Leaving Poland [later post]

June 27th, 2019

(4:48am)

At the Modlin Warsaw airport waiting for our 6am flight to board. Feeling all kinds of tired from the 3 hours of shitty sleep we got last night. Even though our hostel was surprisingly nice, the lack of air conditioning + Euro heat wave did not make for a good nights sleep…

On the flying front, I would also like to point out that RyanAir still makes you P R I N T your boarding pass so keep that in mind should you ever want to take the scam-iest airline in the world.

In other news, we had our first two Euro train travel experiences in Poland and they were both marvelous. We started in Warsaw, then spent a few days in Krakow, and then back to Warsaw!

When we returned to Warsaw, we stayed in a new hostel (different from the air bnb we were in before leaving Krakow) and our new location opened up a new side of the city for us. While it is a pain in the ass to change “homes” every 3 days or so, it does make exploring these new cities easier. At the hostel, we were walking distance to the national gallery (which I spent the day at) and shops and the river and some really good eats including Warsaw’s covered “market” which we now realize every. single. city. has. Warsaw has Hala Koszyki, Tel Aviv has Sarona, Christchurch has High Street, Sydney has The Rock, New York has Dekalb, New Orleans has St Roch…

And re: food, I have an announcement: Thai food is now officially in my Mount Rushmore of favorite foods ever. Thai sits with Japanese, Southern, and health foods (salads). LMK yours! I would love to hear.

As for Warsaw and Krakow though, we filled our days with tours and more tours, museums, and pierogis. Overall, Poland was more interesting and lively and bright than we were expecting. We especially liked Warsaw (which is supposed to be the more “business-y,” serious city of the two).

Krakow didn’t stand much of a chance for me though since a) our first full day we visited Auschwitz-Birkenau b) I saw a significant amount of anti Semitic graffiti around town —- even in our air bnb builiding c) I listened to The Daily on Poland and its Law and Justice party on the way down from Warsaw to Krakow and d) read about Poland’s failure to admit complacency in the holocaust…

On the other hand, we had most amazing tour guide, Big Tom, who showed us Jewish life in the city through the last century. The tour left us feeling somewhat hopeful about a renewed Jewish life in Poland 🇵🇱, but still despondent about the country’s past.

Here are some things we learned in the first Warsaw tour:

– 50% of polish nobel prize earners were/are Jewish

– 10% of Polish population was Jewish pre WWII, now .004%

– in the Warsaw ghetto, there were close to 500,000 people forced to live in 1.3 sq mi (approx 13ppl / room **Wikipedia says 9.2**)

– 100k+ people died from inhumane conditions before being sent to concentration and extermination camps

– at its peak, it is estimated 17,000 Jews were murdered per day at Treblinka. The camp was almost entirely destroyed in the last days WWII, so accurate numbers are hard to come by.

-1943 was the end of Jewish community in Warsaw. It is estimated only 50 Warsaw Jews survived.

On a lighter note, here are some pictures from our time in Poland:

POLIN Jewish Museum
Pierogis! So yum 🙂

Garden + beautiful building situation
Cooper’s burger & fries at “Butchery and Wine” 8/10?
Pierogis + your girl 🙂
Here we are again! Pierogis + me in Krakow
This was crazy…. “POLISH TUNA” aka scored and marinated TOMATO! When we first ate it neither of us could tell it wasn’t fish. Interesting, delicious, and eco-friendly!
View from our last night in Warsaw (and Poland).
En route to the airport?
Cool building reflection situation. Note the man on the scooter, too! They’re everywhere.
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