We are finally here and Warsaw is absolutely amazing!
I have heard so much good about this city and the reality of it is still so much more than what one imagines! Its vibrant, down-to-earth, extremely livable, and most of all: HAPPY. It seems that the Warsawians just radiate more positively then most of us do (especially New Yorkers!). Our tour guide gave a brief introduction to the city's history and an overview of the more important buildings that we passed on the way from the airport, she promised much more info tomorrow morning, when we go on a sightseeing tour. [Secretly helping us deal with jet lag the tour leadership required that we all show up with instruments at 9 am for a three-hour-long, part-walking tour of the city. Quite exciting! ]
After a quite nice welcome buffet at the hotel (ohne coffee), a small contingent of us took off to find the Panorama Bar on top of the Marriott Hotel, where, as we have heard now from a million people, Obama stayed the night before. First stop, the "kantor" money exchange... after the laughable exchange rates at the airport (2.4-2.5 zl for a buck) it was nice to see that downtown Poland still has some class and we managed to buy zlotys for close to 3zl=1$. We grabbed a quick coffee to make up for the lack of caffein at dinner and off we went. [To all Europeans who like me thought that Tchibo was a coffee brand: in Poland, they sell swim and beachwear!]
Panorama Bar did have an amazing view of the city, which they managed to block out wherever they could with expansive plants and closed off areas and a staircase railing so tall, that it completely obstructs the little view that remained visible. The decor was sort of creepy in a charming way (floral patterns upon floral patterns), but the menu had offered some interesting things and some that don't even exist. We all ordered from the Polish specials menu: Polish Martini (with chili infused zubrówka), Hot Bison, Adam's Temptation, Ivan's Legacy (pronounced the slavic way.) We had a lovely conversation and headed back to the hotel before the day's end to get ready for an early morning of marching through Warsaw.
Good night everyone!