Dzien dobry iyashinoshigoto,
That is good afternoon in Polish. Why? Because I am in Poland. What am I doing here? I have no idea as I should be in Sweden doing some serious studying but I’m a sucker for Eastern Europe – I just can’t stay away for too long.
This trip is a result of the flight I booked few months back when I spotted an especially cheap fare from Malmö to Warsaw on for the end of June. Had no idea at that point if I’d even be in Malmö or if I’d have time to go, but whatever. I like to play “vacation lottery” from time to time and with fares so low, why not?
Turned out odds were in my favor as I was indeed in Malmö at the end of June. Although pretty busy, I hadn’t seen my Warsaw friends in quite a while or the city during summer so I just went for it. All work and no play makes Larissa and dull gypsy.
And what timing! I need to give a serious high five to fate or whoever is responsible for all the times I have randomly ended up in place in the midst of something really cool happening. It’s definitely not me. It hadn’t even crossed my mind that I would be flying straight into a Eurocup host city in the final days of the championships, and even if it did I would have thought “who cares”. I wouldn’t have believed you if you told me a few months ago that I was going to end up watching the final match between Spain and Italy in the center of Warsaw with thousands of screaming soccer fans. And that I would enjoy it.
As someone who is not into sports whatsoever – I mean, I didn’t even know who was playing until we were on the way to the fanzone – I have to say this was indeed a travel experience for the books. Sports or no sports, I’m into large parties and lots of energy and that’s exactly what I got on Sunday night. After the game the center of the city basically turned into one big party. Surprisingly there were quite a few Spaniards around and you bet they were celebrating. LOUDLY.
Aside from watching the final match under Stalin’s shadow, it was also really cool seeing one of my favorite cities all dressed to impress. I’m talking freshly planted flowers, shiny new trams, and one spectacular stadium. Most important of all, I noticed a lot of smiles – genuine smiles. I think most Poles have been really proud to show off their country to the rest of Europe which may be worth much more than whatever earnings they ended up bring in. Warsaw and Poland have come a long way since my first visit back in 2003.
Next stop is Gdynia for me. I just found out a friend will be working up at one of Poland’s biggest festivals – the Heineken Open’er Festival – and I am invited! Should be wild – will tell you all about it next week.
P.s. After months of protest, I finally got around to setting up for The Blonde Gypsy. Please help a sista out and give it a “like”, will ya?