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Again Warsaw has been relaxation; traveling is exhausting. It’s been exactly one month since I left for Japan and have not slowed down since. It’s nice to have a place I will call home for more than a night or two.

Poland’s weather has been cool and cooling with grey clouds impending but we have continued moving forward each day. Today was the Palace by the Water. Frank and checked online to find its location and set out on foot. We were walking and walking and didn’t seem to be getting closer so I asked for some help.

Under and overpass I asked a lady walking her dog. after getting some direction I walked away. The girl turned and called to my back, “where are you from”? we talked for a minute. She was saying how much she hated talking English and that all of the tourists brought to Poland by the EuroCup made it really common to interact with someone in Engish. She only dislikes speaking English because she thinks she speaks really bad; I thought it was pretty good.

The palace is nice but not spectacular. There were several couples taking their wedding photos, posing all around the park and lake surrounding the royal residence. Not wanting to rush like yesterday We turned around and headed back.

Copernicus is from Warsaw

When Weronika came in we headed out to a place around the corner that has the Polish equivalent to tapas. We ordered three plates; herring, some cottage cheese stuff and another that I can’t remember. The place usually has tartar but they were out. It was extremely hot inside so we took our shot of vodka as a Polish cultural experience, ate and got out of that oven.

Weronika still wnted us to have the tartar experience, more specifically me I think, since I had never tried it; with good reason I think. she found a place not too far that offer tartar and we sat down o a plate of raw meat, war egg and bread. Weronika mixed the egg into the meat and salted and peppered it. Something in me says, “don’t eat raw meat”. I think most people have that voice but when in Poland… it wasn’t bad but I wouldn’t say good. It was more the mental aspect, knowing it was raw ground beef. Days later after eating uncooked beef, on the road to Berlin the only sickness I feel is nausea due to typing while on the bus.

We went to the art school but there was nothing going on so we went to the the Miracle on the Vistula, some bars on the river. We all needed a restroom so we went to the first one we saw, a gravel filled lot with a ISO shipping container DJ both, bar and covered seating area, though most people were standing or sitting around in the open air areas, strung with  lights. in line for the portopotties Weronika’s cousin called and said they were on the way to another bar so we walked up the river to a barge turned trendy bar.

We were working our way across the river but before crossing the bridge we were still hungry so we got some food at a little BBQ place next to the barge where 3 EMTs were grabbing a bite to eat while keeping guard to make sure no drunks fell in the river.

We could easily see the bon fires across the river but walking there took a little more time. We were meeting up with a friend of Veronika’s but just when we got the beach on the river her friends were packing up. We decided to walk away from the pounding house music towards someone juggling fire.

We met a Polish girl who was practicing with a long double ended torch spinning fire. It was mesmerizing. At one point though she hit her shirt with the torch and a puff of smoke and ash went flying but amazingly there was no damage done. Later I thought she was going to set her hair on fire, messing up a trick but again no harm done. Weronika wanted to try but without fire. While she and the girl messed with the torch i was basically surrounded by a “u” shape of several polish guys talking about a foot from my face. Every time I took a step back them took one forward, pushing me to the edge of a 2′ drop created by the tide. I didn’t think they were aggressive but certainly drunk so you never know what may happen. mostly they were just curious to hear how we liked Poland.

I managed to break free and left Frank to talk with them while Weronika and I took a walk further away from the people. Enjoying the lights of the numerous bridges reflecting on the river. When we returned for Frank the guys found out it was my birthday and insisted we drink vodka with them but after some insistence we were able to get away without adding to their drunkenness.

This will certainly be a birthday that is hard to forget; 26 is off to a great start.