Warsaw, Poland

Warsaw is pretty dreary, I won't lie. Or at least it was when I was there. It is very post-war, gray and Soviet. It was basically decimated during the war, so everything had to be rebuilt and was rebuilt under communism. You can go to where the ghettos used to be, but there is nothing original, not even the pavement. There is a monument to the 1944 Warsaw uprising, but other than that there wasn't a whole lot of commemoration. The old town also shows a Soviet influence and is a pretty small area. I walked through it for a while people watching. It was oddly quiet in this area. The major commercial area shows a post communism western influence, basically skyscrapers with advertisements on them. Some of them were pretty bizarre too. In the main commercial areas of Warsaw there is an excess of beggars, and not the pan handling type, we are talking severe abject poverty. They are mostly older and mostly women, except there was this one girl, probably 10 years old, playing the accordion on her knees around the corner from my hostel. It was heartbreaking.

This morning I went to the Jewish cemetery in Warsaw, which is right next to the oldest Polish cemetery in Warsaw. They are literally back to back. They were interesting to walk through, especially in the fog and clouds this morning. There were so many different types of stones and some of them seemed to date back pretty far, which makes me wonder, was this rebuilt after the war? The vibe in the Jewish cemetery was much different than the Polish one, it was much more like a forest with a ton of stones all over the place. The Polish one was nice neat rows and fewer trees. Their mausoleums were actually like mini cathedrals, I had never seen anything like these before. Kind of a morbid thing to do in the morning, but as you can guess it was really peaceful and no one bothered me, ha.

A little while later I got on the train to Krakow, it was the first train I have been on that has actually been a real express train, it only had a beginning stop an end stop. Krakow is like a different country. You can't believe how different they are. I will write more on it tomorrow. Tomorrow I think I will go to Auschwitz. I guess this is my week to do and see depressing things. I didn't plan them to be all so close together, but it makes you appreciate everything else.