Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Warsaw Orientation

Entry gate to Warsaw University

Well, it's been a while since my last post since we haven't had access to internet for over a week. Made us feel really disconnected....we finally called Alison and found out she was in Ann Arbor at a party with other Holland kids (including Nick, so we had a chance to talk with him too) celebrating Michigan's win over Penn State.

Warsaw (var-SHAV-ah) is a nice big city with great (big) parks and construction all over. Since it was pretty much destroyed during WWII (Hitler apparently was angry about the insurgents' uprisings and ordered it leveled), many of the "old" buildings are recreations. But the old town (and "new" town - 15th century - the old town was originally build in the 13th and 14th centuries) areas are still nice.

Notice the date on the building below....from the front you would swear it was hundreds of years old.

The weather was beautiful during our time in Warsaw, so we walked all over....from the Old Town square down the main street with many outdoor cafes and upscale stores, to the street with embassies and other grand buildings, to one of their beautiful parks.

Nowy Swiat, Warsaw

Statue of Chopin in Lazienki Park

On Wednesday we spent the morning at the U.S. Embassy with presentations on Polish-U.S. relations and different aspects of living in Poland. (The big issues: Poland is very supportive of the U.S. and has sent troops to both Afghanistan and Iraq, but we require Poles to get visas to visit the U.S. even though people from countries like the Czech Republic don't need to; and the proposed U.S. missile defense system -- building 10 silo-based long-range missiles in Poland.) After the briefing at the embassy, we had a very nice reception at the Ambassador's house, where we had interesting conversations with both U.S. foreign service people and several Poles who work for the U.S. Embassy.

John and Vicki at the Ambassador's house

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