Saturday : Seeing the President of the United States and a Vibrant Ibis Styles Hotel Room

My final day in the Ibis Budget Warsaw Centrum and I took a better photo of the breakfast as I was down earlier on before the crowds appeared.

Ibis Budget has a younger audience as it’s cheap and cheerful, but that coincides with my travel budget. It’s all clean and comfortable, I find everything reliable and decent value in this chain.

I mentioned yesterday that I had to buy a glass at the Warsaw Beer Festival. Usually I’d try and traipse this around back home, but common sense prevailed on this occasion. The thought of trying to carry an unbranded glass around for several days, including on a flight back, didn’t really seem worth it. I have plenty of glasses, I didn’t need this one and so I kindly donated it to the Ibis Budget hotel as one of my charitable efforts. Now, if it had been a branded Warsaw Beer Festival glass I might have reconsidered.

This is part of the “one million trees for Warsaw” project and I’ve seen it in many places across the city. It’s a really lovely idea, adding more greenery makes for a much more liveable city. I haven’t seen any trees in the city damaged, unlike the ones wrecked in Lowestoft within a couple of days of planting.

There’s a lot of this sort of thing around Warsaw at the moment, Putin is not perhaps the most popular of people to say (write) the least.

The lampshade type decoration at Park Kazimierzowski.

I was going to have a little random meander around Warsaw and then I noticed the number of police everywhere, there were literally hundreds lining the streets. It was evident that this was for Joe Biden’s visit to the city, but I didn’t know exactly when or where in Warsaw it would be. I found a McDonald’s (that was handy) near to the route and I got a seat by the window, getting on with productive work and also eating my little snack. About 90 minutes later the Presidential cavalcade went by and it was quite a thing to watch. However, I didn’t get any photos given my location and I was quite motivated by all this power sweeping by.

Slightly disappointed that my location hadn’t allowed me to take any photos, I noticed that the police weren’t disappearing, so that meant the President was on his way somewhere and not on his way back. I found a policeman to ask and he told me that the President of the United States was with the Polish leaders at the Presidential Palace, which is where I headed.

I was standing here for 90 minutes, partly watching the live Youtuber (or whatever social media) visible with his equipment in this photo. It wasn’t the warmest I have to say and I probably could have timed this better. However, it’s one of those creeping things, as by the time I had waited for thirty minutes it would have felt wrong to leave as I might have just missed it. Then I thought similar things after an hour…. By that time, I knew I was going to be waiting this out.

There was a decent turnout of people waiting to see the President and I could see the excitement that children had, because there was some tension in the air about proceedings. The police cars lining up, the secret service agents walking up and down to check the crowds, the American voices I could hear on the radios, it was a dramatic scene. I suspect kids would have soon got bored of all the waiting, but hopefully they’ll remember the day that they saw the President of the United States for many years to come.

For anyone interested, there’s a list on Wikipedia of US Presidential visits to Poland, with Ronald Reagan being the last President not to visit the country. This was a very different Poland though when he was President of the United States, and he did visit the country in 1990, shortly after he had left the White House.  Reagan is also revered by very many people in Poland, his statue is in Warsaw, he has a park named after him in Gdansk and there are many other tributes to him around the country.

And here we are, my little video that I’ve put on YouTube given its large size. Yes, this is an excessive use of vehicles by the Leader of the Free World, but it is quite exciting to watch, it’s something that I’ve wanted to see before. I didn’t expect for that experience to be in Warsaw, I thought it might be in the United States, but it’s another thing I wanted to see ticked off…. All credit to those police officers, they had been standing there for longer than I had been, and they were clearly not allowed to turn around to watch proceedings.

The Solidarity Monument in Warsaw and I was puzzled how I hadn’t see this before, or at least, I don’t recall seeing it. It transpires that it was unveiled only last year and it was designed by Jerzy Janiszewski, showing freedom breaking through the Berlin Wall. Just looping back a little to my earlier comment, Ronald Reagan gave great support to Solidarity, and in 2011 Lech Wałęsa unveiled the statue to the former President of the United States.

Anyway, back to my accommodation arrangements. I changed hotel and was in the Ibis Styles Warsaw Centrum again, one of my favourite hotels (although they forgot my welcome gift this time which they’ve never done before, but I won’t go on about that, it’s a bit of a first world issue….) The rooms are the usual vibrant colours, it’s a design that I actually like, but I know some others don’t.

There we go, what a lovely place to sleep, it’s hard not to consider that a brightly decorated room. Spotlessly clean as usual, it’s always a delight to be back in this hotel, it just feels a relaxing place. For anyone who wants to stay at the hotel, here’s more information.

And that was primarily that for Sunday, still feeling slightly jaded I took the time to have a little rest and catch up on numerous productive work things. My room was above the entrance to the hotel, so I quite liked the slight hustle and bustle that was going on below, I don’t like sterile rooms where the outside world is entirely shut out. I had wondered if the day would produce anything particularly exciting, but I think seeing the President of the United States wasn’t a bad achievement for a Saturday.