Back to Warsaw

Wednesday 25 to Friday 27 July

We had booked an apartment in Warsaw and we were very excited because it had a washing machine. After some help with Google Translate we got our first load on and whilst it soaked and tumbled and spun Bruce finished his work for Pete. He welcomed the challenge of thinking strategies. 

We were a little further out of the main town than we had anticipated but the location turned out to be very convenient, we just had to feed the meter for the parking space in the street. 

We had already visited Warsaw in 2007 and we don’t usually make a repeat visit without a good reason. But in 2007 the road outside our hotel was dug up, it had rained most of the time we were there and we missed seeing the Palace of Culture and Science. 

And in 2017 the day started off wet. 

We meandered into the Old Town and collected a map, then had the worst, most expensive coffee experience – Zł39.50 or $13.50 for two coffees. To add insult to injury, service was poor, coffee was cold and they had the audacity to add a service charge, which we hadn’t seen anywhere before in Poland.  

The Old Town was quaint and tiny. Again the sun was playing games with us. We thought we had some OK photos then the sun came out and challenged us to retake photos. The mermaid statue was under repair so no water sprouting from her. 

The road outside the Bristol Hotel, where we had stayed in 2007, was rebuilt and even had a road running under it to bypass the Old Town. 

We then wandered through the Krasiński Gardens, past the tomb of the unknown soldier and under the tall old trees. 

The Palace of Culture and Science is still the tallest building in Warsaw, built in Soviet neo-classical style by the architect Lev Rudnev in “Seven Sisters” style and is informally referred to as the Eighth Sister following the seven similar buildings in Moscow. It is more richly decorated as the architect toured the Polish state and took elements of the Polish culture for decoration. 

We queued to take the lift to the terrace which is 114m high. It is a grand area with elegant arches. 

After a hard day sightseeing we headed back up Krakowskie street where Bruce had ‘noticed’ a German beer hall. We enjoyed a German meal. 

Chopin is the darling of Warsaw and there are bench seats scattered throughout the city that ‘play’ Chopin when you sit on them. 

A couple of ladies set up their string instruments in the street. I was so taken by them that I gave them the smallest change I had, 10zł, more that the cost of a beer!

Before leaving Warsaw next day we found very good coffee with service, without an extra charge for about $4. Tourists are fair game!

It was a long drive to our next destination Vilnius in Lithuania. In this part of the world we were off the international tourist route, which made for some interesting choices.