Sunday, June 12, 2005

Warsaw to Krakow

We are still in Warsaw, about to leave for Krakow. Warsaw is a sort of sad city, there is a beautiful old downtown, but all the buildings have signs on them that talk about how the building was built in 1600 something or 1700 something, then burnt down in 1944 and rebuilt in the fifties. The entire district was destroyed by the Nazis while the Soviet army watched from across the Vistula. There are some buildings on the East side that thus survive, and that is now an interesting (if apparently dangerous) part of town to visit.

We have eaten pretty well here, last night in the old town we had an appetizer of three kinds of herring served with mayonnaise, onions, and a sort of onion and tomato mix, along with bread and butter. Also had buckwheat Kasha, which was more appealing to Gus than to me, beets, Russian Vareneki, and Pears Carmelite for desert. I was not thrilled with the beer, the name of which I have forgotten. During our brief layover in Paris I had a Leffe, which was really good. Kind of sweet, but since I like Singha you can imagine that I did not mind it.

Yesterday we saw the Polish Army museum also, which has a great outdoor exhibit including T-34and Leopard tanks, and a SCUD-B missile on its truck launcher near a Katyusha MLRS. Very cool to see this obsolete soviet junk that is still causing all manner of trouble in the Middle East (Iraqi SCUDs and Hezbollah Katyushas to be precise). There was an exhibit on Napoleon in Poland that was also interesting, I had no idea that 6000 Polish troops had been sent to Haiti to put down the rebellion there, and that 2/3rds of them had perished. Of course my French may be at fault, and that may not be the case at all.

There were also old helmets, and halberds, and suits of armor, and swords and so on.

I got a cell phone when I was in France, but I foolishly did not get it sufficiently charged. It is apparently not possible to obtain an orange charge up card here in Poland, and the orange.fr website was not helpful. I tried to call a number in France, but I could not navigate the voice prompts. Possibly I could have dealt in French with a live person, but not with a menu ...

I sent the wrong number to some of you it is:
06 08 584100

I think that to dial from the USA you need to do:
0033 6 08 584100

(in other words add the international code for France, and drop the leading zero)

But given my obvious trouble with European cell phones, that may not be right.

In any case I am hoping that in a week or so in Germany I will be able to get an Orange card and charge up the phone and actually receive calls (at the moment I can't use the phone at all).


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