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So, how was Polska?

ctenidae

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That's the question my brother asked, and since I wrote a lengthy reply, I thought I'd put it here. Some interesting (to me, anyway) things I saw. It's not the trip report, I know, but I'm getting to that.

Real good. Lots (and lots) of food, many beers, good skiing at Zakopane (and the biggest plate of roasted meats you've ever seen. Seriously, 10-12 sausages, a rack of ribs, 4 lamb chops, 2 ham hocks, 2 pork loins, and I'm not sure what else. Fed 4 of us. The open grill they have was 10 feet long by 6 feet wide, probably 150 pounds of meat on it at a time.)

Spent 2 days in Warsaw, which, in my mind, is one of the prettiest cities I've ever seen (except for the Soviet-era grey concrete housing blocks, but they're working on those).

Got to see the Paula's Mom's old apartment in the "historic" district of downtown (it's the New Town, since it was built in the late 1500's, as opposed to the Old Town, which was built in the 1300s and 1400s), which would still be hers, and worth about $3 million, if she'd signed the papers when her mother (Paula's grandmother) moved to the US 20 years ago.

Interesting beer observation- there is no "microbrewery" industry- there are 6-8 big breweries (Warka, Okocim, Zyweic, Tatra, and a few others), but they all make, essentially, the same beers- basic midweight pilsners/ales. They have started to make some others, like porters, and they all make Mocne (Strong) varieties, at 11%-13% ABV, but there are no small-batch quality focused brews to speak of. However, they do import a fair amount from the rest of Europe, but nothing that would be called specialty. I think their beer industry was impacted by communism much the same as ours was by Prohibition, but for a much longer time. The "you will all drink the same beer" mantra drove out creativity much more than "you will drink no beer" did.

Incredible amounts of building going on, almost all of it residential. Construction is actually pretty cool- no wood frame houses at all, except for in the southern mountains. Everything is built of what looks like cinder blocks with a stucco finish. The blocks are different, though- they're about 40% lighter than our cinder blocks, and instead of a big hole, they're filled with air channels, making them very efficient insulators, so the buildings are very warm and extremely quiet. The technique cuts down on architectural options, though, so almost everything is reminiscent of the Soviet blocks, but townhouses instead of high rises.

Highways still need a lot of work- main road between the two largest cities is reminiscent of driving on the River Road outside Stuttgart, complete with tractors. A few bends in the road are, literally, to go around a tree. They're building a 6-lane highway, though, that should be done early next year (if the contractors don't steal all the materials to build houses).

Biggest problem I see right now in Poland is the deep seated unshakeable distrust the Poles have for everything Polish. They immediately assume someone is out to screw them over, and since they expect it, it happens, so they grouse about and carry on. They trust foreigners, but not each other. Odd, that.
 

andyzee

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Real good. Lots (and lots) of food, many beers, good skiing at Zakopane (and the biggest plate of roasted meats you've ever seen. Seriously, 10-12 sausages, a rack of ribs, 4 lamb chops, 2 ham hocks, 2 pork loins, and I'm not sure what else. Fed 4 of us. The open grill they have was 10 feet long by 6 feet wide, probably 150 pounds of meat on it at a time.)

Poles love a good feast!

Spent 2 days in Warsaw, which, in my mind, is one of the prettiest cities I've ever seen (except for the Soviet-era grey concrete housing blocks, but they're working on those).

Got to see the Paula's Mom's old apartment in the "historic" district of downtown (it's the New Town, since it was built in the late 1500's, as opposed to the Old Town, which was built in the 1300s and 1400s), which would still be hers, and worth about $3 million, if she'd signed the papers when her mother (Paula's grandmother) moved to the US 20 years ago.

Did you go to the main park, for get the name offhand, but it was all kind of palaces, outdoor theaters, and tons of peacocks?

Another interesting fact about the historic district. It was actually about 90% demolished by the Nazis, then rebuilt to it's original state by the Poles after WW II. They made sure that every brick was put back in place as the original.

Highways still need a lot of work- main road between the two largest cities is reminiscent of driving on the River Road outside Stuttgart, complete with tractors. A few bends in the road are, literally, to go around a tree. They're building a 6-lane highway, though, that should be done early next year (if the contractors don't steal all the materials to build houses).

Found the roads scary to say the least. Passing is done on the shoulder.

Thanks for the report.
 

ctenidae

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Did you go to the main park, for get the name offhand, but it was all kind of palaces, outdoor theaters, and tons of peacocks?


We walked through it last time we were there, but just went along the edge this time. It's between my step-sister-in-law's apartment and Stare Miesto, and when we wlaked by I forgot to grab our map, so I didn't want to come out the other end not knowing where we were. It is a really nice park, though.
 

dmc

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headed to Poland a friends wedding in October... Psyched!
 

dmc

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Not sure - but she's from Warsaw...

Planning on hitting Amsterdam for a bachelor party on the way...

So far there like 15 of us Hunter "locals" headed over... Should be a blast!
 

ctenidae

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Not sure - but she's from Warsaw...

Planning on hitting Amsterdam for a bachelor party on the way...

So far there like 15 of us Hunter "locals" headed over... Should be a blast!

If it's in Warsaw, www.discrete.pl is my father-in-law's bar. Crazy place from about 11pm to around 6 am.
 

andyzee

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If it's in Warsaw, www.discrete.pl is my father-in-law's bar. Crazy place from about 11pm to around 6 am.

When I was in Warsaw I went to Pub Lolek. Pretty cool place, it's in a park and both indoors and outdoors. The grilled food was plentiful and good. The cover bands were playing 70s American music and although pretty good, also comical witht their accents. http://lolekpub.pl/
 
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