25.08.2011 - 25.08.2011 21 °C
Early start as I had to catch a 10am flight to Warsaw. The airport was really funny.. Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) has changed the check in procedure and it is now all manual check in using little ATM style machines.. this is no issue and is quite easy to use and then you take your bag to baggage drop where the tellers then check your passport weigh your luggage and send it on its way…. (not sure how much time it actually saves because at least 1:10 stuff up or don’t know how to check in and they have to fix it!!)
Anyway the queue from the bag drop was at least 500m long.. it snaked its way through the whole of the downstairs concourse of the airport!! Just hilarious! I had plenty of time before my flight so I could find the whole process amusing.. there were plenty of customers who weren’t so happy!!!
Flight was uneventful and we landed at Chopin International Airport.. I learnt something today that Chopin was born and raised in Warsaw! On leaving the terminal (and there isn’t much of a terminal) I was accosted by at least two different taxi drivers trying to steal my luggage and take me to their taxi.. I did my usual “shake the head, no polish” and kept walking.. Found the tourist info desk and was sadly disappointed at the lack lustre response from the chick at the desk.. The only useful info she could give me was that it should cost me about 40 zlt to get into town.. So my taxi drivers came back again and tried to get me to go with them.. (at a price 3 times what the lady had told me).. not wanting to get totally ripped off I kept walking to the bus stop.. One nice old polish taxi driver stopped me and told me he would do it for 50 (about 16 dollars) so I accepted and hopped in.
Funny trip as he spoke very little English but we had a fun time he trying to tell me about different landmarks and me trying to work out what he was saying.. I worked out that Dobsze means Ok (this got used a fair bit) and that Jink-where is Thankyou..
Anyway arrived at my hostel to find it in the middle of the “Old Town”. It was rebuilt after WWII, and rebuilt so well that it has UNESCO heritage listing!! Really quite beautiful. Lots of really old, colourful buildings surrounding cobblestoned squares with fountains! Really nice..
First impression of Warsaw is really good—by the way, Warsaw is actually pronounced Varshava by the local population—the w sound in polish is pronounced with a v and they tack an a onto the end!).. Nice city but a spread city! Spent the afternoon just wandering the streets of the Old Town. Each building in the Old Town seems to house a different type of shop or museum.. I mean the Old Town must have more Antique stores per square meter than any other place! I just love it!! Each of the antique stores sells the strangest collection of gear.. today I saw WWII uniforms right next to a Marilyn Monroe poster!! Just great!
Decided to turn in early to get a good start tomorrow to start discovering the museums etc of Warsaw.