And here I am in Warsaw for the next conference, the Planck 2007. I am very happy to report that this time my-stupid-bag arrived with me. However, at the airport I noticed that I managed to book what I thought was a hotel without having a street address. It took me some back and forth to find it out (since my Polish is even worse than my Italian). The taxi driver dropped me off and pointed vaguely into a direction since the address turned out to be in a pedestrian-only zone. After pulling my-stupid-bag through several cobblestone roads, I found the house. There I was explained that it's not an hotel at all. They rent apartments in 'the old town', and mine would actually be in another building, and also, would I please pay in advance, preferably in cash.
I probably didn't exactly contribute to Germany's good reputation by simply refusing to pay anything before I had seen the apartment. However, I shouldn't have worried. The apartment is great, larger than mine at home, has a living room as well as a completely equipped kitchen including washing machine and dishwasher. And is less expensive than every hotel I could find in this area (I was pretty late with booking).
The only drawback is the absence of any internet connection. (The reason being 'there are mostly older ladies staying with us'). Right now, I am sitting on a bench in the middle of Warsaw's old town blogging over an open access wireless that has a pretty good bandwidth. There is a small fountain in the middle and the place is surrounded by lovely colorful old houses, most of which have restaurants. Lots of people are sitting here, chatting, having dinner, drinking beer. Pigeons are hopping around, children are playing with the water in the fountain. A guy behind me just started playing the violin, its incredibly bad. Oh no! I recognize that song 'Und wenn wir alle Englein wären....'.
I spent a considerable amount of time trying to get some fruits or vegetables, but none of the grocery stores I found had any. On the other hand they had a truly impressive selection of sausages, bacon and all other kinds of very dead looking meat. I figure it's not a good place for a vegetarian. The only person who I could find on the street who spoke English was a German and explain he had only arrived two hours earlier, and whether I had an idea where to change Euro in Zloty (the stores still don't take Euro). Ah, the guy with the violin moved on. Now there's somebody with an accordion approaching...
I just love to sit an watch people. Meanwhile it has gotten dark and next to the fountain is a women juggling with torches. Unfortunately, I can see lots of clouds in the north and it looks like rain. Plus, there are plenty of mosquitoes, and the accordion isn't convincing either. So I'll pack my laptop and try to get some sleep to be fit for all the physicists tomorrow.
PS: Ach, und könnt mir vielleicht jemand sagen was 'Wo bitte bekomme ich Damenbinden?' auf Polnisch heisst und wie ich das ausspreche?