Warsaw is Closed

Thursday, February 27, 2014
Moscow, Moscow, Russian Federation
We had two visits planned during our brief stay in Warsaw, the History Museum and the Uprising Museum. Both were closed - the only reason we could think of was it was National Donut Day, the hotel had them on reception, we were given them at lunchtime and a very attractive slim blond Polish girl wanted me to try her donuts in the street, at least that is what I think she meant (almost all the girls are slim and attractive, despite eating lots of heavy soups, sugar coated donuts and potatoes fat Poles of either sex are a rarity).

The attached picture is of the Palace of Culture, a present from the people of Russia back in the 60's, the international equivalent of that horrid china vase from your mother in law . When I was last here they were trying to decide what to do with the building. Most Poles wanted it knocked down as it reminded them of the Russian occupation however it houses the main library among other useful things so eventually they decided to keep it.

As you can see there are plenty of new office blocks but I am pleased to say they have kept them away from the historic part of the city.

We left Warsaw at 16.10 on the next train journey, the sleeper through Belarus to Moscow. Russian rail tracks are 3 1/2 inches further apart from those in the rest of the world so at the border each carriage is lifted off its wheels (I think the technical term is bogies) and they are rolled away and another set which are spaced further apart put in their place whilst all the passengers remain in the coach. Apparently we will go through the same process on the Mongolian border as China uses the same narrower gauge. It is probably not a good idea to flush the loo whilst the coach is in the air! The whole process of crossing the border and changing the wheels took over two hours, it would have been much quicker to get us to change trains.
By morning we had moved into another time zone, so 2 hours sleep lost, the weather was sunny and the ground covered in snow so it is on with the long johns (now for some reason called base layer), gloves and wooly hats.
We have now arrived in Moscow where it is very cold but sunny, that sort of cold I can deal, with.
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