Sunday, May 15, 2005

(From Krakow): the many stages of getting from one place to another

Before taking to the roads, skies and tracks, a morning walk in the Tuilleris, just to have a one last look...
the greening of Paris Posted by Hello
So then you depart: you take the train from Jardin Luxembourg to Charles de Gaulle airport. Then you do a period of obligatory airport waiting.
airport minutes, plus more minutes Posted by Hello
Then you board the plane to Chopin airport (somehow the name seems oddly out of place: like the composer should not be associated with suitcases and guards and the roar of moving aircraft) in Warsaw. Then you spot your sister, who is waiting to take you to her apartment.

Well no, not so fast. We are held up. The leaders of EU nations are congregating in Warsaw this week and they have chosen to land at the same time that we did. And the roads close to allow for their passage.
odd way they have of driving in this place... Posted by Hello
[I feel by now that Jeremy and Madeline are dazed beyond belief; the airport, the road tie up, the old buildings, the new, where are we and what are we doing here?????]

Okay, eventually we make it to the train station. We’re not talking about some fancy train station in the style of the renovated Grand Central. We are talking about the Central Station in Warsaw, where trains come and pick up additional passengers before heading out to wherever. In my case, Krakow. It’s a gray, somber building and if the country were under a different political system at the moment, people would shake their heads and say: it would not be so gray if only we had a different political system going.

Put two bloggers and Madeline in an old-fashioned compartment with two Poles and you have a remarkable combination of the friendly and the tired and wired.

Out in Krakow: wheeling the suitcases across cobbled streets that I last slipped on in a frozen drizzle last December.

It’s late. Dinner’s late. Hungry, tired. Hit the bread before the pierogi. What’s that in the dish beside the bread? Farmers’ cheese and chives? And in the other? Did you say lard??
dinner accompaniments Posted by Hello

(From Paris): promises, promises

This really truly will be the last Paris post.

It’s morning. The city obviously has been sprayed with some toxic chemical that has a different impact on different people. It makes my cotraveler, Madeline, sleep more. It makes me sleep even less than my usual four hours. It makes my other cotraveler, Jeremy, take on a mellow and relaxed manner (not something that I am used to seeing in him back in Madison). It makes some Parisians sing with reckless abandon outside hotel windows late at night. It makes waiters wink and umbrellas disappear. It makes women (and men, but especially women) wear (protective?) scarves all year long. It makes (Madeline’s point) normally sane parents pluck their ugly children off the streets and hide them in the closet, so that only the beautiful are ever seen in public. It makes frugal people spend money on yellow-polka-dotted skirts and chocolate laced with strong spices. It makes adult people with good, strong limbs give up “le promenade” in favor of this:
yes, but are they happier this way? Posted by Hello