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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Back to Warsaw

We arrived back in the big city around 3 PM, or beer time. Or time for the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers, because that happens every hour. We could see it from the bar. Straight out the window is the Tomb, although you can't see it here:

But we also wanted to get pictures close up. We made it out of the bar for the 5 PM change.

The soldiers guarding the Tomb are like, three or four years old, just tall for their age. I saw no females and we must have seen the guard change at least a dozen times. Here are some baby guards.

As we approached the Tomb, we saw what we thought was an interesting architectural commentary on young lives cut short. I thought the columns were left unfinished to represent these incomplete lives. Joyce thought the columns were made to represent candles that had burned out too soon.

Here's a link to this great picture. Wikipedia gets all the credit for it. We didn't get any nearly this good.

Well, it turns out there's no architectual significance. It's the remnant of the Saxon Palace that still stood after the Second World War. It had been the site of the Tomb since the early 1920s, so that's all they preserved, or there would probably be nothing. Around 75 - 80% of Warsaw was destroyed in World War II, and they have rebuilt a lot of it, really. Some of the blanks are still blank, though, and other blanks were filled in by Communist Bloc architecture. And some are now archeological digs. Our hotel window overlooked one of them.

We didn't want to spend another fortune at the hotel restaurant, so we asked our guide to suggest something within walking distance. Here it is:

Here we discovered the Polish answer to chicken fried steak: the most gigantic Schweinekotellette (or pork cutlet) ever. I don't know what size it is when they start beating it, but whenever they get done, it's about a foot across. It's so tender and thin you don't really feel the size of it when you eat it. It came with a pile of sauerkraut I couldn't even stand the smell of (I'm allergic to it) so Joyce got all that. The dessert was nothing to write home about but this is authentic Polish cuisine in a dilapidated old restaurant on Pilsudski Square, very reasonable, too.

That did it for us. I think we were in bed by 8 PM, because next day, we had to take an early train to Cracow, and Auschwitz.

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