Go, Go, Go, See the Villa

Tuesday, March 20, 2018
Warsaw, Masovian Voivodeship, Poland
One of the things I was really excited to see in Warsaw was the Warsaw Zoological Garden (aka, The Warsaw Zoo), and the Zablinski Villa, that was featured in "The Zookeeper's Wife."  If you haven't read the book or have seen the movie, this is a great article with the story. It wasn't easy to find information, and once I did, I made an appointment today at 11 a.m., as the villa can only be visited by appointment.
We had a little Uber trouble as I don't think Uber drivers are allowed in the Old Town, so one we had to cancel, and the other canceled on us. We grabbed a taxi instead (and as our guide Jadek said later, in Warsaw, taxis are expensive. Uber is less expensive. Ha!) and made it to the villa a little after 11. Our guide showed us the dining room with photos, the original piano that Antonina played (Go, Go, Go to Crete!) to warn guests that the Nazis were approaching, and the tunnel where the occupants had to use to escape. It was really incredible. Almost 300 Jews were saved during the Nazi occupation of Warsaw, and at any given time, around 30 people lived at the Villa. The Zablinski's children are still living in Warsaw, and the girl visits the zoo every year. The Zoo is still in operation, so once we saw the Villa, we walked around a bit. We were also able to see Magdalena's (a famous artist who stayed for almost three years) sculptures and where she worked. Only two people who passed through the Villa during wartime were killed. It's really a miracle that more weren't caught.  
We had some great hot chocolate and a sandwich at E. Wedel, a chocolate place from 1851. We ordered a sea salt hot chocolate with whipped cream, and it tasted heavenly. After this, we decided to do a free Jewish walking tour, as many of the museums were closed today. The tour and guide were very good. "Jadek" was funny and informative. He focused on the Jewish Ghetto in Warsaw, which was one of the largest ghettos during the war, but also talked about the times of Jewish people in Warsaw before and after.
 We saw where the ghetto wall once stood, as well as where the library was and still is today. There were almost 400,000 Jewish people living in Warsaw before the Nazis invaded in 1939. After the war had ended, less than six percent of the population of Warsaw was still present, and under 12,000 inhabitants were Jewish. This was the same Ghetto (it had 4 entrances) where Jan Zablinski snuck in food for people, and helped people escape. 
We had an excellent dinner at Zapiecek. The dishes were hand made in Poland, and of course, I had pierogi (stuffed with bacon and cheese). Dad had pork ribs and kraut and Jeff had Polish sausage. I was impressed with Warsaw and how nice the Old Town is. A lot of visitors to Poland seem to prefer Krakow, which is very nice, but I was also impressed with Warsaw. 
Tomorrow, it's by plane to Prague! Thanks for reading.