Wednesday, 4 January 2012

First destination : Warsaw

Getting out of Warsaw airport and heading towards Dorota's house I was looking around and the city looked very different from Indian cities. Of course it will be.  You see just cars, hardly any motorbike's, of course no rickshaws, trams that you can't see in Ahmedabad or Mumbai or Delhi and most important every place was clean.  Soon we were at her place in a locality called Weirzbno.  A quick shower and we decided to go in the city and see some places.  

Firstly a nice walk in a park and then a walk on the university street and finally we sat at a nice bar drinking a beer with a taste of honey.  Still I was like am I meeting Dorota again ?  Its such a nice feeling when you meet a very good friend living far away from you again.  We reached back in the evening and decided to have a nice dinner outside.  Before that as I had to leave for Poznan the next day morning, Dorota helped me out with the train timings and the ticket stuff.  At night we had a lovely dinner at a russian restaurant Babooshka with some nice recollection of old memories of Ahmedabad.
Warsaw  Palace of Culture & Science

University street near Statue of Copernicus
While in Warsaw the one building that I saw for the maximum number of times was The Palace of Culture & Science.  Saw it during day, night, early morning and late night.  It really looks beautiful when it is lighted.  During my stay in Warsaw I really liked the old city center with lots of cafe's and colorful buildings and lots of things happening there.  Had a nice walk with Dorota and Bartek in the biggest park of Warsaw.  I really think that my city Ahmedabad lacks such green places where people can just walk and spend a nice afternoon or evening taking a nice stroll and relaxing.  But also the though
t that do we really maintain such places when provided to us by the corporation ?  Do we deserve to have them ?

The one weekend that I was in Warsaw Dorota and Bartek took me to their friend's place in the evening, met their friends and was a nice evening talking to them about India and having shots of Vodka and then going out late night at a club where again had some nice talks with Bartek on life in general.  

Also went to see Dorota's photo exhibition at Traffic Club.  The pictures really showed the true characters of India which she clicked while she was in India.  
Dorota's photo exhibition on India
After the Saturday night outing, Sunday I was suppose to cook an Indian meal for Dorota & Bartek.  This was decided way before I had applied to my visa.  Palak Paneer, a very popular dish in India along with rice.  Now how to get Paneer in Poland.  Difficult, but Dorota suggested to use Tofu instead of Paneer.  So here we went in the morning to the super market to shop for the ingredients and also they showed me the bus station from where I have to take the bus to Kaunas on Sunday night.  Came back cooked Palak Paneer and Rice along with some Chai.  Thank God they both liked it.

While in Warsaw there were lots of First things that I did.

1)  For the first time I had 'Hot Beer' with clove flavor.  It was just the perfect drink to have on a very cold, windy and little bit rainy day.  Dorota told me its just available in Poland only.  It was just too good.
2)  For the first time in my life I went to an Opera.  Visit to an Opera by an Indian ?  Back home my friends thought I've got crazy.  But in Europe its a very very common and popular too.  They also had subtitles in Polish but how do i understand it.  Anyways it was very nice of Bartek to narrate to me the whole story of the Opera after it ended.  Was a different experience, thought honestly I felt sleepy sometimes.

3) For the first time had the Turkish Falafel, quiet cheap, stuffing and most important vegetarian.

I returned from Berlin on Sunday late evening.  Dorota and Bartek spend a quiet Sunday at home only as Dorota was recovering from her sore throat.  They were playing scrabble when I opened the door.  The room was appearing cozy with candle lights and it was very warm.  I guess I had disturbed them in their romantic way to play scrabble.  We talked about my Berlin trip and discussed about a trip to Bialystok where Bartek was going on Tuesday morning for his work.  So it was like to join Bartek on his work visit to this cultural city in the north east of Poland.  We were going to meet Bartek's cousin Krzysztof who stays in Bialystok and he was going to show us the city.  So very nice of him.  I must mention that somehow during my stay in Warsaw I met people from Bartek's family only.  His father, his brother and now his cousin in Bialystok.  What a co-incidence ?

Tuesday was my last day in Warsaw and I was going to catch a train to Vienna.  So while in Berlin I had text'd Dorota that as Monday night would be my last night in Warsaw I would love to take them both on a dinner and they agreed.  We decided to go to an Indian restaurant 'Bollywood lounge' at Centrum.  It seemed to be a nice restaurant when we entered it.  The ambiance was nice, lovely bollywood music and a good interior decoration.  We sat and came the waitress with the menu.  So now the tough part.  What to order ?  Bartek loves to have meat or something non-veg.  I was wanting to have my pure veg. food.  Finally it was decided.  Bartek ordered Tandoori Chicken, Dorota ordered Prawn Biryani and I ordered Paneer Butter Masala with Paratha's.  The waitress asked us about drinks.  So Bartek ordered a masala chai, Dorota a beer and I ordered a shot of Vodka.  Now this was interesting.  Bartek loves Vodka but was having masala chai with tandoori chicken and me who loved chai was having shot of Vodka with veg. dishes.
It was really a nice dinner.  The music and the nostalgic talks while Dorota was in Ahmedabad.  I simply loved it.  With that it was like almost saying good bye to Warsaw.

To be in a land where you don't come across many people who speak English and than while on the move when you have to communicate it really is interesting how you manage to make your things done.  It was really a wonderful experience.  And above all I must say the best part was to meet a very good friend again and her husband.  Bartek came across as a thorough gentleman.  A perfect host, very friendly, easy going, witty, caring, smart and so down to earth.

And now I shall wait for my turn to reciprocate the same hospitality Dorota & Bartek offered to me, when they visit India.  Dzienkuje Dorota & Bartek.

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