds are just stunning, a haven of relaxation and gorgeous green fields and sun-yellow daisies surrounding the folk-style inn.

The town of Makòw Mazowiecki is actually one of the oldest in the Mazovia region of Poland.  First mentioned in a document dating back to 1065, it was noted that people began to settle in the area close to a river crossing, near the road leading to the village of Grzanka.  A fortified town, and later a duke’s and a royal castle, were located on the left bank of the Orzyc River, not far from the settlement.  The town received it’s charter in around 1421 and was originally named Maków nad Orzycem – which translates to Poppies on the Orzycem River.  I wonder for a brief moment if that is why Babcia loved the colour red, reminiscent of the red poppy fields of her childhood.  I remember the bottle of red Cutex nail polish sitting in her bathroom every time I visited.

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The town had a tumultuous history, thriving in the early 16th century (it was a trade partner of Lithuania), and completely collapsing in the 17th century after a large fire destroyed the town.  The town was slowly being rebuilt when another fire broke out in 1787 and destroyed half of the town’s buildings.  Makòw Mazowiecki was annexed by Prussia after the partitions and then came under Russian rule, before coming back into the fold of newly independent Poland in 1918.

At the time, Makòw Mazowiecki’s population dealt with small trade, agriculture and crafts; the latter soon started to gain more and more importance.  At the end of the 19th century, the several industrial plants were built in the town, including a brewery, a mead production plant and a number of tanneries (I am beginning to see where my love of liquor and leather shoes comes from).

More of the town was destroyed during World War 1, thanks to numerous battles in the area.

Prior to World War 2, it had a large Jewish population – almost half of its 7,000 population.  The Jewish population, as we know to be true in all regions of war-time Poland, was completely executed in 1942.

The Kaczyńskis were members of the 4,000 Poles inhabiting the town.  In the course of Maków Mazowiecki being seized from the Germans by a counter-attacking Red Army in January 1945, heavy fighting and artillery barrages destroyed 90% of the town’s buildings.  The town was rebuilt eventually, but it never regained it’s earlier significance.  It is however, county capital of the Mazowieckie Province.

As far as I can tell, the family left Makòw Mazowiecki upon the death of Stanisław in 1924.  It seems Lucyna moved to Warsaw proper, along with Ana who at some point married, and Franciszka went to live with daughter Zofia and her family in Ostrów.  Which is where their war-time story began.

Settled into our rooms, we meet up in the restaurant of the inn to do some research, ordering a beer and some snacks.  I’d heard about smalec, but I can’t say that I ever thought I’d be trying it.  In fact, it was one of a couple of dishes I’m pretty sure I told myself I definitely wouldn’t be trying.  What is it?  Polish pork lard spread.  But when Zbigniew asked ‘have you tried smalec?’ I found myself answering, ‘no, but why not’.  Hey, you only live once.

Strangely, I had no intrepidation whatsoever when it arrived at the table and lathered it onto my bread, before taking that all important first bite.  It was….yummy actually.  Really yummy.  That was my limit though, I was DEFINITELY not going to be trying Flaki (tripe).

This salty spread is made from rendered white pork fat and flavored with onion, garlic and spices and like most Polish dishes, can vary from region to region.

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We spent a couple of hours trawling the Geneteka website, looking for traces of the Kaczyński’s before deciding to jump in the car and do some on-ground exploring of the local surroundings.

Our first stop is to the Kościół Rzymskokatolicki pw. Bożego Ciała – the Corpus Christi Catholic Church, which is likely where my Babcia was baptised.  Closed when we arrive, we head over to the rectory to find the opening hours, and upon phoning the number pasted on the window, we discover there is a service this afternoon.  We’ll come back later to see if we can chat to the Priest and have a look around.

Szwelice

In Szwelice we visited a church and local cemetery where we discover a number of graves with the Grzybowski surname, but from more recent times than we were wanting.  We theorise about how Franciszka and Stanisław may have met – courtships usually occurred through the church or through common acquaintainces.  Did they meet in this church?

Szelków

We drove to Szelków, where Lucyna’s sister Zofia was born in 1903.  We determine that the family likely stayed here not longer than 2 years, because of later events that took place in Makow.  Although the church has obviously been remodelled over the years, it is interesting to walk into these places through the same doorways that my ancestors would have trod.

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Back at the Corpus Christi Catholic Church, the afternoon service is just finishing up. 

We wait until the parishiners have mostly departed before going inside.  A baptisimal font stands to one side of the Church – was my Babcia baptised here, water dripping down her temple as the Priest signed the cross across her forehead?  It was the first of what I hope will be many surreal moments over the week ahead.

A church worker advised that the rectory held records only commencing in the 1940s, so no luck there.  A quick visit to the cemetery revealed a few entries with the Kaczyński surname but we were not able to connect any of them.  After coming back to the hotel we searched some more records and came up with a few names to add to the family tree.

Today, the population of Maków Mazowiecki stands at just under 11,000.  The town itself is nothing remarkable – a mix of rather plain looking and mis-matched buildings with no obvious architechtural appeal – but the surrounding landscape is quite beautiful.

Beautiful as the landscape is though, I can’t see how the Babcia I knew fitted into these surroundings and can now understand why she moved to Warsaw proper when the opportunity arose. I wonder if she knew then of all the moves that would follow this one in her lifetime?

Witnessing ‘W’ Hour

Across the road from my apartment is the grounds of Krasinski Park and Palace.  Built in 1683 for the provincial governor of Plock, who was heir to a large fortune.  He set about building this residence in Poland’s capital to fulfil his political ambitions and show pride in his family.  It was purchased by the Polish state in 1765 and partly rebuilt after a fire in 1783 only to be completed burned down and demolished by the Germans in WW2.  It was of course rebuilt and you’d probably never know, as with most of the restoration work undertaken in Warsaw.

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The gardens have been accessible to the public since 1768 and the space is enjoyed by young and old today.  Covering 9.2 hectares, there are different gardens, water fountains, ponds, deck chairs and places to lay.  Heck, there’s even free wifi!

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So it’s a really enjoyable stroll through the gardens on my way to meet my cousins at POLIN this morning.  POLIN is the Museum of the History of Jews in Poland – all 1,000 years of it.  And to be honest, that will feel exactly how long you will feel like you are in there for!

POLIN Museum
The award winning POLIN Museum, designed by Rainer Mahlamäki

It’s an extremely comprehensive museum covering aspects of Jewish life and the struggles of the Jewish people, including Poland in WW2.  There are lots of interactive displays and lots and lots of information.  I did feel a little overwhelmed upon leaving to be honest.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely a great museum and if you have the time and the inclination to visit, you will enjoy it.  I just found it a little much.

After a brief morning tea stop in the cafe of POLIN, we make our way alongside Krasinski to the Supreme Court of Poland, where we are visiting our cousin Dorotka.  She’s an Under-Officer there and she’s agreed to give us the grand tour.  Here in this building they try both civil and criminal cases.  We start with a trip to the roof-top which has a lovely view over Dluga Street and across the city…

…before Dorotka locks us in a cell!

Lunch is served in the milk-bar style cafeteria, with a choice of 4 dishes.  I choose the cutlet with potatoes and soup with a glass of kompot.  It’s super tasty, as the simplest dishes are, and we chat a little about the family during the war, until the airport calls to say Katherine’s luggage has finally arrived.

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The building itself is rather modern, having been built in the mid 1990’s; green metal stairways throw their hue across large panelled glass walls and an outer corner of the building is held upon the heads of three large copper women.  It’s worth a look, even just from the outside.

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Wieslaw comes to collect us and briefly shows us the Field Cathedral of the Polish Army across the road before offering to drive the Pruski’s out to the airport to collect their missing luggage.  This is where Paula’s son was recently baptised.

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Walking inside, along the side walls are memorial plaques to all those in notable military units who have lost their lives, including those in the Smolensk air disaster.  Inside the cathedral you can see all sorts of decorative icons, including the headress associated with the legendary winged hussars.

Going our separate ways, I head back to my apartment to map out a plan of attack for this afternoon’s Warsaw Uprising Commemoration.  I planned this trip to make sure I was in Warsaw for this event but one thing I hadn’t quite nutted out was exactly which vantage point I would watch it from.  Paula had originally planned to come with me and we were going to head to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, but she couldn’t make it.  I knew I wanted to be where the action was, I just didn’t know where that would be until I caught a glimpse of a Facebook post that mentioned the Rotunda near the Palace of Science and Culture.  So that’s where I headed, stopping to buy an arm band along the way and pinning on a small brooch that some cadet girls passed me.

For those that don’t know about this day, the citizens of Warsaw spare a minute’s silence in which the whole city stops to remember those who made sacrifices during the Warsaw Uprising.  Before coming to Poland, I had seen a video titled There is a City, which not only made me cry, but sums it up perfectly.

Anyway, standing on the corner of the Rotunda, trying to find the perfect spot (when I’m not actually sure what’s going to happen or where), I hear the road of motorcycles.  Heaps of motorcycles.  Which scares me at first.  They roar up onto the middle of the Rotunda and wait.  Everyone’s waiting.  I have no idea what the time is, but then the chanting starts, so I guess it’s close to 5pm now.  I have no idea what the chanting is either, but it tapers off, Polish flags go up and one by one, flares are let go.  Smoke and red light fills the atmosphere.  It’s hot and red.  After the one minute of silence, the motorbike’s rev their engines.  It’s hot and red and loud.  And oh so patriotic and stirring.  I feel tears start to well.

W Hour

Then it’s over and the crowds disburse.