Started off with a relaxed breakfast at 9am today, my first job was to go to the local bike shop and try to get a new screw for my speedometer, some sports rehydration and some chamois cream. There were directions on the board left for us by the tour guides to the nearest bike shop which was a Scott’s bike store( for those non cyclists, this is a well known brand of bike) so we set off with good expectations. It is really hot outside and we have been deserted at the moment by our training friend the wind.
We got to the bike store:
No luck with the screw
No luck with the sports rehydration
No luck with chamois cream.
But at least we got advice to go to a chemist (or apeka) as they are known here. The cream for babies for nappy rash is almost exactly the same as chamois cream. We went to the chemist and tried to explain what I wanted, the chemist insisted he could speak English. Well certainly he could speak better English than my Polish but… I tried to explain that we wanted it for a baby for the bottom rash, tried friction, tried showing rubbing by hands together and with cream. “Ah!” said the chemist, “No you should not use cream for the friction you could slip”.
Hm I thought not quite sure he has understood me, reinforced a moment later by “No no, to stop the friction you should wear gloves, then no friction and no slip”. I thanked him most sincerely, got out of the shop and had a wee chuckle. We bumped in Gareth who asked what we were laughing about and we told him and he said maybe a certain someone else on the trip could go in and mime. That person is well known for standing up in the middle of us and wriggling around inside his shorts applying cream. Yes I said that could be right, or he could be arrested for an obscene act in public!
We tried at the next store and there was a tube of cream with a baby on it so I was feeling quite hopeful, however the store keeper did not speak English. The tube was also next to stuff like toothpaste and denture care, I certainly did not want to find I had been carefully applying baby toothpaste to my bottom! (I guess I would have got a ring of confidence in a whole new way). So I lurked around the shop for a couple of minutes pouncing on the new customers asking them if they spoke English. One lady did a little and confirmed that yes this was the cream for the baby bottom (she did not add that really I also needed a baby, she probably assumed I was a slightly mad grandmother). The store keeper who had been frowning at me was delighted to be getting me out of his shop, and suddenly was all smiles!
There was a rumor going through the tour riders that there was a Laundromat in the old town but no one was sure exactly who had discovered this or the exact directions, so given it is so hot and yesterday’s exercise in futility Walli decided to do what I had done and do it in her room. Unfortunately Walli had no clothes line and I was using mine. I set off to the local store to get cold water. The hotel water is warm not matter how long you run the tap and they charge 8 Lats for a bottle, it’s only 1.40 lat at the store out of the fridge, plus I was still on the drink supplement hunt and had used my last yesterday. While I was there I thought I would try and find a line or at least some string for Walli. Well. That was also funny, there were a couple of very helpful young ladies but with very limited English (but once again better than my Polish, which is limited to hi and thank you) so I tried miming long and thin
“So like you eat?”
“No no like that long, this long” then tried miming pegging (charades has never been a strong point of mine)
* Puzzled look *
So I tried wrapping like a parcel
The girl with the puzzled looks called another young lady over to help
I tied the present, and mimed opening and retying
“Ah” said the new young lady, and beckoned to me to follow, so off we go across the shop and there was gift wrapping ribbon. Well this was exactly what I had asked for really, so I said thank you and bought the bright multi colour ribbon. Walli now has gift ribbon with clothes on strung about her room, but hey it works! And if she should happen to need to wrap a present, well the ribbon is already sorted.
I also had success in the sports rehydration supplements, in the tablet form which I prefer. I like this as it does not have sugar, and it’s easy to carry, and easy to break each capsule in half. Thankfully I came across these quite by chance when looking for string as can’t even begin to imagine what I would have come up with asking for them!
To note there are now snap lock bags at every shop and I have to stop myself some buying some just in case.
Due to the very hot weather and that this is a rest day, once again I am not rushing around madly sightseeing. Walli and I have booked a site seeing tour this afternoon which is 3 hours in an air-conditioned bus and will be taking us to the main sites:
1. The Old Town which is listed on the UNESCO world heritage site list
2. The Royal Castle (home of the monarchs 1596 to 1795 and previous residence of the polish president )
3. St John Cathedral
4. Barbican (Old market square and barbican)
5. Umschlagplatz, the memorial built on the place where the Jews in Warsaw ghetto had to assemble to board the trains which took them to the death camp at Treblinks, beginning July 1942
6. The royal route, royal and aristocratic residences and famous monuments including an urn containing the heart of Fryderyk Chopin
7. The royal park known as the baths and a visit to the place on water
8. The tomb of the unknown solider
9. Praha district was formally independent and became part of Warsaw in the 18th century.
After that I will be looking for a cold beer.