Saturday, June 23, 2012

First Days in Poland

I arrived in Warsaw via a flight from Amsterdam about noon on Friday. I picked up my luggage, hit the ATM to get some Polish money and then took a taxi to the Warszawa Centralna train station. There I had to stand in line about about 10 minutes to get a ticket to Siedlce, but I actually expected it to be much more crowded due to Euro 2012 than it was.

The station is all decked out.

And I was yes and no astonished to hear all the announcements being done in both Polish and English. Certainly one is now expecting English at major transportation centers as the unifying language, but even last summer this would not have been happening.

I got a train to Siedlce, then took a taxi to Hotel Janusz, finding the door to reception to be in a new place.

I was getting quite hungry now, for it had been a long time since breakfast at 6 AM in Amsterdam. I started out for Cafe Brama. I found it now open on the left hand of the street and thought it had moved. I went in and was given a 100% Polish menu. I knew I was too hungry for zupa so started looking at the pasta dishes. One clearly had the word fruit as one of the ingredients -- hard to imagine when one comes from a place where pasta is usually covered with tomato sauce. I ordered that dish somewhat out of curiousity.

I was even more puzzled when it arrived -- it had wonderful cream sauce, pine nuts and cucumbers -- and then when I took a bite of something I thought was a tomato and discovered it was a strawberry instead -- I learned why fruit was in the description. I ate every bite!

Then I wandered down to the shopping center. I was on the hunt for shampoo and things like that, deciding to buy it here rather than bring large bottles from the United States. Went to grocery store to get a bottle of water and some bananas. I knew one had to weight produce before going to the register. I walked all over the store trying to find the table for doing this, without success.  Thought maybe this was another thing that had changed since last year. Then at the register I found I was wrong -- finally the attendant left the register to take care of this -- walked over to a wall -- and then I remembered where it was in this store in Siedlce and that the table I had been looking for was in the grocery store where I shopped while living in Hungary!

Wandered back to the other place for Cafe Brama and had an ice cream sundae. By this time the bed looked very very comfortable and I was fast asleep before the Euro 2012 game began between Germany and Greece.

This morning I awoke to this lovely view of the Siedlce Cathedral.

Dorota picked me around 9:15 and we went to Reymontowka.

Poland, like Minnesota, had all a lot of rain in the past month and all the flowers and trees are just lush. Here is the front of Reymontowka all decked for a conference that had just ended. I learned representatives of countries such as Germany, France, Sweden, and Romania had joined Polish representatives here to strategize about what can be done to better the life of children in the EU.

On this Saturday morning the tennis court was busy.

The staff of Reymontowka was all busy getting for wedding receptions to be held here on both Saturday and Sunday.

Dorota had intended to pack the teaching supplies for Zakopane camp, but found the work room where the teaching supplies are to be busy with another small conference -- the only place in the building in which the wedding reception activities had not taken over.  We did meet with a Polish English teacher who will be at the first Reymontowka camp. I'm looking forward to working with him for two weeks in July. His wife will be at camp, too, as the camp doctor and they will be bringing along their two children who are 2 and 4 years old.

We came back to town and then separated for the afternoon to do our various errands. Planning on getting together for an evening meal.

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