Thursday - Museums, Food, and Friendship

Today was filled with museums, lots of walking, good food, and great company.  The group decided to go to a local cafe for breakfast.  Afterwards, we made our way to the Copernicus Science Center, which was not, as we thought, by the Copernicus Institute of Science.  But that let us walk by the Chopin Museum and one of Warsaw's many parks.  The Science Center was a lot of fun to tour and to be able to engage in the different interactive exhibits.

From there, we walked through beautiful and scenic Old Town again.  LockWe stopped for lunch and all ordered delicious types of Pierogis.  The four students decided to buy a lock to put on the railing overlooking the Vistula River, a common way of memorializing or "locking in" relationships and memories.

The group then walked quite a distance to the Uprising Museum.  Touring this Museum was such a sobering experience.  We realized that we were not simply touring a museum, but we are witnessing something that took place in the city where the uprising happened, in the streets where we have been walking for the past few days.  Since most of you don't know about this, most of Warsaw was destroyed by bombs and shelling during World War II.  Most of Warsaw was left as rubble by the end of the war, with over 90 percent of the buildings destroyed in a town that had held 1.3 million people.

Warsaw WWIIAt the close of the War, the remaining Warsawians decided to stage an uprising against Hitler's occupying forces, who were systematically and brutally killing their people and destroying their homes and churches.  The rebellion - carried out by ordinary citizens and even children who often travelied through the sewers beneath the city - was crushed by a far better armed and trained military.  Meanwhile, the Russian army sat on the other side of the river and watched.  When Hitler's army withdrew, the Russians came in and proclaimed that they had liberated Poland, when, in fact, they became it's new occupying force.  The Russians even took many of the leaders of the Uprising to Russia, tried them for "collaborating with the enemy", and sent them to work camps!   The brutality and evil of it all was chilling to us all.

While walking back to our hostel, we found a place to eat dinner where we had the opportunity to try all sorts of Polish delicacy, including sausage, gnocchi, duck, venison, bacon covered plums, chicken, and fried cheese, and several interesting sauces.  ItDinner was a great opportunity and was so delicious.  We ended our day by being surprised by fireworks over the city and we just happened to be in a great place to see them.  After grabbing some Polish pastries and chocolates for desert at our hostel (and lots of water, because you can only drink bottled water here, and it seems like you run out of it as soon as you get it!)  Tomorrow, we head on to Sosnowiec by train, and we will spend much of the next week working with a local church.

Sarah, for Sarah, Karleigh, Carrie, Jordyn, & Dr. E.

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