Warsaw, Poland

After an easy bus ride from Vilnius, I reached Warsaw. Many people told me to skip this city and go right to Krakow, but I’m sure glad I didn’t. Warsaw is a really good place. It’s a big city (more than 2.5 million), so it has all the typical shopping things that some people enjoy, but it also has superb modern office towers, designed my Norman Foster, the architect behind my absolute favourite bridge, the Millau Viaduct.

Like many of the other cities I’ve visited on this trip, Warsaw has a lovely Old Town. Unlike many of the other cities, however, Warsaw’s Old Town was complete destroyed during WW II. As the Germans retreated from the advancing Red Army, they dynamited all the buildings in Old Town. Nice. Anyway, Warsaw has worked hard to faithfully reconstruct the buildings, though I don’t think they housed luxury cosmetics shops in the 1900s.

The OkiDoki Hostel, where I’m staying in Warsaw, is excellent. In my room was a couple from Hearst, an accent I recognized almost immediately. At the pub, I bumped into an IT guy from Edmonton, which allowed me to geek out for an hour or so. And, on the geek note, while most of the hostels have provided either free WiFi and free Internet via a couple of ancient PCs, OkiDoki was the first one to use Linux (Kubuntu) as the operating system, something I found kind of surprising. Using Linux seems like the easiest and least expensive way to provide a decent Internet kiosk that would be hard for user to complete munge, like they seem to often do with Windows PCs.

Before breakfast this morning, I shared a nice conversation with a sweet Japanese woman, who is on here way to Krakow for an academic conference on architecture. After breakfast, I walked all around central Warsaw, and picked up my tickets to Krakow, where I’ll be heading tomorrow. I also bought my overnight train tickets to Prague (from Krakow) and might have sunburned my neck. Perfect.