My husband, Conrad and I left Michigan on a Monday night, flying to Frankfurt, Germany on Lufthansa airlines. That meant a short layover in Frankfurt, the next morning, where there was time to explore the airport and sample the large pretzels for sale from kiosks. We re-boarded and arrived in Warsaw before noon on Tuesday. Arif met us at the airport with a hotel driver. It was misty and cool but the driver said that with luck we would soon see a “golden Polish autumn”. We were to experience many golden memories as well.
Slav met us at the hotel within a few hours and we shared a light lunch and made updated plans for the next two days in Warsaw. He had arranged for reservation and delivery of concert tickets for a performance held that evening. Slav delivered us by cab to the venue where Brit Floyd (a Pink Floyd tribute band) played. We felt perfectly comfortable being on our own once we arrived at the right location. Waiting for the concert to begin, we took advantage of the coffee and Red Bull concession stands. Those drinks helped offset the jet lag we began to experience.
When we left the arena, the weather had changed. A heavy downpour caused the rainout of an international football/soccer match that was held nearby that evening. The roof of the stadium could not be closed and the field was underwater. Most cabs were directed to the stadium area to pick up the hundreds of fans who were in town from England. While it drizzled, we searched for a cab. That was our first adventure… but we did it with humor and managed to get back to the Old Town area, only a bit damp.
We discovered a local restaurant close to our hotel with distinct dining rooms for different menus. Even at 10:30 pm the restaurant had a wait-time. The dinner wait meant we had time to warm up at the bar. We had a conversation with a young bartender who entertained us with expressions in English and Polish. We received many smiles from attendants when we practiced our Polish. We chose seating in the “Polish Dining Room” so we could sample foods from that menu. The dining area looked like an industrial kitchen. A woman in a uniform made trays of pierogi as we watched. Special desserts were stacked on wheeled metal carts. We sat at one of only a few wooden farmhouse tables. Glass windows from ceiling to waist height filled an entire wall. People walking along the sidewalk could peek in and watch the dining activity and the cooking preparation. Tuxedoed waiters stood against a wall, waiting to be of service.
Dinner was delicious. My husband recognized meringue desserts like those his mother prepared. Because he enjoyed this dessert so much, the waiter offered our table additional complimentary meringue desserts… soft mounds of sweetened egg white, baked over a light pastry base, filled with a custard-textured, pink berry filling.