in Leipzig going to Warsaw via Berlin: We got up at 6AM…got packed and left the hotel to walk to the station…a light snow was falling…and got to the station to wait for the ICE in Berlin. We got into Berlin 90 minutes later and got off at the Zoo Station…walked around a bit, but it was very crowded and dirty, and didn’t have a very good feel…so headed for our gate for the Warsaw train. All we could see from the station was the Memorial Church and the downtown area, which when we returned to was only 4 blocks from our hotel.
The train came shortly and was an older EC (European City) Train…older and not as clean…but we had our own 6-seat compartment, so plenty of room…and off we went. Pretty much everything was covered with snow, so as we left Berlin we headed towards open farmlands and lots of trees, much like our upper midwest of the US. At times the trees are like level forests…. very beautiful but very cold looking at this time. And, from time to time Audy would see deer in the fields, etc. We passed through a few towns…all pretty desolate looking, for this was East Germany not too long ago. We crossed over into Poland at Frankfurt on the Oder River…and both soldiers and custom officers came aboard to check passports, etc…. then the ticket takers. The train folks took quite awhile to figure out our ticket, for the tickets are written in English, and here we are expecting the Poles to read them. Even though the train was old, we moved at 100 + mph through the flat countryside…passing small towns, villages, and little run down stations…and arrived in Warsaw at 6:30PM. Nothing was in English or German, so we just started looking and asking, and we had called ahead to see where the Marriott was and was told it was very near the station…so we spotted it and out we went into the 20 degree cold, and it was cold. We walked the 2 blocks and got there in 10 minutes. The Marriott was 5 star and very nice…and they upgraded us to the Executive Level, so we went in and had sandwiches, etc. I stepped outside for a minute…the cold hit me and I was back inside. We were on the 37th floor and overlooked the Old Town and the Palace of Culture, a huge building that was a gift from Stalin…..the photos from the hotel will tell its size. The city really looks big and modern, with the Galeria Centrum about 2 blocks away. We started planning our day and decided to go to the Russian Market early Sunday AM…come back to the Cathedral for the 11 AM Catholic mass. We also planned to get a 1 day ticket on the tram, which we did….so after a good nights sleep, we were ready for Warsaw.