The warmth of the last few weeks left us today and when we awoke this morning we thought we might have to break open the ‘winter’ suitcase which has been sitting in the boot of the car since we went to sharing the bigger suitcase to carry in only what we needed for summer clothing. The day started out rather gray and overcast and the outside temperature had halved since yesterday at 13C.It was time to zip the bottom of my trousers on again and Gretchen to break out her sweater. It was amazing how the air temperature had dropped so much and luckily there was no wind to speak of or the chill factor might have made it feel colder. Without a weather forecast we can understand on the TV we have been relying upon the BBC on the internet and so far haven’t found anything that is local that has a situation map to try and see ahead what we might expect.
As part of our shopping yesterday we came across what we are sure is bacon so a fry up was on the cards this morning as part of breakfast.
With a plan not to head out until this afternoon we caught up on washing and some administration before taking a walk to the local bakery and buying fresh bread and a couple of delicious looking pastries for lunch.
While we were resting up we spotted a dark grey cat wander through the grass from the neighbouring property.He was so much like Jack,a cat we had to have put to sleep 18mths ago because of a terminal illness.Even his wlk with one hind leg that was slightly splayed was the same.A 'ghostly'likeness so far away from home.Perhaps reincarnation does happen.
After lunch we took the Metro to Centrum buying a 40 minute ticket that would get un into the city and then give enough time to catch a tram to the Uprising Museum a couple of kilometres from the Metro. The system for buying tickets in 20 minute blocks is an interesting one and we wondered how many people just buy the 20 minutes which is the cheapest, validate it when they go down to the Metro and then ride for as long as they want on other transport. It would be alright until an inspector came on board and started checking the validation time.
The trams were frequent so we didn’t wait long before we were on our way. The trams travel down the middle of the wide avenues and speed along unhindered by cars etc although they still have to stop for traffic lights and cross traffic. It seemed the stops were all at traffic lights which seemed like a good idea giving passengers enough time to get on and off.
We purchased our tickets for the museum including a ten minute 3-D showing of a movie filmed after the city was liberated.
Warsaw came under aerial bombardment on the first day of the war and within 8 days the Polish army encountered Nazi forces on the outskirts of the city fighting bravely until they were overwhelmed on the 28th
September so beginning over 5 years of occupation.
August after nearly 5 years of being under Nazi control and hoping that Britain and the USA would help, the Polish Home Army began a two month campaign to fight off the Nazi occupiers that regrettably ended in failure as none of the Allied forces came to their assistance including the Red Army from Russia which at the time were close to the city having beaten the Nazis off Russian soil.
In retribution the Nazis effectively destroyed the city both through the fierce fighting during the two month uprising and then afterwards when the city was emptied of all of the inhabitants left alive. The consequence of what happened to Warsaw and its people makes harrowing reading and is very well depicted in a timeline that you follow through the museum including countless personal experiences told in word and interviews played through TV screens.
The 3-D flight wasn’t quite what we expected and whether that was because we weren’t getting the 3-D effect or not we aren’t sure but we both experienced the same vision during the movie and to us it wasn’t 3-D.Not that it mattered as the movie was to show the destruction filmed by a circling aircraft at low level and it certainly did that.
We came away with a much better understanding of what had happened before, during and after occupation including the Allies refusal to act to help at a time when the Nazis were in retreat after being defeated in Russia. It became obvious why Russia didn’t help during those 3 months as they wanted the capital when the Nazis retreated and of course the rest is history.
We could have taken the tram back to Centrum but decided to walk instead and take in the city scape as we went.
Pedestrians in the city are given plenty of time, by the traffic lights, to cross the wide avenues which generally consist of three lanes of traffic in both directions plus bus lanes either side of the avenue and then down the middle of the avenue, the two tracks for the trams. We were still wary of crossing the tram tracks without a careful look first as the trams motor along at a good speed and are relatively quiet. The city traffic designers though had thought about it by putting the pedestrian crossings only where there were tram stops which made it safer for pedestrians not to get collected by a tram!
At Centrum things were a bit different for getting across the extra wide avenue to the Metro station and we needed to enter a subway which was busy with people going in all directions as the subway branched out to allow pedestrians to emerge almost anywhere around the expansive Centrum area.
The subway was lined with small shops of all kinds and it was here where we spotted a hairdresser that wasn’t busy with clients. With Gretchen not keen on having someone cut her hair that doesn’t have English as their first language it was just me who would try and get my wishes across to the hairdresser. With my needs being less exacting than Gretchen’s I decided to take the risk with the thought that I had a better chance of getting across my simple desires for a trim in Poland than say Latvia!
The young lady asked if I wanted a ‘machine ‘cut which I understood her to mean ‘clippers ‘and I confirmed holding three fingers up for the number cut I thought would last me for another couple of months.
Well something must have got lost in translation and before I knew it I had a number one! Gretchen said afterwards that she thought it looked a bit shorter than I usually have. Anyway it will grow back and perhaps will last me a bit longer before I need to be groomed again.
Being late afternoon the metro was busier than at lunchtime but with trains arriving every three minutes we didn’t have to wait long before we were on our way home.
The weather not being as nice as it was yesterday when we arrived we had our pre dinner drinks inside and then tucked into our salmon steak with fried chipped potato and a salad. We have found the shop purchased tomatoes and also the ones we have bought at markets here to have more flavour than back home.
We are working a good system now at bedtime with me doing a blog or a bit of research for accommodation ahead while Gretchen reads the e-book and then when is ready for sleep I take over the e-book until sleep catches up too.
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