December 12, 2013

Firefighting Patrol

I spent yesterday in Warsaw. I needed to keep moving as it would have been too easy to simply collapse at the hotel for the day after my experience the previous night. Warsaw seems to be pretty bleak place at this time of year. I can’t therefore work out why Polish people are generally so friendly..

I hadn’t eaten for a day, so I treated myself to a slap up lunch in the “old” town (I don’t think much of it dates much before 1945 though). It looks quaint, but is totally lacking in people and things going on to my untrained eye. Lunch comprised of lots of different coloured piles of cabbage, some potato dumplings and some nicely cooked dead animal, which was all good.

Fortified by the meal I headed over to the Polish National Army Museum, which for me was an absolute gem. Outside there was tonnes of Cold War junk (always a good sign!) and inside some really well curated collections.

I loved the ballistic missile launchers sat there rusting away – just like the type used in a personal favourite comedy movie, “Spies Like Us” – it was a shame that I had in fact on this occasion left my satscram decoder at home.. too much stuff to carry!

I was surprised to find the Soyuz 30 capsule which has been amazingly well preserved – when you look inside you can really understand the huge number of strange buttons and the lack of room to move once strapped in (assuming you could get in). Soyuz 30, flown by a Pole, landed in a field in Russia in 1978. This one is better preserved than all the other Soyuz capsules I have seen in Russia, China and Vietnam (in case you are wondering, like Poland, there was a Vietnamese astronaut on one of the missions, so the capsule was donated).

The evening proved to be interesting – in a Loius Theroux wierd sort of a way… Outside the hotel at the prearranged time appeared Wojtek, not in a limosine car but a small “old school” Zuk fire engine. Using all of the three forward gears and challenging pram type suspension, he proceeded to show me round some interesting places and bars for the evening.

Our last stop was a fire fighters bar, called OSP Saska Kspa. It’s where you come to park your fire engine and let your hair down at the end of a busy day! All in all a really nice way to spend an evening seeing parts of Warsaw that tourists would not normally see – check out “Behind the Scenes” over on TripAdvisor if you want to see more.

I’m packing up now, and getting ready for a transit through Belarus on my way to Moscow later on.

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