Date sent: Fri, 12 Jan 96 00:23:51 -0800
From: naomi and gary kirby

Subject: Warsaw nights . . .

We had an interesting if unusual adventure in Warsaw in 1993. We knew it was going to be different when we got off the train after a half day from Krakow and the girl at the information desk told us, in English, that "she wouldn't be speaking English any more today" - German, French, etc. were also off the agenda. In fact, despite the "information" sign she was adamant it wasn't even that!

So, where to stay? We saw one of the few English signs at the station advertising home-stays and made our way by taxi to an accommodation office and then walked to the apartment building where we discovered we were on the fifth floor (no lift). We were greeted by a lovely lady - who smelled somewhat of gin - who spoke no English (or German, French, etc.) but only Polish which our Berlitz guidebook failed to cover - yes, our fault! But she let us sleep on a day-bed in her dining room and offered us cherries for supper each night and biscuits and tea for breakfast each morning - this was hospitality beyond the norm.

However, we did have one difficult experience with her. After explaining with sign language and a train timetable that we would be leaving early the next morning for Berlin, we began to settle down for the night. Suddenly, as my husband was removing his underwear there was a knock on the door which immediately flew open. In burst our hostess speaking excitedly in Polish as Gary, wearing only a (too short!) T-shirt cowered behind a dining chair. I was a great help, lying on the bed laughing hysterically as she continued to explain in fluent Polish something or other.

We later discovered that she was trying to give us the address of a friend in Berlin with whom we might stay . . .

Since then, we've always wanted to have someone translate a letter into Polish for us explaining that we weren't really all that crazy and saying thankyou for the cherries.

naomi and gary kirby

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