From Berlin, I caught an 8-hour overnight bus to Warsaw. Despite the fact that friendliness was
not the bus line’s priority, it was a super modern bus complete with a 50+ movie library on the 8-inch backseat screens.
On the first day I met a Polish guy and his 3 friends, so I was able to get a little better sense of the city and life in Poland.
Gay rights are definitely respected in Poland–but there are still detractors. This rainbow, which allegedly was supposed to be a “happiness” rainbow, has been set on fire numerous times. Now, automatic sprinklers embedded in the structure water it every few hours to reduce combustibility.
In addition, two guards (who can barely be seen towards the left here, behind the bushes) are on 24/7 duty to protect the rainbow. Ironically, they’ve arrested supporters of the rainbow that have gone to visit, because the have to jaywalk across the street to get to it.
In addition to men’s and women’s multivitamins, Poland now features gender-segregated yogurt!
The lack of a wine aisle in the supermarket was made up for my a more-than-ample vodka aisle.
Our tour guide is explaining that the exposed breasts of the mermaid do occasionally cause scandals in the Catholic country, so much so that when the pope came to visit, hundreds of breasts were cut from posters of the mermaid hanging around the city, as displayed by the guide.
Warsaw is bitter rivals with Krakow (and the rest of Poland for that matter), and our guide readily admitted that Krakow is far more beautiful.
The Polish resistance serves as a powerful patriotic memory for the country. Although it failed (and decimated nearly the entire population of Warsaw), it is a point of pride that Poland stood up to the German forces towards the end of the second world war. This memorial commemorates the event, with the fleeing at the end in the foreground, and the initial uprising in the background. Families and relatives of people involved in the uprising get perks like free public transit today.
You can’t imagine how excited I was to be sleeping 2 floors above an active post office!
A lot of Europe seems to a have a do-it-yourself culture. Here, an elderly clock store owner cleans his display window.
Bike polo seems to be a popular sport for some.
The downtown mall was very modern and had a beautiful glass roof.