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Monday, July 25, 2011

But wait! There's more!

That was hardly the end of our day. Although we had been told, by the Warsaw Sofitel, like two days before we left, that the freakin' pool would be closed for our entire stay, it was too late to do anything about it. We had also booked several trips from there and the location was perfect, so we still went. They told us we could walk to a nearby hotel and swim there for 50 Euros a day. Gee, what a deal. At first we thought we might try to negotiate a better deal, then decided to skip the whole thing. But we did tell them we had booked the hotel for that reason, and we weren't happy. And of course they didn't give a crap, because they already had our money.

Here is the architecturally unlovely Warsaw Sofitel-Pilsudski Square:

Since they use a calendar, and not a thermometer, to decide when to do pool maintainence, we suggest you give them a big fat miss. I mean, come on, it was JUNE. That's what God made March for. There are some good things about the place, and we'll describe them, too, but there are other hotels in the area that are probably not so expensive and maybe they even give you what you pay for.

Another sad note, there was once a beautiful palace on the same site, but the Communists demolished it to make room for this unfortunate pile. And it was here, not only at this hotel, but in Warsaw, that we learned what "Communist Bloc" really means. Oh, sure, it often refers to a Cold War political entity, but it's actually a style of architecture. You need 1500 Communist blocs to make a hotel. Three and a half blocs make a medium apartment, 5792 and you have a train station. Communist children didn't play with Legos or Lincoln Logs, they played with Communist Blocs. Batteries sold separately.

So, what's good about the Warsaw Sofitel? They have a nice bar that looks out onto Pilsudski Square where all kinds of interesting things go on. There was a flash mob there our first day. The rooms have 110 volt outlets for recharging American things. The restaurant, while crazily expensive, is very good, and the hotel staff is pretty nice. They did set up our day trips in advance (for outrageous prices), but when you don't know the country or the language and you want to do something unusual, like dig up your ancestors, that's what happens.

We settled in our room and then went to the bar, where we always drank the same beer because we had made a pact to drink only local draft on this trip. That turned out to be an easy promise to keep! Ate right there in the restaurant and went to bed at 8:30 PM local which was after, like, 36 straight hours of not sleeping. Luckily, our private trip to Ulaszewo (Oo-la-SHAVE-oh)the next day wasn't until 11 AM, so we didn't have to worry about anything for a while. But hey, it was just the first full day.

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