Warsaw, Day 6 – Zelazowa Wola, Chopin’s birthplace

On Thursday, we headed out to the Polish countryside to Zelazowa Wola, the estate where Chopin was born. His father lived in a smallish house there, and he was a French tutor. They were only there for a year more or less before they moved to Warsaw, though they remained friends with the estate owners. Chopin would walk the grounds here when he grew up.

It was really fun seeing the city turn into the suburbs and then into the country. Many of the houses looked pretty new – it wasn’t like the country here, with Victorian-ish farmhouses. One thing I noticed was that everyone had gorgeous flower gardens of varying kinds. It was very pretty.

Here’s a shot out of the bus window:
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There are lots of roadside shrines:
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We apparently had extra time so we stopped at the Church where Chopin was baptized. Which was cool, but then by the time we got back to the estate, we had maybe a half hour to 40 minutes before the lunch that we had to sit down for. It was super frustrating. Especially since lunch took 2 HOURS. It was nice getting to finally chat with some of the other tour people (we had way more time together and meals together in Beijing so we got to know each other better) but I would have liked more time at the estate.

Anyway, here is the church:
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A stork’s nest. They are apparently good luck. I”m pretty sure I saw one flying over during the drive.
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There were lots of pretty flowers at the estate:
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The house is up ahead:
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The house:
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There’s me!
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The ceiling inside one of the rooms:
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A piano supposedly played by Chopin:
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I liked the door knobs!
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Me and Chopin:
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The sit-down lunch was kind of funny because you could either choose the meat option, which was chicken soup with chicken. Or the vegetarian option… which was fish. And pierogies stuffed with mushroom. Some of the vegetarians weren’t thrilled with the fish. So they said they would offer just the pierogies.

At our table, we had one person waiting for the vegetarian meal. First they gave him the chicken soup. Then he had to wait forever for his food. Everyone else at the table had been served but were waiting for him. We applauded when his food finally came. The chicken was ok. I think it was stuffed with liver or something. The chicken soup was actually very good. The fish was a whole fish, so I’m glad I didn’t order that. Dessert was the best part:
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Here s what the dining room looked like with all the tour people:
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Someone’s backyard flower garden:
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And another shrine:
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I was amused by this sign by the souvenir stand:
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The Sobieski hotel – apparently this was the first brightly colored building amidst all that dull Soviet gray. Sobieski is also the name of one of the 17th century kings. Wilanow Palace was used by him – we’ll see more of that on Friday’s tour:
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For dinner Doug and I went back to the Polish restaurant we liked so much, Folk Gospoda. Doug ordered a dish that seemed to be really popular and available at other Polish restaurants. It’s a potato pancake stuffed with tomato based sauce and meat (maybe lamb?) topped with some sort of mushroom sauce. It was really good:
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And I had the pork tenderloin and potatoes:
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Thankfully we crossed the street when we did on the walk back to the hotel, or we would have been obstructed by this huge stream of people on rollerblades. I’m not sure what the event was but there were hundreds of rollerbladers!

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