Since I’ve known Poland in my Second World War history lessons, it occupied the top of my list of countries to visit in Eastern Europe. From early 1940s until the end of the communism era in the 1990s, Poland has been the centre of all the international relations. It is now a country that has quickly integrated the West culturally and economically. This is why I wanted to witness this transformation before the country becomes totally dependant on Globalisation. Warsaw is the perfect example as a Polish city that remains with communist roots and a modern facade.
As most of my trips, everything started with a cheap Ryanair flight! I booked my ticket one month earlier in February for a 4 day trip to Warsaw for the price of £22 return in March. It was the first time I travel with a low-coast airline and the first time going to Poland. My Brazilian friend Romy joined my trip to discover together the Polish capital. Our flight arrived around 9pm local time, we have been welcomed by some heavy snow and a long wait at the border check due to my Moroccan passport. I had my visa, my host’s address, my money,… but the policewoman was surprised to deal with a Moroccan passport for the first time as her faces expressions suggests while inspecting and reading my passport’s information. 20 minutes after, I finally quit Warsaw Frederic Chopin’s airport towards the city.
To leave the airport, we had to take a train from the airport station towards the city centre. There are frequent trains and different lines taking to various parts of the city. We’ve taken the SKM lines as they were cheaper and pass by Dworzec Centralny (Warsaw Central Station) where I’ve seen some typical polish families in the train especially an old women’s look that I still remember as it was yesterday!
Warsaw’s transport is quite organised even though all the writings are in Polish. It was easy to get around and we didn’t get lost. At the same night, we’ve reached our CouchSurfing host’s flat where they were waiting for us to go to a party. The party venue was just next door in an underground club called Hydro. The music played at the club was more or less 1990s and early 2000s pop music.The service was great although I was surprised I got charged for tap water…
The next day: Visits!
After waking up and taking a quick breakfast in a commercial centre around, we’ve walked from our host’s flat towards the Old Town of Warsaw. The Old Town is considered as the main touristic spot of the city. It has been established in the 13th century and has been a theatre of different events. During the memorable Invasion of Poland in 1939, the Old Town has been destroyed during the terror bombings by the German Nazi. Following the Siege of Warsaw, some parts of the town were rebuilt but during Warsaw Uprising in 1944 it has been totally destroyed again. Warsaw has lost its historical town several times, however, it has been rebuilt once again after the Second World War.
Inside the Old Town, there are several monuments standing in the squares. The Old Town Market Place is among the most famous in the city. At the centre of the square proudly stands Warsaw’s Mermaid. This square is connected with different small streets leading to other parts of the town such as Warsaw’s Barbican or The Royal Castle. Moreover, the Old Town has been placed on the UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. Our visit to this town was absolutely amazing and we have seen a lot walking around to the point that we came back another day to visit it by night.
Following the visit of the historical Warsaw, we had a traditional Polish lunch in a restaurant around (I can’t remember the name…). The food was good, it was the first time trying Polish food. I’ve taken some potatoes with mushrooms, there is of course a name for this dish but I’m not able to memorise complicated polish words. It was cheap to eat there even though it was in a touristic place.
This is the first part of my article about my trip to Warsaw. The next part will include our visit of Warsaw Uprising Museum which has definitely been one of my highlights that week-end.