Poland Part 1: Hello, Warsaw!

In the beginning of May, a few friends and I decided to go on a long weekend trip to Poland. We did a lot there, and I feel that it warrants being a series of sorts, so it will be broken up into several parts.

To save money, we decided to travel by bus overnight to Warsaw, an 8 hour journey from Berlin, which was just as awful as it sounds. When we arrived in Warsaw at about 6:00 am, I was dead tired and did not want to walk around the city for however many hours before I could sleep, and I like to think that everyone else felt the exact same way as I did. But we checked into our hostel, a really nice place that was brand new in right on the outskirts of the Old City, dropped our stuff off and grabbed some breakfast, which helped re-energize me. And so we started walking around Warsaw, checking out the buildings and Old Market and some churches. The picture on the left is of the main courtyard, while the one on the right is of the Old Market.20160505_090608 20160505_095416

About an hour or so later we went on a guided tour with a Warsaw local, Blazé (I honestly can’t remember how to spell it. It was in Polish, after all), who was awesome. He was very informative and gave us a deeper sense of the history of Warsaw and the Polish people in general. Eventually we made our way to what used to be Warsaw Ghetto. There, Blazé informed us about the Warsaw Uprising, which led to the destruction of about 80% of the city. So most of the “old” buildings that we had seen were in fact replicas built to resemble what Warsaw looked like before World War 2. At one point, he passed around some aerial photographs taken before the war in the 1920’s and one right after the war. The difference in the two pictures was…stark, to say the least. He pointed out the area that had been the Warsaw Ghetto and it had been turned entirely into rubble. The picture on the left is of a plaque commemorating where the wall that separated the Ghetto from the rest of Warsaw used to be, while the one on the right is a monument commemorating the Warsaw Uprising.20160505_115920 20160505_121732

After the tour was over, we were all feeling rather hungry and decided to grab some traditional Polish food. So we stopped at a restaurant for some Pirogi, which are essentially dumplings filled with meat, cheese, and vegetables. It was very delicious and I wish that I had taken a photo of it, but I unfortunately did not. This dining experience, however, really made me realize how difficult it is to communicate something as simple as what you want to eat to someone that doesn’t speak your language. I really haven’t had any trouble communicating simple things like this while I’ve been in Germany, but being thrown into a country in which I don’t understand a single word was rather…frustrating, to say the least. Luckily, though, a really sweet lady stopped into the restaurant and was able to help translate our order for us. We got our food and enjoyed our pirogi, which tasted awesome after walking around for a couple of hours. At this point, the lack of sleep was really catching up to all of us, so we headed back to the hostel to relax and sleep for a few hours. After that bus ride, it felt so amazing to be able to just lie down. Later than evening, Gabriel, Kelly, Isa, and I decided to go out and explore the city for a bit. We walked through a couple of parks and made it to the Vistula River, which essentially cuts the city in two. These two pictures are just of the parks that we walked through.20160505_193021 20160505_175619After we got back to the hostel, some other people were wanting to go out, but since I’m not exactly a drinker and I was still very tired, I decided to stay in. This seems like a good stopping point, so stay tuned for part 2!