Europe 2010:
Day 8 - Poland


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Europe 2010: [Day 1 - Luxembourg] [Day 2 - Germany] [Day 3 - Switzerland] [Day 4 - Liechtenstein] [Day 5 - Austria] [Day 6 - Germany] [Day 7 - Czech Republic] [Day 8 - Poland] [Day 9 - Netherlands] [Day 10 - Belgium] [Day 11 - England]

Friday, July 2, 2010: We had a tasty buffet breakfast at the Novotel and headed out of town. But not before making one final stop ...
... at Czech IKEA!
We just popped in to see if the merchandise was any different. It is identical with one notable exception: they sell liquor. Rows and rows of liquor: Swedish vodka, Swedish beer, and Swedish Elch Blut, an alcoholic drink featuring lingonberry juice ...
... and the cutest little moosehead tops you've ever seen. The two we bought came along for a ride in our rental car.
Tom was happy to find Swedish fish as usual.
The Czech countryside between Prague in the center and the Polish border in the north east consists mostly of small towns, farms, and pretty rolling hills.
Occasionally, we'd hit a small city.
Here's one.
The landscape became quite a bit steeper as we approached the Polish border.
Lots of gorgeous hills with small towns dotting the road.
This was a resort area, judging by the signs advertising skiing and entertainment places like HappyWorld, just 200m to the right.
Poland! Our excitement about entering our 58th country was tempered by our fear when we were pulled over by the Polish border authorities just over this hill. Our Belgian rental car license plates and photocopied registration distressed the guards as much as they had distressed the Swiss police a few days earlier, except this time, we had no common language in which to communicate. After holding on to our passports for 10 minutes and conferring among themselves, they decided to let us proceed.
Poland looked a lot like the Czech Republic.
We drove through more beautiful hills, following a stream that was popular with visitors who were cooling off in the water or playing on the rocks.
In no time, we reached our destination of Jelenia Góra.
In the city, we spotted the first Preem gas station we've ever seen outside of Sweden. We can't resist the adorable Preem logo.
Here's a beautifully-landscaped roundabout announcing the name of the town.
Here is a quick cross-section of the typical Polish look, featuring the classic magenta-haired matron, the white-blond Polish hottie, and dudes of various ages.
Here's a typical street.
Our hotel was the Palac Paulinum, located on large, wooded grounds just outside of the town.
Built in 1855 and renovated in 1905, the palace has been a hotel, restaurant, and spa since 2002.
It's a gorgeous building with a turret on one corner that provides round bedrooms for two of the suites.
The interior features rich wood paneling, an elegant wide staircase, and deep, deep quiet.
We had reserved a historical suite, and went up to the second floor to the Apartament Biedermeier.
The suite was exquisite. The living room was absolutely huge.
The large bathroom was tiled with marble.
The bedroom was amazing. This is the entrance to the circular room.
Yeah, baby, that's right. We got one of the suites with the round bedroom. It had lovely views of the woods and was beautifully decorated.
It also had a king size bed, which was a rarity on our trip.
Just when it can't get any better, here is the terrace.

The panorama application on Debbie's iPhone struggled with the light balance on this, but it gives you an idea of what the balcony looked like.

Here's the view looking down from the terrace to the right, ...
... looking straight out, ...
... looking down to the left, ...
... and looking up to the left.
We headed to the restaurant next because we were starving. It was yet another day of perfect weather, so we opted to eat out on the hotel terrace.
There was a patio not far away that we planned to visit later.

Our lunch was quite delicious. For starters, Debbie had the salmon and toast, and Tom had Polish sour soup with sausage.

Our entrees were chicken, mushroom, and broccoli penne pasta for Tom, and oven baked pancakes with spinach and white sauce for Debbie, plus Coca-Cola Light on ice, of course.

It was beautiful on the terrace, but we had one of our own, so we headed back to our room after lunch.
The hotel offered free wi-fi, but we were only able to get a connection on the terrace.
So we set up some chairs and a table on the terrace and enjoyed the afternoon.
Yes, we're nerds at heart, we admit it.
While Tom was on the balcony, Debbie snuck down to the reception desk to get the birthday cake she had ordered prior to our arrival.
Happy Birthday, Tom! We have a history of spending Tom's birthdays in foreign countries, including Russia and Greece.
The cake (made by Cukiernia Merkury, according to the bakery box) was chocolate with whipped cream and fresh fruit filling. It said "Happy Birthday" on the top in perfect English.
We enjoyed our cake out on the terrace and watched a plane towing a glider for the third or fourth time.
In the late afternoon, we went out to the hotel patio to enjoy some Polish beer, Żywiec, ...
... and the pretty countryside.
Next, we visited the hotel's salt cave.
Yes, you read that right. A salt cave. You're supposed to sit in it and breathe in the air and that is good for you somehow.
We don't know if it was good for us, but it was very soothing and unique.
Here's the ceiling of the cave.
Consisting of mostly blue lights, a red one would come on every 10 seconds or so and change the room vibe from cool blue ...
... to hot red.
On our way back to our suite, we passed the hotel's spa facilities, featuring physical therapy equipment, massage rooms, and a hot tub room.
We had our own tub, though, so Tom enjoyed a well-deserved birthday soak.

At bedtime, we slept soundly in our circular bedroom.

Day 9 >


Europe 2010: [Day 1 - Luxembourg] [Day 2 - Germany] [Day 3 - Switzerland] [Day 4 - Liechtenstein] [Day 5 - Austria] [Day 6 - Germany] [Day 7 - Czech Republic] [Day 8 - Poland] [Day 9 - Netherlands] [Day 10 - Belgium] [Day 11 - England]

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