Last week, I was thrilled to accompany J on another of his trips for work. He goes to so many cool destinations; it is a dream come true for me to be able to travel with him to the fun ones. The clock is ticking on our expat lifestyle, and it would be crazy to pass up these travel opportunities!
This trip found us in Warsaw, the capital of Poland.
Business class was full on the way over, however in “steerage” (as J calls it), I scored a seat in an empty row and was able to put the armrests up and stretch out across 3 seats. Not too shabby! I was just happy to have made the flight. If you’ve ever traveled standby, you know what I mean…
We landed at the Warsaw Chopin Airport around 6:00AM. At Polska Kontrola Paszportowa, I impatiently waited in line while the travelers in front of me (one Asian woman and two black men) got absolutely grilled by border control agents. When it was my turn, I handed the agent my passport and waited for the 20 Questions game to ensue. Instead, the agent looked at my passport picture, looked at me, and promptly stamped my passport. No questions asked. I love my American passport!
Very tired from the night flight, and much too early to do anything anyway, we enjoyed a solid 5 hour nap at our business district hotel. When we awoke, we took a hotel cab to the Jewish Cemetery. Although the majority of Warsaw was destroyed in World War II, the Jewish Cemetery remains. Exploring the sacred grounds and reading the dates on a fraction of the 200,000+ tombstones was extremely humbling. I highly recommend all Warsaw visitors witness this beautiful resting place.
We decided to head to Warsaw’s Old Town after visiting the Jewish Cemetery. Little did we know, the kosher thing to do in Warsaw is to order a taxi by phone, which we did not have. After unsuccessfully trying to hail multiple cabs, we wound up walking about halfway to Old Town.
Not really a huge deal, except I’m pretty sure we weren’t walking the direct route. And I was wearing these:
We stopped in a grocery store along the way to pick up some cold water and snacks. The freshly baked Polish pastries we found didn’t last long enough for a photo opp, but they did give us the energy we needed to continue our walk until we found a non-phone-ahead cab. The cab ride was short, as we were already so close to Old Town!
We found a nice restaurant with patio seating in the middle of the Old Town Market.
J made up for all of the pork he doesn’t get in The Country, while I enjoyed potato and cheese pierogies with sour cream.
After rolling ourselves away from our plates, we strolled around the vintage area, soaking up all of the sights.
We noticed lots of advertisements for “working girls” on car windows. It appeared the more run down the car, the more ads adorned the windows. I’m not sure what types of correlations can be drawn from that, but it seems w#@&%$ may be attracted to junkers. Imagine that?!
We kept walking until we came to the Church of St. Anne.
The church’s bell tower had a VIEWING TERRACE sign, so of course we had to check it out! I think we paid about $1.25 each to go up.
After making our way down from the viewing terrace, it took no time at all to get our hands on some Polskie lody (did I get that right? Polish ice cream!).
One chocolate duzy (“large”) swiderki (I don’t know) + one vanilla duzy (“large”) wloskie (“Italian,” according to Google Translate??) = $3.31
After walking off our lody, we took a very overpriced cab back to the hotel and wandered down the street for dinner at a restaurant called Babooshka. Part of me felt like I was cheating by dining at a Russian restaurant in Poland instead of at a Polish restaurant in Poland, but the rustic decor was so cute, and the food was so good, I didn’t regret it for a moment!
The next morning, we woke up early to take a hotel cab to the Lazienki Krolewskie Park & Palace. The Palace on the Water, the White House, and Myslewicki Palace were all beautifully designed and well preserved, embellished with lavish paintings, ornate rugs, and an array of other period appropriate antique furnishings.
All architectural grandiosity aside, my favorite part of our time at Lazienki Park was being surrounded by the beautiful greenery that we miss in the desert.
To top it all off, when we were leaving the park, a little squirrel ran by. I crouched down, and it actually jumped onto my knee and put its little hand into mine to see if I had any food! I didn’t have any, so he scurried away as quickly as he had come. It was a scene straight out of Snow White! I’m happy to report I am rabies-free.
We made the most of our short stay in Warsaw, but there’s still so much more I want to see and do there!
Warsaw Bucket List:
* Admire Warsaw from the Orange Balloon Station
* Visit the Warsaw Uprising Museum
* Enjoy a Chopin piano recital at Lazienki Park
* Find an authentic Polish recipe cookbook
* Become a master Polish pastry chef
Any other suggestions?