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  • Day4

    Restless in Warsaw

    June 6, 2019 in Poland ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    When I had been planning this trip I had been faced with the problem of how best to get to the start of our ride in Vilnius. Since there are no airlines that offer flights from Melbourne to Lithuania, we would have to devise a more complicated route. After investigating several options I came to the conclusion that the simplest (and cheapest) would be to fly first to Warsaw and then take a short flight from Warsaw to Vilnius.

    Since nobody in our group had ever been to Warsaw, we had no idea of what sort of city it would turn out to be. I must admit that my preconceived notion was that it would be dull, dirty and dour - how wrong that turned out to be. After spending the past two days here I can honestly say that the city is clean, vibrant and interesting. It is also relatively cheap compared to most other large European cities. We will all be a little sad when our time here comes to an end.

    The second full day in Warsaw began when the predawn light started streaming in through my hotel window. I decided that it must be at least 5.30 am and climbed out of bed. It was only when I checked my watch that I found that the correct time was 3.20 am. These long hours of daylight really can play tricks with your sleeping patterns. I don't mind getting up early, but 3.20 am is too early even for me. I went back to bed and tried to convince my body clock that it was really still the middle of the night.

    Somehow I managed to steal another 90 minutes of sleep, but by 5.00 am I was really ready to begin the day. I joined the rest of our group (and also about 50 very noisy schoolchildren) for breakfast before heading off with Bob to the Polin Museum. This famous museum documents the 1000 year history of the Jews in Europe (and more particularly in the region now known as Poland).

    Since it was only a short 4 km walk from our hotel,we decided to skip the bus and walk the whole way. We are now already starting to get a feel for the layout of the city and the streets which seemed so confusing at the start, now feel familiar.

    There is one feature of Warsaw that is worthy of special mention. The city has an excellent system of public electric scooters. These are scattered all over the city and are obviously very popular with the locals. In fact you cannot walk anywhere without being nearly knocked flying by one of these devices. I am not sure how fast they travel, but it must be at least 25 kph.

    There was however one mystery which we never did solve. The scooters must be regularly recharged, however we never once saw any of them plugged into a power outlet. I even asked the girl at the hotel reception, but it quickly became apparent that the question had never occurred to her. We had to assume that every night they are all secretly recharged by magic electric elves and fairies.

    We made our way successfully to the Museum and were happy to discover that it was free admission today. I then spent the next two and a half hours discovering the remarkable history of the Jews. Somewhere along the way I lost Bob. Although I looked for him everywhere, I finally had to admit that he was lost in action and had to walk back to the hotel without him. I had to assume that like the proverbial "bad penny" he would turn up later. And he did.

    The rest of the day I spent wandering the streets and exploring the banks of the Vistula River. The hot sun made it impossible to spend any time in my room and I was content to enjoy a cool drink by the waterside instead.

    In the evening seven of us returned to the Italian Restaurant that had undercharged me the previous evening. Unfortunately the same waitress was no longer there. Perhaps the boss had not been happy with the way she had been handing out discounts. Tonight we all had to pay full price.

    Tomorrow we will be returning to the airport to catch the flight to Vilnius, the capital city of Lithuania. Although the flight is only short, it will be in a Brazilian made aeroplane, operated by an unknown airline. What could possibly go wrong ?

    By tomorrow evening our team will be almost complete in Vilnius.
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