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Published: June 20th 2018
Our Baltic adventure begins. We travelled by train from Berlin to Warsaw in comfortable 6 berth cabins. First class fare included free instant coffee, tea , juice or water once we had crossed the border from Germany to Poland.
We passed through mainly rural countryside with vast areas of produce including cherry trees laden with fruit. From the train we saw a Statue of Christ in Swiebodzin, cost $1.5million. The figure is 33 metres tall ( Christ was 33 when crucified), the crown is 3 metres tall and it sits on a mound, so all up it is 52.5 metres overall. Completed in 2010. After a long day we arrived in Warsaw and were taken to our hotel for a quick checkin and change before we went to dinner in a building built in the 1400 which was at one time a monastery.Our City tour the next day took us around to see sights. First stop Chopin memorial in beautifully laid out Lazienki park where we had a group photo taken.
Stopped at the “new” old city . Warsaw was virtually completely destroyed by the
end WW2. Stalin built many Soviet style buildings and apartments but when communist rule finished, the people decided they would like to rebuild much of the bombed area as close as possible to the original. We had lunch in a restaurant in the Old Square with the usual gypsy beggars trying to get money from us.
Royal Castle was reduced to a pile of rubble in WW2 and the castle was reconstructed between 1971-1984. Much of the furniture was donated by now deceased buddies of the GDR and USSR and the money was donated by wealthy exiled Poles. The castle dates back to the 14th century and was the residence of Polish kings, then the President and the seat of Parliament. Warsaw Uprising Museum opened in 2004, is a chronological display of the uprising in 1944. It pays homage to those who fought and died for a free Poland. It starts by showing life under Nazi rule, destruction of Warsaw by bombing by the Nazis as punishment and then life following the creation of the Soviet puppet state. Excellent displays including discussions with people who lived through the time, photographic and interactive displays,
clothing and goods of the time and a replica B24 allied plane once used to drop supplies over the city.
The evening provided another cultural opportunity. A Chopin piano concert at a manor house in the town of Siedzow ( an hour from Warsaw). When we arrived we were given an aperitif of chilled vodka and lime juice. We then went into the concert and afterwards had dinner in the old granary. An excellent evening where the wine and beer flowed. our host Andre also kept turning up with additional drops of vodka, different flavours and I think strengths. None were as well received as the one that we were given when we first arrived.
Facts about Poland:
Retained their currency, Zloty (PLN) when they joined the EU
Average salary $1750pm$1260 after tax 18% flat tax rate ( Scomo would love it )Home ownership high. 3.8%4.6 PLN per litre2.8 PLN bread per half a kiloMust import EU products even though they are self sufficient in agriculture thus reducing prices earned by the Polish farmersTourism provides a good income
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