Okay, I'm ready to tell ALLLLLL about Poland.
Poland was very different. I liked it.
I can't make one of these slideshows go away... two are the same, two are different... you'll figure it out. :)
This trip to Warsaw, Poland was very interesting because you could "see" the past. It seemed the "past" was so recent that it was still around. Some parts of Warsaw appeared new and "American" looking... like the large, beautiful shopping malls or the big office buildings downtown; while other parts or Warsaw looked like they really had been through a war... beat up and falling apart.
It wasn't even different parts or areas of Warsaw. It was all mixed up. New, tall buildings next to a pile of rubble that previously had been a building. Rows of grey, cement, box-like apartments that looked very communist, and then right next to those were the new apartments with balconies and pretty paint.
I was more interested in the older things. I think many years from now Warsaw will be a boring, modern European city with new everything, but now it seems to be "in between" so you could still see the history. And I've never cared about history at all... but since we were staying with some friends they told us all about their country: it's history, famous people, events, specific everything; they were so knowledgeable about their country... I was very impressed. It made me feel slightly dumb though about my knowledge about the history of my own country. :) But having them tell me about Warsaw's past made our trip more personal because of the way it's history had effected them. ...It made me even choose a museum over a park one day! I wanted to learn about the "Warsaw Uprising" so we went to a museum about it. Instead of just roaming around the museum aimlessly while Paul read things, I read everything too and actually learned things!!
So our Poland trip to me was very educational. I really enjoyed it. I hope our friends know how much we appreciated them sharing their home and family with us too. I don't think our trip would have been as good without them. I probably would have just seen the plastic palm tree and called it good. (There is a plastic palm tree in the middle of Warsaw.) :)
Oh, this was the very first thing I noticed about Warsaw: They have concrete light poles and concrete power poles. No wooden poles... it's all concrete, and so old that some are falling apart and you see the rebar sticking out. ....yes, I know it's sideways. Turn your head. :) There were lots of grey concrete things around...
I have time to keep typing, Andrea is still asleep... lucky you, you get to keep reading!
We did find a McDonalds that served breakfast and we were so excited because it's rare for a McDonalds here in Europe to be open to serve breakfast. Other than McDonalds we ate some pretty interesting and different foods. The girls even ate duck happily! I ate liver, blood, other internal organs, the fat from some animal, and raw beef... all in one day! Phew! :) I told our friends we wanted to eat some traditional Polish food... and they sure provided us with some! :)
The food was quite interesting in Poland. Different, mostly good, and some mostly interesting! I did get some roast beef that was really good and some Easter soup. AND I ate the yummiest piece of Polish candy, it was a taffy of some sort but with a very unique flavor. YUM!
My liver experience wasn't so YUM though. I've never eaten liver, and this time it was even an accident. I thought I was taking a bite of a grilled chicken or beef so I had a BIG bite. Hmmm. I almost became ill after chewing for a few seconds... Then I see Paul laughing at me. It was very hard to swallow and took a great amount of concentration on my part. I didn't know liver could be so... icky. :) So, what do I do after I successfully swallow it and am convinced it isn't coming back out... Feed it to my children of course! :) They each had a bite and suffered as I did. :)
We spent Easter in Poland too. On Saturday each of our families prepared an Easter basket with different symbolic things inside: meat, bread, chicken, egg, and a branch from a green plant. Then we took our baskets to the church to have them blessed, your basket was to be your breakfast the following morning on Easter. So everyone is out walking on their way to all the local churches and everyone has their baskets with them. At the church every 15 minutes the priest comes out to the table where everyone puts their basket and he blesses them. Then you take your basket back home. You also don't eat meat or treats on Saturday... but you get plenty of meats and treats on Easter Sunday!!
On Easter we woke up and found a scavenger hunt for Easter eggs, not a Polish tradition, but a family one our friends had adopted/invented. We had our Easter breakfast, which I thought was just going to be what we had in the basket... I was concerned we would be hungry. :) Nope, We had a big breakfast and I was FULL. We took a walk to the local church where they hold services all day. We arrived at the end of one just in time to see the "chickys".
They had little yellow Easter Chicks (baby chickens) for the kids to go up and hold. You'd have to be there I think, but I'll try to describe this. All the kids, and parents for that matter, were shoving and pushing their way up to the chicks, it was loud and crazy, I couldn't find Scotty (who was up at the front), my girls were stressed, my friend told me show Andrea so in the middle of CHAOS I hesitantly picked up Andrea out of her stroller to show her the chicks. Meanwhile my friend somehow got hold of a chicky and as soon as I get Andrea out she hands this chick to me. I held it in my hand and showed it to Andrea. She just looked at it and it was the sweetest look my little daughter ever gave anything. It suddenly seemed very calm and we just sat there with this little chick; this was definitely the highlight of my day!! So Andrea and I just stood there with the little chicky and held it for a while. ...then I put the poor chick back into the mad swarm of children who had now broken the walls of the chicky enclosure down and now these poor chicks were trying to escape. :)
We left for the airport Sunday evening and had a relaxing journey home since the airport was empty. We arrived in Copenhagen and most of us except for Paul and Michaela slept for our ride home.
We woke up Monday and since there was no school we had an American day of Easter-ness... but that's another story...