Thank you for such lovely and supportive comments on my last post. Unfortunately I was legging it to Eastern Europe at the time. Thought it easier to start a new post. Bless you all!
Well, for Frack's sake, Poland went on my Bastard list before I even got there! They've only joined the bloody EU haven't they. That means no duty-free fags or booze within EU countries! Oh, you can buy all their tarty bloody trinkets and perfume and that but no important things! Who the bloody hell does that benefit? Am getting on to my bloody MP about this shit. Vincent Cable - he's always lurking round Twickenham, mouthing off and making a bloody nuisance of himself. This time the idle bastard can do some work. I'm getting that banned for a start.
And what was Poland thinking of? The bloody EU? I had a go at the sods, I tell you.
Camp young man at the till in duty free was sympathetic. Try not to think about your cigarettes, he soothed. Despite my glowering, I was touched by his kindness.
Poland began to redeem itself when we arrived in Warsaw and booked into this super hotel. It had remained standing all through the war, not bombed or anything. Of course it is quite Americanised now but was still impressed. Not impressed with the Zloty though. When I was last in Cracow, it was 20,000 Zloty to the pound. Now its only 5. They need to be saved from themselves, I tell you.
The first afternoon in Warsaw - 32 degrees - we walked the 8 km (5 miles) round what was once the Jewish ghetto wall. There is scarcely anything left of it. But there were still some traces of how these poor people must have lived - so walled away and persecuted like that. And there was a very big momument to the Jewish people but the most moving one was the one where the station used to be and where so many families got on the train to Austwitz and their terrible fate.
A lot of post war appartments were built on the rubble of the ghetto and they were raised very high. I was surprised how leafy the streets were. Almost pretty. I mean I think i expected something grim. Why should it have been though.
Collapsed back at the hotel. Cherry vodka for me and Polish lager for Husband. My flesh scorched by the sun, the skin falling off my feet, my head dazed and confused from another culture and language. I could not begin to know what terror and trauma those people went through before meeting a terrible end. Hopefully I never will. But at least I'd made the effort to try.......
Tune in to part two where I get pissed on cherry vodka and we meet a handsome young Pole called Poiter (an ideal candidate for my gay mate over here) and I buy Polish fags from a kiosk.