For nearly the whole of the six days I spent in Warsaw, a cold, wet blanket was wrapped around the city. Each night, a damp fog obscured the tops of the skyscrapers near the railway station, casting an eerie glow over the city. The weather has been terrible for much of my time in Europe, but while in Germany the cold had a sort of crisp efficiency to it, in Poland, it has been messy and obfuscating. In Germany, I zipped around the country, my reporting carried out with frightening punctuality. In Poland, the going has been much rougher.
One after another, the stories I intended to pursue have fallen through, or wound up not being stories at all. After three weeks on the road, I have to admit the possibility that it’s me — too little sleep, too many nights in strange hotel rooms, a certain fatigue beginning to set in. And I know it’s dangerous, if not lazy, to traffic in crude stereotypes. But after weeks in which I’ve barely seen the sun (except for the few hours I spent in transit above the clouds), it’s hard to resist.
In a few hours, I’m off for Copenhagen where I’ll follow the trail of Polish Jewry to one the refuges it found amid the turmoil of the Communist era. It has been 40 years since Polish refugees began arriving in Denmark, which like other Scandinavian communities has been sustained by a steady flow of immigrants from the East. Last month, the Jewish museum in Copenhagen had a special exhibit to mark the occasion and I’m scheduled to meet with the museum director as well as several emigrants who found a safe haven in the city.
In the meantime, I have to find my way back to my hotel, and then the airport, without getting soaked.