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October 3 - Warsaw

Poland

sunny 18 °C
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Warsaw - October 3

Interesting early history:
From the sixteenth century Poland's kings (11 in total) were elected by the nobility  Candidates were selected from all parts of Europe. Only four of the eleven were Poles. 
Today their president is elected and the prime minister and cabinet is nominated by the president but endorsed by the senate. 

Between them, the Nazis and the Stalinists ensured that most of old Warsaw was razed to the ground. As a result even the old town has been rebuilt in the fifties. Subsequently it is a bit disappointing when compared with the places we have previously visited. 

Nothing remains of the Jewish ghettoes which held over 400,000  Jewish citizens in two areas totalling about 3.4 sq. Km before 254000 were shipped off to the Treblinka extermination camp during two months of the summer in 1942  Warsaw today probably has less than 1000 Jews and many of these do not identify or practise their religion 

Tourists everywhere today but it is all a bit flat and weary looking. More like Moscow. More beggars here. Eye candy poorer in style and quantity. No where near as many short skirts, tights, even tighter jeans and sky-high stilletos. . 

Local tour leader took us to all the important monuments and parks dedicated to Chopin and other musos, Copernicus, Warsaw uprising heroes, Jewish uprising fighters. 

Afternoon run out of the city to Wilanow to visit another summer palace full of art, sculptures and treasures. Surprisingly undamaged during the war despite being used by the Nazis and then the communists as a reception/guest house for visiting dignitaries. Still quite a bit of restoration taking place. We wonder if future generations will take tours through the Packer, Murdoch, Pratt or Crowe "palaces". 

History is ironic as one substantial building in the "new" Warsaw that housed the Communist leaders now houses the Ferrari showroom on the street front. Soviet apartments are more evident here than in the last 3 countries probably because 85% of the city was destroyed between 1943-1945.

Tonight we go to the Warsaw Conservatory Library Hall for a Chopin recital before dinner.  Tomorrow we train to Berlin - about 6 hours. Our cases are going by road to make sure we don't have to worry about finding space on the train which is fully booked. Russell's will appreciate the lack of luggage space on European trains!

Posted by suengarry 23:42 Archived in Poland Tagged palaces

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