After Prague, Pete and I boarded a direct flight from Prague to Warsaw. It was about an hour so a minimal amount of travel time although, as per the norm, I packed too much and every thing was heavy. Note to you all: Don’t do what I do, especially in summer, you just don’t need all that stuff! Although in my defense, I have to state that I always bring gifts for my buds in Italy and they took up a bunch of room along with the gifts that I shlepped back for my other buds here.
Anyhoo, we arrived in Warsaw and drove to our hotel in the Warsaw Old Town. I have to state that I was not expecting much in the way of ancient architecture because Warsaw took an absolute thrashing in WW2 and 85% of the buildings were destroyed. I researched that to find out who destroyed them. Was it accidental bombing by us or other allies? Were they caught in the crossfire? The answer is no. From what I read these buildings were destroyed along with great artworks, religious sanctuaries and other important government buildings, just for poops and giggles by Hitler and his gang of demonic brain dead robots. Apparently the Poles were not going down easily and Hitler seemed to take great pains to destroy everything they held dear. It was vile and evil and tons of other adjectives that I would like to place here but I think you get the picture. The Poles refused to just take all that and fought back. For that, their city was almost completely destroyed.
However, I am happy to state that there were some really great leaders since then who decided to pull their countrymen together and rebuild Warsaw, Poland’s capitol city. The Old Town is one of the most beautiful I have seen anywhere despite the fact that it is not that old. It was rebuilt as closely as possible to the way it was prior to Hitler and his coven of merry idiots (sorry) and many of the buildings that were standing previously are back up and running. The first evening we were there, we explored the Old Town and had some amazing meals (I had crispy duck with cranberries and baked apples. Amazing. I also had the absolute best dessert I have ever tasted at that restaurant. It was called Lime Cake and it was a shortbread crust with whipped cream and something that tasted like mascarpone whipped impossibly light and mixed with fresh lime juice. This was topped with raspberry syrup and I have NEVER tasted anything so perfect. I asked the chef for the recipe and he said it was just whipped cream and fresh lime juice. (He said Crème Fraiche which seems to mean different things in different countries. In Belgium when I was there it just meant whipped cream. Here I think it is more a ricotta? It was amazing!)I plan on reverse engineering it when I get home. I won’t rest until I do! Unbelievable!
The next day, I rented a bike and set out to explore the rest of Warsaw. It was great! So many beautiful buildings to see. I biked all the way from the Old Town to the Chopin museum which was extremely interesting in that it was not just a jumble of odd facts but letters from Chopin to others and from others to him as well as letters about him to whomever. It also had photos of his digs in various cities. I spent two hours and could have spent two more but I came away with a really great feel for his life in the 1800’s and what it was like mingling with the rich, famous and titled. While I was enjoying the museum, his music was playing gently in the background and the whole experience was really, really nice. In the end I got too hungry and went off in search of lunch.
Back in Old Town, I stopped at one of the sidewalk cafes just off the cobbled street and ordered Pierogi. These are little meat pies cooked in various ways. Mine came just steamed but you can get them fried (delicious) or covered in one of many sauces. If I had had more time in Warsaw I would have tried them all as the meat pies themselves were truly YUMMY! Of course they gave me too many and I stuffed self to the brim and could barely eat dinner.
One of the sights that I did not really enjoy was the little church on the square near our hotel (The Mamaison Regina hotel, very nice BTW). This church had been completely destroyed by Hitler’s band of mentally deficient momma’s boys. You could tell that there had been an effort to rebuild it but all of the art works that must have been cloistered there over the ages, surviving war after war and invasion after invasion finally had succumbed to ruin. There were new art works but they were spare and seemed to have been done in a hurry. While rebuilding the town was a major therapy for the people, it seems to me (and this is just my take away) that they just didn’t have the heart to confront destructive evil of that nature in the intentional destruction of their church. I do see, however, that although there are monuments to their fallen relatives, the people of Warsaw have made a great attempt to look forward into the future and not back into the painful past. With that in mind, a visit to Warsaw is definitely in order for anyone who wants to see what it is like to rise from the ashes of evil and ruin back to greatness that surpassed many cities today. Again, that is my take on this and I think it needs to be stated as I have seen travel videos that focus on visits to the prison of war camps and death and destruction. There is too much life in Warsaw to be beaten down or ignored.
If you get the chance! Go! Summer is beautiful there although I understand that it only gets about two months of beautiful weather per year so go then! I also want to state that I have never seen so many drop dead gorgeous women anywhere as I did in Warsaw. I don’t know why that is but it is. What can I say?
Next post is all about Italy!
Here is the more modern section of Warsaw, A bicycle and a street map is all you need to see anything you want. It is a great way to get around. Travel tip: Bring your own helmet as you may not get one where you are renting a bike.
On the right, you can see a hand written post card from the Chopin Museum. The Museum gives you a real feel about what it was like to love in Chopin’s time and at his level of society. It was so interesting. Unfortunately my camera died while at the museum. Oh well, I guess I just have to go back!