“Yes, you will be fine – just leave it here !….”
I just couldn’t believe it – having driven over 400 miles from the Baltic Sea around the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad and through the rolling countryside in the East of Poland , I had found a free parking space right in the centre of Warsaw.
Robert, my host for tonight couldn’t have been more accommodating – I nearly had to fight him to be allowed to carry my own luggage upstairs to his beautiful flat in one of the city’s historical buildings, which featured high ceilings, no lift but a spacious staircase with wrought iron banisters and a great view directly on to the famous Swietokrzyski Bridge.
Magdalena Krainska – Robert’s partner – is one of Europe’s finest veterinary nephrologists and I had only met her a couple of times – for all together not more than 15 minutes – at the annual Polish Veterinary Congress in Lodz.
However, it turned out that both Magdalena and I are enjoying to work from time to time in Sweden and a regular dialogue ensued, which also included the occasional emergency call from me whenever one of my kidney failure patients required some external specialist input.
Despite the paucity of a long mutual history, Magdalena had invited me and both she and Robert looked after me as you would after an old friend.
Within minutes – while Magdalena was still working – I was installed in my own bedroom, Mia had made her acquaintance with Ella, the equally hospitable residential English Bulldog, my dirty clothes enjoyed the undeniable advantages of a well functioning washing machine and tumble dryer (something that is highly appreciated by all long distance travellers….) and Robert and I were sitting in the kitchen while a warm pasta dish was already on the oven.
After a short while Magdalena arrived and the evening was spend with stories about working in the North, about traveling in Central America and about our life as vets in the 21st century.
With other words – there was a lot to talk about and while Mia had agreed with Ella that her longer legs made it much easier for her to get on to (and to stay on) the canine sofa,
we enjoyed an unforgettable evening with good food and a few bottles of wine……
When I woke the next morning, my head was still spinning and I realised that for the first time on this trip I had a hangover !…..
With a bit of an effort I remembered a bottle of Tequila Robert had produced while we were getting lost in our memories of beautiful sites in Mexico and Guatemala.
The rather large shot mugs they had brought home from their travels hadn’t helped either…….
The best way to wear it off was a long walk through the vibrant and beautifully restored city center of Warsaw where the eye catching architecture of the city’s central library is competing with the traditional buildings of the Old Town Market Place
and where famous church leaders are remembered just a stone throw away from one of history’s most famous scientists.
It was not easy to say goodbye to my friends and to this city, but the time had arrived to finally close the circle and to return home from another great veterinary adventure…..