I arrived at 9pm after an eleven hour train journey. Not recommended if you don’t speak Polish and nobody speaks English. I’d written a few words in Polish on a piece of paper with the name of my hotel and the location. I think I was told to walk but I persuaded a taxi driver to drive me by offering a large tip.
‘Sinclair joined the long line of passengers waiting to descend to the platforms. The arctic air from the Russian steppes blasted through the concourse, freezing her to the bone.
She could scarcely believe 24 hours had elapsed since her arrival in Warsaw. So much had happened. She had complicated the operation because of her intense feelings for Nadia. Her thoughts were filled with her image, her voice and her touch. Now like a coward she had left Nadia alone to face the repercussions.’
I’d booked an apartment in the St Andrew Residence, and it turned out to be a good location. This next day I discovered a couple of vegan restaurants near the apartment.
The next day I joined a three hour walking tour of the city. The guide was very knowledgeable and spoke good English. It turned out she had lived in London. I didn’t know this but during the Second World War, 80% of Warsaw was raised to the ground. The old Market Square looks ancient, but it was built in the 1950’s. Apparently, the citizens of Warsaw paid with their own money to rebuilt their city.
Stalin gave a ‘gift’ to the Polish people, the Palace of Culture and Science, but the Poles had to pay for most of the construction. The Poles call it ‘Stalin’s wedding cake’. You can see why. After it was completed in 1955. it became Europe’s tallest building. During the Cold War the Communist Party held its Congresses here.
I managed to get an inside tour of the Palace, and saw the Congress Hall, and various anti-rooms where the Party officials drank vodka, smoked incessantly and entertained women. After the fall of Communism, citizens were divided on whether it should be demolished. Since then it’s become a well-known tourist attraction, and it looks good at night!
Lezability factor- 1/2. It’s difficult because of the language barrier. I tried to chat to a waitress in the vegan restaurant but had to give up. She couldn’t speak any English, and I don’t speak Polish. There are no lesbian cafes, and be warned, the Poles are not exactly tolerant of same sex relationships.