Pałac w Wilanowie
The Wilanow Palace is one of the attractions in Poland I liked the most but it is located on the outskirts and there are no metro stations nearby. I later discovered you can simply use a bus to arrive there, it leaves you just in front of the beautiful manor. This palace was spared by the German bombardments before and during the WWII so it is one of the fewest original monuments in Poland which has not been rebuilt.
The Palace was built for the Polish King Sobieski, for this reason you can find many items which belonged to Sobieski family as well as symbols which glorify its lineage. It is built in baroque style combined with the architecture of old Polish palaces. It hosts a very interesting museum which is very cheap, just 20 PLN for regular ticket and 15 PLN for discount ticket but the entrance is free on friday, if I remember well. When I went there I did not pay anything :,)
We spent actually 4 days in Warsaw because during our stay, I wanted to go to another city in Poland to explore more Polish culture. At first I wanted to go to Gdansk badly but then I made up my mind because it was too much far away from Warsaw as the trip would have last something like 5 hours. I checked the map to see the closest city I could have visited and I opted for Łódź.
How to Reach Łódź
I was searching on internet for a cheap way to move around in Poland without using trains as they are always crazily expensive and I found out this bus company called Polski Bus with affordable prices. The main station of Polski Bus in Warsaw is a bit out-of-the-way, on the outskirts of the city but you can just take the metro and there is a stop in front of it whose name is Mlociny. The trip last something like 2.30 hours; the highways were totally deserted, no cars around and there were such huge fields with no houses. Once arrived, I expected a totally different city, to be honest! It was everything under construction, it looked more like a soviet city: abandoned houses and building sites everywhere. After walking for a while we encountered two beautiful churches that I really liked and there it was lively: there were people going back and forth! It was Easter and they were going to celebrate in the church with relatives and all of them had a pretty basket full of flowers and painted eggs.
Some Information About Łódź
Łódź is a city located just some hours away from the capital and the third largest city in Poland. It is the seat to many prestigious universities, among them, the film school. It is also a very important industrial centre for Poland, for this reason it gained the surname of Polish Manchester but now it seems it is going through a period of decadence after the great growth known during socialist era.
What to See in Łódź:
St. Stanisław Kostka Cathedral and St. John Lutheran Church
I had no clue about what I could expect from Lodz, I just chose to visit the city due to its proximity to Warsaw. I had previously planned to go to Gdansk or Krakow but both of them were really too distant so I opted for this city. As I said, the first impression that I had of the city was quite bad as everything was under construction and it seemed to be an industrial city, very soviet-like.
Although my opinion swifted a bit when I came across two really beautiful churches when navigatign the town centre. The Stanislaw Church, the light yellow one, was very lively: a lot of Poles were gathering there to celebrate Easter bringing cute baskets containing eggs to the church. The other church seemed to be left out because there was nobody around but the architecture was even more beautiful than the other one.
Piotrkowska is the main street in the city and one of the longest commercial street in Europe, almost 5 km…I, indeed, could not see it whole, just a little part. When I came here, the shops were all closed because it was sunday therefore I could not enjoy the true atmosphere of the city but the architecture was really nice.
When the city was founded, it was just a short line but then grew bigger and bigger as the city developed. Now on this street you find restaurants, pubs, shops etc for this reason it is the city’s heart, it is even known as “Łódź Walk of Fame” for its star signs, similar to the those in Hollywood, you can find on the ground.
After the first horrible impression I had of this city, after visiting the churches and the charming Piotrkowska Street, my opinion towards the city changed…and then I came here on sunday so I could not enjoy the real atmosphere that this city can offer. I am sure that during the week Lodz comes alive and is very crowded.
Some curiosities about Poland
The cost of life in Poland is really low compared to the other European countries, with just a small amount of Zloty, you can eat in a luxury restaurant. Poles do not speak English that much, especially the old people, but they are very kind and always try to help you!
I remember, I learnt some useful Polish words before visiting the country and to communicate with others I used them and…of course I gesticulated a lot ahah xD Anyway in the restaurants every waiter can speak, at least, some English and have always the menu in English 😉 And please, try Polish cuisine because it is surprisingly tasty!