A Random Trip to Another Country Is Always a Good Trip

Saturday, June 28, 2014

I've always thought of myself as someone who loves travelling. But few years ago, there were countries that I wanted to visit (it was quite stereotypical: of course, the top of the list was reserved for England, France, Italy) and those I wasn't thinking about. The three and their capitals still remain my holy trinity - I'm actually hoping to get to Rome this year and then I'll have completed them - but in the meantime, I've changed in the sense that now I want to go everywhere. Name any country in the world - I might not have heard about it, or know nothing about it, but I want to see it!
Poland was one of those that I had never found interesting. Now, however, Poland is as interesting as almost any other, so when I found out that one of my favorite bands - Florence and the Machine - was playing in its capital, Warsaw - that was a perfect excuse to plan another trip.


Poland is another country I had known very little about. From my previous experience it appeared that not knowing anything about where I'm going is actually a good thing, because then I'm ready and opened for everything, I'm not expecting anything nor am I biased in any way. It worked perfectly for Belgium (click & click), which I now completely adore. On the other hand, it didn't work that well for Paris (click & click), but maybe it's just me - everybody keeps saying how crazy I am for not loving Paris as much as... well, everybody else. So now I was curious to find out about Poland. What is it like? What does it look like? What are the people like? 


It wasn't before long that my friend Ivana (you might remember her from Paris posts - she's the one responsible for amazing photos), her friend Marko and me bought tickets for the concert, booked accommodation and transport. Hooray - another country awaits!


Warsaw is... different. On the other hand, it reminds me a lot of Belgrade - or more specifically, of New Belgrade, its part built after the WW2. It means big socialistic buildings and large boulevards. To be honest, I found it quite hostile. The weather wasn't helping either - it was mid-June, and yet it was freezing, with clouds and rain all the time. Just imagine Eastern Europe the way they picture it in American movies - and there you go, it's Warsaw!


But Warsaw also has a real treasure - it's the Old Town. It's so cute and picture-pretty, I decided I would have a separate post on it to avoid photo overload!


People in Warsaw in general lack knowledge of English (I'm afraid this would also be foreigners' impression of Serbia). But those who do speak it are really helpful and nice! When I first got there, I was offered help from a local and ended up having coffee with him.
Another amazing thing in Warsaw was the Pride Parade. As I mentioned before, we had absolutely no idea why there are no trams or buses that afternoon, but we were curious enough to find out. And then we did - it was the beautiful and colorful and happy Pride Parade that we were really happy to join.


As for the concert - the main reason we got there at all - oh my gosh, it was amazing! If you like Florence and the Machine at least a bit, you have all the reasons to be jealous, because it was that good! She is basically the only singer whose live performances on YT I can stand - I'm usually a bit spoiled and only want to listen to the clean studio tracks. Florence Welch was amazingly beautiful and energetic that night. I bet she trains hard, because I cannot imagine how one could handle so much running and jumping on the stage. She gave us amazing two hours. Before FATM The Kooks performed, and it was also so much fun.


Warsaw recommendations
Accommodation. Once again I can only speak from the experience. We stayed in El Hostel, which was quite nice. I only stayed for a night, while Ivana and Marko got there the night before me, so they opted for two nights. They came late, so even though officially check-in is until 9 PM, they were let inside and found their names hanging on the beds. :) The hostel offers breakfast and coffee that are included in the price and it was OK - cheese, salami, cereals - enough to keep you full for a few hours. However, I must say that even though it says on their website that it's in the city centre, it's not really - you can take a bus or a tram, but if you wanted to walk, it would take from 20 minutes to half an hour. 
Sights. Ummm... I feel bad, but apart from the Old Town, we didn't see much. One of the main landmarks of the city is Palace of Culture and Science, the tallest building in the city now hosting companies, cinemas, theaters, sports clubs, scientific institutions etc. - quite close to the central railway station, so if you arrive by train, you cannot miss it. But the most interesting thing we saw there was the Copernicus Science Centre, with an interesting interactive open-air exhibition, and its Planetarium - I believe astronomy is a science that you just have to be curios about, no matter what your background is (so lucky my sister who actually studies astrophysics!), and we had lots of fun. I totally recommend it!

I'm actually playing an instrument here:)
Eating Out. Don't you dare go to McDonald's or King Burger! Polish food is very affordable and very delicious! On my first day I tried zapiekanka - it's a halved baguette or bread topped with mushrooms, cheese and whatever you want - ham, meat, vegetables... - similar to an open sandwich. On our second day we had lunch at a restaurant. I actually wanted to show you exactly what we ate, but the light was very bad - it seems to be a Polish thing, because many restaurants have bad light, and my little camera cannot do much in those conditions. (That was also the time I started considering buying a semi-professional camera...) Anyway, we all had pierogi - Polish dumplings - and they were so good! Apparently they can be filled with anything, so I had mine with salmon, spinach, cheese (many kinds of cheese), onions, mushrooms... So if you're ever going to Poland, having pierogi is a must, trust me!


Nightlife & Drinking. OK, I bailed this time. I only spent one night there and it was reserved for the concert. But I'm sure that the city offers a variety of choices. If you find something interesting, let me know, I never know, I might just appear in Warsaw some time again soon! :)

Nicolaus Copernicus
Other. If you arrive by bus and they don't announce the name of the station, but just "Warsaw", so you end up in the middle of nowhere, like I did, it's good to have some zlots (Polish currency) with you, because you have to get to the city centre somehow - namely by metro, and to get in you need a ticket, and, you guess it, it cannot be bought with euros. In the end a random lady exchanged a minimum of my euros, but if you want to avoid that kind of situations, make sure you bring 5 or 10 euros' worth of zlots with you (if possible where you come from, of course).


Oh, and they have a palm tree in the middle of one of the roundabouts. You have to see that.


So, what do you think? Have you been to Warsaw, or are you planning to?
Maybe you can draw a conclusion about what my next destination is from the photo below. After all, it's summer. :)



P.S. The Old Town in Warsaw

2 comments:

  1. Svaki put kad čitam tvoje tekstove, uvek me zasvrbe tabani i dobijem želju da se spakujem i otputujem negde iste sekunde. :D I da, priznajem! Ljubomorna sam jer si slušala uživo divnu Florence! :D Šalim se, drago mi je da si uživala, ne sumnjam da je bila na visini zadatka. Ja svako malo gledam snimak iz Royal Albert Hall-a, navučena sam skroz. :)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Stvarno je predivna, ali mlada je, možda dođe i u naše krajeve :) uzgred, sad si mi dala ideju za novi post - kako da tabanosvrab mine i da želja ne ostane samo želja :) hvala :)

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