Today I rode 37.4 km. (23.2 miles.) That's because the Kazakh embassy is way the hell out on the eastern edge of Warsaw. I think they want to be close to Kazakhstan. I also walked 5 km, (3.1 miles) and 2.1 km was with all my stuff on my back. (I switched to a different hostel)... 50 lbs if it was an ounce.
I ate a banana for breakfast, a falafel sandwich for lunch and a plate of vegetables and rice for dinner. I'd better be losing some damn weight. I do plan to have a couple of drinks this evening, but seriously, come on, I've earned 'em.
I didn't take my meds last night so that I would wake up early and, after a fitful night of unsettling dreams, I did. I got out the door at 8:00,and finally found a print shop where I was able to make my simple needs understood and, clutching my documents at last, I then grabbed a rental bike in Plac Konstytucji, pumped that bike hard, and made short work of the 10 km to the Kazakh embassy, arriving well before it opened at 9:00... to find ten people already there ahead of me, lined up and waiting.
Time seemed to have stopped. There's something about the neighborhoods where they put embassies... they're always deathly quiet and kind of eerily bland. I noticed the clouds drifting by against the tops of the buildings. People shift about uneasily like kids waiting outside the principal's office. When you're dealing with an embassy, you will do well to adopt the patience of a Zen monk, because there is absolutely nothing you can do to expedite things. You will do what they tell you to do, when they tell you to do it, or it will only take longer.
Fortunately, I only had to wait on the sidewalk about an hour. The first person I dealt with spoke no English, but did finally manage to print out a visa application form in Russian and English. Luckily, a fellow passed through who spoke some English, and he got me the rest of the way along in the process.
So get a load of this. I filled in the form as well as I could; he seemed to think it passed muster. Then he gave me some rather complicated instructions for making a payment of €145 to their bank. No, you can't actually give them the money, you have to go to their bank and deposit it, and it has to be in Euros. Then I am to come back in a week and get my visa. Oh, and in the meantime? They have to keep my passport. Whuh? Seriously unnerving. It also means I can't travel out of Poland this week, while Robert is here. I protested. He insisted. Okaaaayyy... but I don't like it.
So I managed to get some zlotys changed to Euros, but I didn't make it to their bank before closing time today. I'll go tomorrow. I'm wondering if I have to go to the address he gave me, or if I can go to any branch, because the address is of course 10 km from my hostel. I mean, another 20 km bike ride can only be good for me, but I'd rather not unless it's really necessary. I think it's safe to say that calling them to ask is out of the question. There is zero possibility that I will get someone on the line who can understand and answer my question in the strange and obscure language which my people insist on speaking.
But it's progress. A traveler must be patient. It's something I'm actually good at, since it consists in not doing anything. I know how to do that when it's called for. Sometimes even when it's not.