Wait! Don’t start yet! Put some –appropriate- music on first!
Two years ago, a few days before my birthday, I closed my eyes and tried to bring to my mind a picture, a place that would automatically make me smile, which could be my happy place for a while and the most essential gift from me to myself. Then my mind swirled in the streets of Rome, eating gelato.
That year, blowing out the birthday candles at a house together with my Italian friends in Rome, I gave an oath to myself. Every year on my birthday, I’ll arrange a trip, small or big, far away or close by, it doesn’t matter. I will leave for a while from my everyday life, create the conditions to feel the ultimate freedom, a feeling I love a lot, I will look for new images, fresh smells and different experiences. So it happened. Last year, I found myself in the magical Monemvasia and this year, the place where I completed the cycle of another year in my life was Warsaw, a city literally reborn of its ashes.
I considered it symbolic, because birthdays for me, no matter how many years have passed, every time are a revival, a new beginning, a new self. A city that 70 years ago was completely destroyed and rebuilt can only inspire and symbolize the inner power. Whatever has happened to you, you have the power to be reborn, to start from the beginning, to bring you back to life.
Ryanair’ s flight to the cost of an orange paper money that landed us at Modlin Airport, the small airport of Warsaw, played a major role in our choice for the destination. We had chosen to stay in a loft in Praga, on the right side of the Wisla River, which was an “underground” region but now is full of vitality, because young people and artists are choosing it, while factories and Soviet housing blocks, that there were in the area, turned into galleries, coffee shops and bars. However, it remains wild in appearance, especially in relation to the old town, which seems as if it came out of a fairy tale!
The first night we visited the W Oparach Absordu bar with vintage & industrial decoration, where we tested our first Pierogi (a pasta with several filling options) with a glass of wine.
Art @ Praga
Our arty apartment T13 Apartments
On my travels, I like to walk, so as to experience better every city, its streets, its homes, its shops, its people and atmosphere. The first thing you realize on your way to the old town is how clean the roads and the pavements are, everything is clean. It seems that the residents are respecting their city and their cleaning crews are perfectly working.
The Old Town is a mix of vintage colors and perfumes of the past. It seems weird if you know that in 1945, the SS chief ordered all residents to be executed and the city to be destroyed. In January of that year there was nothing left of the Old City, which the inhabitants rebuilt with persistence in its old face from its debris. Today, the city seems at least 200 years old (although it is only 72), preserving its history and gaining a place in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The heart of the old town beats at its square (Rynek Starego Miasta), full of restaurants, cafes and shops.
A hot chocolate with marshmallows at Cafe Keks was more than necessary
In Warsaw you can also see the city walls, the Barbican and the St. John’s Cathedral. On the first day we had breakfast just beyond the walls, on Freta Street, where you can find many restaurants. We sat in “To Lubie”, which I highly recommend for a break from the old town.
To Lubie, cutest coffee place
If you are fed up wandering around the old town, you can admire the view of the city from above, at the palace of culture and science, specifically from the thirteenth floor (the cold is strong but the view is worth it!). The building is a Stalin gift and was built in 1955. But it reminded me of Gotham City! Batman where are you?
Another must of the Vistula Gorgon (as they call Warsaw) is the Lazienski Park (meaning baths in Polish), the largest park in the city, where you literally loose yourself! Overlooking trees, lakes, wooden bridges, shadows, peacocks, ducks, swans, an amphitheater and an incredible tranquility surround the Wilanowski Palace. Even with temperature below zero you can not miss such magic!
Warsaw is a dynamic capital that is constantly growing, admittedly a bit greener for my tastes, but still very interesting. The sequel will find us in Krakow, but I leave the details for my next post.
-The Polish currency, despite having been a member of the European Union since 2004, is Polish zloty (PLN). One zloty is equivalent to € 0.23.
– Do not exchange currency at the airport for no reason, prices are murderous!
-You can pay by credit / debit card and / or currency at one of the many bureaus in the city.
– There are not many labels in English, but the majority of young Poles speak English and will definitely try to help you with instructions.
-During winter at 4 has already darkened, so daylight walks are good to be programmed earlier.
-Useful numbers: Police 997 / Fire Extinguisher 998 / Ambulance 999 & 112
-Modlin Airport is about 40 km from Warsaw.
-There is a bus (ModlinBus) from the airport that goes to the city with very frequent itineraries. If you book your tickets online are much more economical (starting from 9 zlotys) than taking them from the airport, where your seat is also not guaranteed. The other way is to get the train, where a bus will take you in about a decade. The train costs 17 zlotys. You can get your ticket from the airport.
-There is the application jakdojade.pl with which you can find out which means you can use to go from one place to another.
– Attention to the taxi-mafia, who do not have a taximeter and do not enter a phone number on the car.
– The city has a very dense network of public transport (it also has a metro).
– Entrance to the Palace of Culture and Science for the view is 20 zlotys.
– There are also the so-called Milk Bars, which have become fashionable, which were communist-era working-class restaurants, which today offer a decent, especially cheap meal. The most famous is the Mleczny Familijny in the Old Town.
– Addresses of the mentioned spots:
- W Oparach Absordu: Ząbkowska 03-735
- Cafe Keks: Rynek Starego Miasta 1/3 00-272
- To Lubie: Freta 8, 00-227
If you follow me on Instagram (@lavienblog) you might also noticed some of these photos that are always on my happy dreams…
All photos taken by me
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