Inside the beautifully reconstructed palace in Warsaw, you get to see a rather elderly Atlas holding up the world.. 

The Warsaw Uprising, at the end of WWII, was when the resistance in Warsaw tried to throw off the Germans
before the Russians arrived to occupy the city.  They were unsuccessful, ensuring Poland would be part of the Eastern
Block after the war.  This is a memorial for those brave souls. 

Old town Warsaw.  It is beautiful, but it's all a recreation.  Warsaw was more or less leveled during
World War II.  So, it's rather like walking around on a movie set: it all looks beautiful but it's not exactly as it
should be.  

Right near the hotel we stayed in was this Soviet-era building known locally (and not pleasantly)
as the "Russian Wedding Cake."  It was Stalin's gift to the Polish people.  Stalin also (approximately) that
introducing communism to the Poles was like trying to saddle a cow, so I'm not sure
how sincere this present really was.

Near Warsaw, there are a number of nice Palaces set on parkland and gardens.  One of them is the Palace Wilanow. 
This is the front fašade.

This is one of the gardens behind the palace.

Outside Warsaw, and quite near where we work, is the former concentration camp of Triblinka.
No buildings remain, but this moving memorial of a large centerpiece and a number of randomly shaped and sized stones
is in the area where the prisoners were housed - and killed.

This is a cute street from the town of Torun, a few hours from Warsaw.  It's best know for its most famous son...

Copernicus, the famous astronomer who developed laws of the motion of heavenly bodies.

Chopin is another favorite son of Poland.  He was born about an hour outside of Warsaw. 
This is a piano on display in his birth house.  There is probably an official name for it, but I call it a giraffe piano...

Some of the people we worked with volunteered to be our tour guides for a weekend trip to the south of Poland.
Our first stop was a Czestochowa, which has a spectacular and famous cathedral.  It has a famous painting called
"The Black Madonna" which I couldn't photograph.  So, instead, here's a picture of the interior of the cathedral.

The next stop was at an old castle called Ogrodzieniec.  I don't remember much about its history, but I
think it's a beautiful design, how the brick walls of the castle are built into the surrounding rocks.  More pictures below.

We then spent the night in Krakow.  Krakow, the beautiful university city, is a glorious place to walk around. 
The main square is huge, and is anchored by the two-towered St. Mary's church.

This is Wawel Castle, the home of the Polish rulers for hundreds of years.  The grounds are extremely eclectic, as different
parts of the castle were built at very different times.

Our final stop on this trip was in a salt mine near Krakow where the miners have spent many hours carving different sculptures
out of salt.  This chandelier, for example, is made of carved salt crystals.  Most of my pictures didn't turn out very well,
but I include these two to give you some idea of what it looked like.  Believe me, Pope John Paul II looked better in person.

It was a great trip.  Thank you to our friends from SCOR!