I woke up in a daze, I couldn’t wait!
Throughout my trip, I checked local venues for rocks shows. I also checked out many of my favorite band’s tour dates to see if I could see a show. Finally towards the end of my EU trip, things aligned.
Mastodon was playing tonight in Warsaw! That was pretty much the thing that took me to Warsaw.
I’d seen them before so it was going to be extra cool to see them in a foreign country.
I tried to buy an advance ticket but it was a little complicated. Or maybe I just didn’t want to do it their way.
The venue wanted me to go to a bank, give them cash and to deposit it to this account #. At least all the money was going to the venue, bands. No 3rd party ticket guys.
I spent the morning at a local coffee shop, where I stared at the ways to drink coffee chart: flat white, espresso, cappuccino, and so on.
Since this was a coffee shop, they had free wi-fi so I took advantage by listening to some Mastodon.
While I did like their newest record, on this trip I really got into their cover of a Fiest song, A Commotion. Very intriguing vocals, crunchy guitar tones, nice solo. Well that describes most Mastodon’s songs haha.
What to do with the day? Old town stroll then a nice meal before the show. I decided after my 2nd cup of coffee with a little milk. Americano with milk this time, but sometimes a flat white.
I wanted to go back to have more time to really look at the mermaid and walk around the bell for good luck.
My walking tour group scrambled a bit due to a wedding that was going on at a church across the courtyard on this part of our tour.
Since there was a lot of us, we were getting into their wedding pics.
Here goes nothing! I circled the bell 3x and repeated my wish into my head.
There is a large plaza in old town, filled with performers. I stopped by a large marionette band playing ‘Can’t Get No Satisfaction’ by the Stones.
The puppets just when up and down in time with the tune, it looked hard as it was 2 puppet masters, but 5 Stones for both to puppet.
It’s been my experience that cities with mermaid statutes aren’t worth it, they are underwhelmingly small.
Maybe I just expect a huge mermaid statute, not like doll sized. Like everyone I’d seen was the size of a Cabbage Patch doll size statue where you think, “Man, I could hold that mermaid!”
There was also a section on the road to old town of WWII memorials mixed in with blown up photos of battles, marches, and other scenes of war.
Warsaw had taken a beating several times. Always the case when Russia is next door.
I stopped off at my hostel to shower up before the big show.
I left very early for the show as I planned on dinner plus train to get there. I still had to buy a ticket and wanted to see the other bands.
Through my searches I found a burger, beer joint that was based on an auto garage.
On my trip I had done well to limit my french fry intake both for my health and wallet. I had to face the fact that I was getting older so burger and fries shouldn’t be a meal.
This place took me by surprise as it was a reasonably priced I presumed fries would be more, served separate. Nope, 1 price for burger, fries and pickles that was the equivalent price of just a burger back home.
I really went all out with a bacon, jalapeno w fried egg on top. This place had about 12 burger and topping selections.
It was so good! Multi napkin good and juicy.
Now I was ready for the show, but less enthused about negotiating the tram routes.
I called for an Uber and waited along a busy road until a car arrived. Driver spoke English too, said it was taught in Polish schools.
We talked as we made a few turns, the entire time we followed the tram tracks. Seems it would’ve been way easy to tram it. I just figured it was too far and would require a couple routes.
I arrived at around the door open time posted on the website. I saw a line and duly filed in it.
Everyone already had tickets so I searched how to say ticket in Polish. It is bilet, similar to Spanish billete. Isn’t that something?
My turn came and I held up a zloty note, “Bilet, proszę?” I inquired.
I was directed to a separate lady who took my note and gave me a ticket. I was in!
Just follow the crowd to the stage was the plan when you’re in a new venue. Up some stairs when we stop for several minutes.
Even in August, you need long sleeves or a light jacket here, so we waited for coat check. I had my long sleeved shirt with another long sleeve shirt under it so I continued up the stairs.
The 1st of 3 bands was on stage. I cannot recall their name, I just remember they had a pretty skinny, pale bassist with floppy hair, his bass slung low.
The 2nd band was pretty good. They were Steak Number Eight. Really groovy metal plus they looked like regular guys in jeans. I tend to prefer that vs. the face painted metal I expected to see this close to Scandinavia.
Soon it was time for Mastodon. It was now really hot due to no ac and a lot of people so I went down to 1 shirt. Smoking was outside too which is always appreciated in Europe.
They played great! A similar set to when I’d seen them on the same tour several months ago in the US but they added/subtracted songs.
I was stoked when about 3/4 of the way through the show the bassist said they were done with this tour and were going to go home, celebrate the holidays, then record a new record.
“We will see you back here in a few months.” he said before they tore into another tune!
Like a flash of lightening, they were done, playing a Thin Lizzy tune as their closer. Bad ass dueling guitar solos ensued!
I slowly wound my way via long line down the stairs, passed the coat check and bar, then out to the street.
It was lightly sprinkling again so I again selected the Uber option. It was shockingly affordable.
My ride a few mile cost about 5$. I figured since it was still early, I may as well have a pint at the beer hall, PiwPaw, I’d been to a couple night before.
My Uber driver this time wasn’t into talking so I just sat and watched the city pass by while it drizzled rain.
A few more people were out tonight plus I was able to talk to the bartender a bit. He enjoyed Warsaw, said people here were friendly, and loved the food.
We were only able to talk for a few moments in between customers needing a beer or bag of crisps.
It was soon late and I had a flight in the afternoon.
American’s get 90d in the EU, or Schengen Area which consists of 26 countries, without a visa, I was very close to that timeframe at this point.
I wasn’t sure how or if Poland would perform a detailed account of my time in the EU considering I’d spent a week in the UK, a few days in Andorra, which technically isn’t in the EU.
My math put me around 80 days so I was tempted to fly to Amsterdam, one of my fav places in the world.
I figured it best to get out vs. trying to argue and count days with someone who speaks a different language. Especially considering my previous policja experience.
The penalty was lifetime travel ban to EU countries if you over stayed your alloted time.
I walked a bit slower on my way back to my hostel. This was it, last moments in country.
I paused at the cathedral that housed Chopin’s heart. What music he made! What a story how his lone body part returned to the country that inspired his work.
So much history I’d experience on my trip. Lots of pics in history books that I saw in person.
I’d done some research and had determined that one of the most reasonable airfare out of the EU was to Edinburgh, Scotland.
Plus, my British friend had said August is a good time to go there as there was some sort of festival going on. Little did I know how much fun it would be.
My trip had taken another turn…one for the better. I needed to be near the UK in a couple weeks. I was going to meet someone there special soon.
Beer: Mustache Ryeder
Song: Mastodon A Commotion