Warsaw has some lovely cobblestone streets. The word “cobblestone” comes from the very old English word “cob”, which meant (among other things) “big rounded lump.” Someone added the prefix “le” to “cob”, transforming the meaning from “big rounded lump” to “smallish rounded lump” and then added “stone.”
That’s all very interesting, but that’s not the most important thing about cobblestones. The most important thing is this: cobblestone streets are much less charming when you are dragging your wheeled suitcase over these rounded lumps while wrestling with an umbrella.
We learned this when we took a night flight from San Francisco to Warsaw and landed in the rain. We took a taxi to our hotel, which was on one of those lovely cobblestone streets. And so we learned that cobblestones in the rain are annoying.
This is the sort of information a writer can really use. Next time I write a scene in some fantasy environment — like a dreadfully picturesque village with ponies and peasants and that sort of thing — I will have a deep understanding of those cobblestones. If I have a character running down a cobblestone street I will be very careful lest she or he turn an ankle.
So we dragged our suitcases over the cobblestones until we found our guesthouse. This process involved climbing up 131 stone steps to the keeper of the keys at the New World Hostel at #27 Nowy Swiat. Then climbing down 131 stone steps and trudging across the cobblestones while dragging the suitcases and then climbing 60 more stone steps, lugging the suitcases up each one. But who’s counting?
At last we reached our guesthouse and the cobblestones regained their charm and even the steps seemed rather quaint. Until the next morning, when it was time to repeat the process in reverse.
What next? Make your choice:
Option one: During the night, I considered the problem of the suitcases and the stairs at length and arrived at a solution. Using our umbrellas, I constructed a parachute of sorts, lashed the suitcases to this contraption, and hurled them out the window. They floated to a safe landing. We hurried down the stairs, grabbed our suitcases, and caught a cab to the Central Train Station.
Option two: In the morning, rejuvenated by a good sleep, we lugged our suitcases down the stairs and caught a cab to the Central Train Station.