So I’ve spent the past week in Warsaw, Poland, attending the European Law and Economics Association meetings and visiting the city. Although my family is Polish I’ve never visited the country. Perhaps my most distinct impression is how surprised I am at how middle class and prosperous the country seems, just 25 years removed from Communism. Walking the streets, the city superficially seems indistinguishable from any other major European city–except cheaper. (I didn’t get out of Warsaw at all, so maybe it is different in the countryside?).
And, my goodness, the food has been delectable. They actually have a dish that is meat-stuffed pierogi with a “gravy” of sauteed bacon bits. We need that back home. And last night I had the tastiest (and biggest) duck ever for dinner.
The Warsaw Uprising Museum is one of the most compelling historical museums I’ve ever seen. What a story. I was only vaguely familiar with it before visiting the museum, but what a compelling story. And the museum has some remarkable artifacts–Claire and I especially liked the newsreels made by the Home Army Propaganda Films unit. Quite fascinating. It is truly hard for me to imagine what it would be like to rise up against the Nazis only to hope that your Soviet “allies” will help–but then have the Soviets turn their back because refusing to intervene would make the city weaker for when the Soviets finally rolled in. What an era of evil. I also didn’t realize the extent to which Hitler utterly leveled the city in retribution for the Uprising. What an extraordinary story.
The rest of the historical sights were really great too, but the Uprising Museum is the one that is really going to stick with both of us for a long time. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it out of Warsaw this time (I hear Krakow really is amazing) but we’ll certainly be coming back.