Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Warsaw days, cont'd.

Typically, the time to reflect about life, as experienced through travel comes toward the end of my stay away from home, but this time it came early. Like, today, which technically is only my second day in Poland.

We had partied long and hard last night and I had stayed up later than late to write here, on Ocean and so this morning I let myself stay in bed for a long while, listening to the sounds of my old, very old apartment building. I'd been warned that I am close to a busy street and that traffic noise would be pronounced. It turned out to be a false worry. The bedroom faces a courtyard and a convent. I mean really!

The noises come from within the building and now that I know them and understand them (and perhaps because I am merely a visitor, passing through), they bother me not at all.

There is the dog on the ground floor. He barks incessantly when his owner is away. Perhaps I'd feel disturbed, but I also know that this is the lady who responded to our knocks on her window when the electrical system failed on the night we arrived. She was chatty, friendly and I thought at the time that she'd probably lived in this building forever and had quite the interesting stories to tell about her life here.

There is the guy just below me who appears to be deeply disappointed in his (adult) son (who lives with him). Sometimes that disappointment seeps through in the middle of the night. Sometimes it's held in check. Sometimes it seems to fill the whole building, as the old man tries to express his anguish and set things on a better path.

So I listen for them and I doze and I let myself feel the comfort of a mattress that is perfect (as opposed to the one at home which is old and lumpy) and I think -- this is not a bad way to wake up. And then I think: I wonder if Ed is asleep now? And the young families, how are they?

A late and small breakfast...


And then I head out for a sort of brunch I guess (because it's too late for breakfast and too early for lunch) at a nearby spot (8 minutes' walk, says google maps) called Rabarbar. It's a clever play on a word which translates to be rhubarb, but if you break it up some, then you see a "bar" in there, except it's really not a bar, nor a coffee shop (although it has both alcohol and coffee), it's an eatery. A new place. A small place. An unassuming place.


A lovely place.

I'm to meet my goodest friend there -- one who could not (at the very last minute) come to the dinner last night.

With her, I have an ongoing conversation that has gone on for decades. There is never enough time to feel satiated.

This morning (or is it noon already?) we eat a hearty meal -- shakshuka for me. (This is the second place in the span of two days that offers shakshuka -- oh, how Polish taste buds have changed in the last few years!)


(This intimate, informal dining spot just opened a few months ago. May it stay open for a long long time!)


There comes a time when we have to move on with the day.  And by the way, it's warmer than it was yesterday -- just enough to melt the snow and give us a perpetual drizzle that intensifies a little and then recedes. All day long: sprinkle, quiet. Sprinkle, quiet.

My sister is with me for the rest of the day and that is just wonderful. We can't walk far (remember -- there is that drizzle issue), but we do manage to put in a few hefty blocks...


And then we pause for an early dinner at Zorza -- an eatery that has been a favorite of ours for a number of years. For me, a salmon and beet salad and a pumpkin soup. Do you notice my drink? This is a new Polish classic: put fresh fruits (include citrus and then any other fruits) in a tall glass and pour hot water over it all. Add honey. Just a little, to taste. It's a tea without the tea and it's grand on a cold winter day.


(Did I say how tastes are evolving in Poland?)

A short walk this way and that way...


And then we hop on the beautiful Warsaw metro and head out to the big supermarket. I'm having an impromptu supper at my apartment tomorrow evening -- my last evening in Warsaw. Some of us have travel stories we want to share (not me! you can read all of mine on Ocean!). Let's do it over food! I shop for some small food items and then my sister and I head home, my home, my Warsaw home, where we sit down and talk some more, because really, this is why I am here -- to talk to all the people I love on this side of the ocean.

My sister leaves, I munch on chocolate covered gingerbread that she has left for me and I think about the day and, well, I cry. Just because there is so much here and yet, it is here and my life is there and this is the way it is.