Warsaw: Chopin and Wilanow

Trip Start May 12, 2007
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Trip End May 27, 2007


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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Wakeup-7am, breakfast-7:45 and departure at 8:30 for a city tour of Warsaw. Breakfast at the hotel was a buffet and crowded with lots of pushy people and quite unpleasant, well at least for me. It got better when we were introduced to our Polish guide, Yolanda who ended up as the best city guide on the trip. She was loud enough to hear and easily understood and had a sense of humor. At Tazienki Krolewskie park, we had a  group picture taken in front of the Chopin statue. We were told not to walk on the grass and use the sidewalks, which were plentiful,  (you think would be common sense) or else get reprimanded by security. Of course one person (not from our group) attempted to walk on the grass and security yelled at them. Why can't people respect property? Anyways, Yolanda took us to see the Jewish Ghetto Memorial in the Jewish quarter where the only building left in this section from WW II is a church. We also passed Warsaw Uprising Monuments and soldier's memorial.

We were dropped off at Old Town and Yolanda told us more of the city's history. When we were closer to the Square, someone from our tour group yelled, "Watch your purses and belongings!" Yes to our right was an Indian gypsy woman distracting us while her son, who looked to be about 10-12 years old was weaving in and out of our group eying up purses, bags, backpacks and cameras! If that little s#!t would have touched me, I would have stepped one his foot as hard as I could! I felt like I couldn't enjoy myself the rest of the time until we were back on the bus. Luckily no one from our group had anything stolen. The next hour was on our own and we spent it in the Square which is lovely to look at. We had a delicious chocolate cake dessert in a pastry shop and bought a pair of purple leather earrings. We also went inside a beautiful church that had a picture of Pope John Paul above the entrance with a gorgeous pipe organ inside.

12:45p, we took a Yolanda 2 hour guided tour inside Wilanow Palace. She showed us every room and was excited to  show us an ornate desk in a room they were closing. We saw interesting paintings; one of a man on a horse that evidently is a main reason many people come to tour the palace. Another was a breast feeding painting which was odd and many nude woman. There seemed to be more breasts here than I've seen in Hooters! haha
4p we were back at the hotel and got ready for the CHOPIN RECITAL. This was performed at Myslewicka Palace and the man playing the piano was superb! At intermission, we each got a glass of champagne and chatted with Liam and Sylvia. The recital was about an hour long.

Back at the hotel, after dinner, we tried to get night pictures of the Palace of Culture from the hotel window. I must say it is a beautiful building but one can understand the reasoning for locals not liking it since it was a "gift" from Stalin to which they are still paying for. We also walked around outside and stumbled across a memorial outside our hotel, to Poles that were executed in 1944 by Nazis. So sad and tragic.

Back inside, we went to the hotel bar and had a couple beers and listened to a jazz singer that turned the song "Come on Ilene" into a ballad in Polish. I couldn't stop laughing at that one.
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