Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Visit to Warsaw - Oct 6th - 8th

Friday 6th October

We hopped in a cab at 5:45am and were on the plane to Warsaw at 7:30pm and in Warsaw by 11:00am! What a world it is when you can fly to another country/continent for just a weekend! This is the life!
So.... Luke and I flew to Warsaw to visit his family and to spend some time there with Damien and Laura.

We were met at the airport by Luke's dziadek (grandpa). It was great to see him as it had been since November 2005 that Luke was there, and July 2005 since I was there. Hugs all around and then Luke's dziadek whisked us onto a bus to town. The ride was insane as there were TONS of people piling onto the bus with their luggage. Probably the most obnoxious and uncomfortable bus ride I've had in my life. We had to fight to get through everyone blocking the door so we could get off. No one wanted to give us room. Arg! Anyway, we got off the bus after about a half hour ride and then got onto the tram (I love the trams! Quick, efficient, old-school). The tram ride was about another 20 minutes and then next thing we knew Luke and I were seeing familiar buildings and areas and we were finally there - his babcia and dziadek's place!

Luke and I were welcomed into the apartment by Luke's babcia (more fantastic hugs and kisses) and were promptly sat down at the table for some Galabki (cabbage rolls -my favourite Polish dish) and other assorted side dishes. It was delicious. We (well, Luke really) chatted with the two of them for a couple of hours and then Luke and I headed to the mall (Arkadia) for some shopping and a look-around. We didn't end up buying anything (which is very unusual for us) but we sat outside on a patio in the sun and enjoyed a cold beverage. After that we continued our search through the mall (we were looking for batteries, CD's and other items) and then we popped into a coffee shop for a pick-me-up and then headed back to the apartment as we were due to eat again (if you can believe it) and we were expecting a call from Luke's cousin Marcin (you remember him, don't you guys!) at 6:00pm.

After some very meaty flaczki (tripe soup)we got a call from Marcin and Luke and I headed out on the tram to his place to spend some time with him, his wife Dagmara and his parents. It was great to see them all again. From there, Marcin, Luke and I made our way to a pub where he and Luke had a Guinness (which apparently was pretty good). We had a shooter to celebrate our being together and then made our way, on foot, to the trendier, clubbier area of downtown Warsaw. We went into one club which was horrible - mainly dance music and techno (we met a few Dubliners in there though, which was funny) and then went to a hip-hop club down the street where we stayed until the wee hours. After some serious dancing we walked to a food stand where we got a snack and then we hopped into a cab and made our way back to the apartment. Long, but fun, day.

Saturday 7th October

Next morning we woke up and Luke accompanied his dziadek to the bank. While he was gone I tidied up our bedroom and got things in order, as well as ate breakfast with babcia (she made home made paczki (the Polish donut-thingys, which were to die for). When Luke came back he and I hopped on the tram out to the other side of the river to his godmother's house where we visited for a short while and then headed to the old city. We wandered around, had a zapiekanka (a Polish snack made from open faced bread with cheese and mushrooms on top, toasted with ketchup) which we had been dying for for the last year - simple but YU-MMY. After a walk around and then a cappuccino we headed back to the apartment for yet another meal before we had to head out to Luke's/Damien's grandparents for dinner and a visit. On the way we stopped at Luke's Aunt's house where we had a beer and stayed for a quick visit. We were supposed to be at dinner at around 4pm but we were pushing 7pm so we had to make it quick and rush over to dinner. When we got there we were given a couple of stern looks but they were quickly turned to smiles and hugs. We finally saw Damien and Laura and were able to hear about how things were going with them and Laura finally had someone to speak to in english. We ate, drank and chatted and had a good night. We all headed home at about 10pm as we had to fly out of Warsaw the next morning and Damien and Laura were going mushroom picking early the following morning. We said our goodbye's to everyone and we were escorted to the bus stop by a number of people.

Next day we got up, headed to the airport in a cab and then made our way back here to Dublin.

It was a great weekend (it's always great to be in Warsaw) and we're very much looking forward to heading over there for Christmas. It'll be Luke's first Christmas in Warsaw since he left there almost 18 years ago and it'll be my first Christmas there ever.


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