Friday, January 15, 2016

Warsaw

Aside from this past year, most of my trips to Poland in recent times have been in December. That is one mean month to visit northern Europe! Warsaw calls for lots of walking (at least it does so for me) and I have vivid memories of returning here and feeling cold.

I was amused, therefore, when the Royal Dutch Airlines plane came in for a landing at Chopin Airport and the captain announced -- it's a cold 2C (35F) in Warsaw right now.

Honestly? I call that balmy.

On the first night, my sister and I drew up a game plan for my two full days here. Two apartments for me to see, papers to file, friends to visit.

But the first night, we do just the smallest of small errands. And after, we sit down and consolidate information. Over a bowl of red beet borscht.


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Followed by herring with dark bread and Polish slaw. Mmmm.


There isn't a chance that I'll catch up on sleep on this trip. I'm happy to log in a handful of hours with my eyes closed, but I'm up early.

My sister has the same breakfast foods that keep me running back home and we start the day right with that wonderful meal of oats and honey and fruits and kefir.



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And then we're off. A few bureaucratic details first and then a pause so that I can take the metro downtown and have coffee with my goodest of good friends there.

This, of course, is one of the things I miss back home - the coffee pause in the middle of a busy life with a friend who can listen well and respond with heart.


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On the metro again. I people watch. And I feel especially warm toward the young girls -- high school, university -- they remind me so much of myself here!


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Conversely, the women who are really my age feel as if they live in a world that's very different from my own.


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And now my sister has found one other apartment that we can view and we hurry to meet the agent. It's a newly gutted place with lovely spaces -- a 1960s building, quite unattractive on the outside, on a busy, uninteresting but very central street (hmmmm, do I even want to go inside?)...


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But the interiors are lovely!


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Oh, how do I decide?!

No matter. We have more paper work and even more paper work. Do you know how hard it is to do something in a country in which you do not live?

And in the middle of all that paper work (What? What do you mean you do not have my ID number in my name?? We have to go where? And do what?) we step outside and it's snowing.


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A beautiful, delicate snow. I haven't seen one like this here since my childhood! It's romantic, it's heavenly!


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And because it's Poland, young parents take out the runner sleds and do errands with the kids behind them.


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Okay, dinner break at home. Beet soup and then -- here's a treat! My friend picked up some blintzes on the way to our coffee this morning and while she was at it, she threw in some for us. Stuffed with spinach. If you have some Polish in you, you'll recognize that generous impulse toward a friend.


I look at the clock. Time to set out for the viewing of apartment number 2. This one is toward the edge of Warsaw. Last stop on the main metro line in the city. Newer construction. Forest is just a block or two away.

So quiet here! And look! So many restaurants and cafes and small shops, small apartment buildings beautifully maintained -- all looking mighty fine under a cover of delicate snow.


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And the apartment? Well, not as fresh and cool as the morning one, but good, really good.


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And the neighborhood! The young families, pulling their kids on sleds through the quiet streets of Warsaw's most southern edge.



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I'm entranced by it all.


We have one more apartment to consider tomorrow. Then comes the decision. Which one???

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