We arrived in Warsaw on Monday morning after a 12 hour train ride, which was surprisingly not too bad. Everybody slept well and was ready to face a whole week of climate negotiations. We dropped off our bags at the hostel, which looked really nice, and went straight to the stadium where the conference is taking place. For those of you who have no idea what it looks like, it is the big red stadium where the semi finals of the European football championships took place. Standing in front of the building I felt really small, but there were very few people outside. We went inside to register and there were still no people. It was strange but the building felt even bigger from the inside then from the outside. Once we had a map of the building we went to explore. We looked at all the side event booths. And gathered information about the Youngo meetings and other activities that were going on.
Around three we went back to the hostel. The whole city was full of Polish flags, because November 11 is their national holiday. And apparently it is a tradition that the people of Warsaw have a huge protest in the middle of the city center. So when we took the tram around 11 a.m. everything was still very calm, but now there were a lot of angry Polish people on the streets and we couldn’t go back with the tram. So we took the bus and had to walk for a while. They were protesting but it was very calm. It took us a while to get through, but we made it out alive.
In the evening there was the official opening ceremony in the library off the university. It was the perfect opportunity to meet people. The atmosphere was very relaxed and there was a live band. We met lots of other students from across the world, and made new contacts who could show us around, for example the head of the Belgian UN youth delegation on climate. It was a very interesting first day, with many impressions and nice people. I was very happy to go to sleep though, cause the alarm the next morning would ring at 06.30.