We left our hotel early in the morning and stopped on our way back to Warsaw at the largest brick castle in the world in Malbork, Poland. It was ginormous! It was so huge our tour through the castle took a full two hours to complete.DSC02548.jpg

The beautiful castle had to be partially rebuilt after WWII. Only Christian Monks lived in the castle before the war, no women or children.

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What the castle looked like after WWII

The area surrounding the castle was like a renaissance fair sort of thing with lots of little booths set up with food and things to buy. We ate lunch there and Mom and I split a nalesniki with strawberry jam, which was really good!

And of course, we got some ice cream as always.

We arrived in Warsaw at about 5:30 p.m. and had an hour to get ready for dinner. Last time we were in Warsaw Mom and I saw some candy at the mall we wanted to get and bring home. We didn’t want it to go stale so we figured we’d just stop by and get it when we came back at the end of our tour.

Unfortunately, when we got back, we realized we had very little time to go get the candy and if we wanted to do it, we’d have to rush before dinner and do it.

Oh, and did I mention it was pouring rain outside too?

Oh yeah. And the mall is over a mile away through the city streets.

With no other option, Mom and I got dressed nicely for dinner, grabbed our umbrellas, and headed out to get some candy. We got lost on the way there, but didn’t get all that turned around.

While we were buying our candy, a teenage girl in front of us seemed to be having trouble with the money. She was speaking English and the cashier was saying, “I don’t know English.”

Figuring this was my time to shine and save the day, I asked her if she needed help and she graciously told me she couldn’t really figure out how the currency and exchange rate worked in Poland. Being a pro at zlote (Polish currency) by now, I gladly helped her figure everything out.

We got our candy and headed back out, going the other way around to our hotel because it’s quicker. Having only gone that way one other time two weeks ago, we really didn’t know what we were doing and at that point we had about 15 minutes before our bus was leaving for dinner.

I ended up being the one holding and reading the map because mom couldn’t read the tiny print. There was mistake number one; giving the teenage girl that doesn’t know which way is up the map instead of the surveyor. Just think about that one for a bit.

We (really me because Mom was just going in the direction I told her to) figured out the general direction in which we were headed and which street our hotel was on. With a little help from strangers and a whole lot of running with a purpose, we made it back to the bus 10 minutes late, but thank God, it hadn’t left us yet.

We climbed onto the bus soaking wet and panting like dogs from all running (in our nice dinner clothes too).

*Fun fact about our bus rides on the trip* While traveling through Poland, we would sometimes be five hours long, so to be comfortable, I would always lay down across the seats in the back row of the bus – most of the time with my legs sticking up in the air. When Marta would take attendance, she would say, “Ciemniecki clan? I see legs is back there.” That was my nickname the whole trip: legs.

Dinner was Polish food (naturally), so I ordered pierogis with cheese in them this time, but they weren’t fried at all like I like them to be and there were onions in it so I just ate a lot of bread (no butter because they only had herb butter) and an apple pie sort of thing for dessert.

We had a toast at dinner for our wonderful trip and the “Ciemniecki Clan” sang Sto Lat forthe group (which no one else knows, oddly enough).

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Boarding the bus for the last time – Delilah the pillow pet in tow

We all said our goodbyes once we got back to the hotel. We will especially miss our tour guide, Marta.

If you ever book a tour through Collette Vacations, request Marta as your tour guide because we couldn’t have asked for anyone better.

We get up tomorrow at 7:30 and leave for our 1 o’clock flight at 9:30. As much fun as I had, I really can’t wait to get home.

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