I guess that when someone hears of Eastern Europe always thinks about Soviet Union, communism and a strong urban decandency but this part of Europe is not only this. I decided to visit Poland not for a specific reason but just because the flight was not expensive and the photos of Warsaw made me really curious about this city. I visited this surprising country with my father and my cousins this april when we had days off on Easter. We stayed in Warsaw for 5 days so we did not have much time to visit the other Polish cities. Our plane landed in Modlin Airport which is like 30 minutes far away from Warsaw city centre. Nevertheless you can easily find a shuttle that brings you directly in the city centre, just in front of the Palace of Culture and Science and does not even cost much, more or less 19 Zloty round trip but as always, if you book in advance online, you will get surely a better price than buying the ticket on board. You can also use a taxi but it will cost more anyway.
Some Information About Poland and its Capital Warsaw
Poland is a country located in Eastern Europe which borders with Germany on the west, with Czech Republic and Slovakia in the south and with Ukraine, Russia, Belarus and Lithuania on the east. Poland had a very difficult history,polish people have always fought for their fatherland as it happened during the Second World War when they were conquered by Germans and after that, controlled by Russians. Polish people are very fond of religion, the majority of them are Roman Catholic as it is witnessed by the massive presence of churches throughout the country but you can also find some Orthodox churches, as mark of the russian influence, maybe.
Poland has joined the European Union but since their economy is still a bit weak, they have not adopted euro yet and they use the Zloty (PLN) which is subdivided into 100 Groszy. Warsaw, Poland’s capital, has been completely destroyed during the Second World War by the bombs but perfectly reconstructed in the following years. The city is divided into two parts: the modern part dominated by the sight of skyscrapers and the old part where you can see the typical colorful houses. Then the city grew bigger and bigger and the nearby Praha district has been incorporated into the urban pattern.
What To See in Warsaw:
Pałac Kultury i Nauki
One of the most known Warsaw’s landmarks is the Palace of Culture and Science (Pałac Kultury i Nauki) which is located in the modern part of the city. It was a gift from Soviet Union as friendship’s symbol. It has been contructed following Soviet plans using only Soviet workers. Now it is used as office complex and it contains a cinema, 4 theatres and two museums. When Poland managed to get rid of Russian control, Varsavians argued whether to remove this building or keep it because it was considered a symbol of Soviet Union, a period of souffrance for Poles. At the end they decided to keep it as a souvenir of the struggles Poles had to go through to get their deserved indipendence.
You can also go to the top of the building paying a small amount of Zloty. You have a nice view over there and there is a small coffee shop where we had a cup of hot chocolate. It was so cold outside, it made me come back alive again xD The view is pretty good but you just see the modern part of the city, the old town is too much far away to be seen from here!
Of course a must in Warsaw is to visit the charming old town which was totally destroyed during the WWII. The main point of interest is the Rynek Starego Miasta (Old Town Market Place), the true of heart of the city. It originated in the 13th century at the same time the city was founded but completely blown up by Germans during the WWII. On this square you can find the fountain of the Mermaid, the symbol of Warsaw, beautiful colorful houses, many nice restaurants and the post office.
Other old town’s features to see are the city walls and St. John’s Archcathedral (Archikatedra św. Jana w Warszawie) which was a battle field between Poles and Germans during the WWII and as consequence completely destroyed by an explosion. The alleyways of the old town are also a must, they are so cute and colorful! I would have really enjoyed walking around if it was not for the unbearable cold :/
Castle Square, my favourite place in Warsaw where you have a great view over the old town. On the square there is the Royal Castle (Zamek Królewski w Warszawie) which was used as residency by the Polish Monarchs throughout the centuries and now serves as a museum. One of the most famous Warsaw
‘s landmarks along with Royal Castle, is the Sigismund’s Column (Kolumna Zygmunta) built to celebrate the capital’s changement from Krakow to Warsaw in the XVII century. An advise from the deep of my heart to you all: please try Polish cuisine which is surprisingly rich and very good *^* There are a lot ofPolish traditional restaurants in the old town, go to one that offers Pierogi in the menu, one of the best food I have ever tasted 😀
To be continued…