It’s Saturday at dusk, a busker strumming his guitar playing Latin music, the sky turned from gold to red basking the whole square in its warming light. It’s a good thing I found myself here after realising the castle was closed after 5 pm. It was at this moment, I might have fallen in love with Warsaw Poland.
Poland has been on my list for some time. When everyone talks about visiting Poland, it’s either Krakow or Gdansk but Warsaw as the capital city of Poland seems to be an underdog. I have all sorts of high hopes for Warsaw! I’m going to explore its castle and museums and try ALL of the food available.
But first, let’s do the Royal route
Start off with a stroll down Nowy Swiat, or “New World Street”, this beautiful street might just be a close competition to Regent or Bond Street. Lined with elegant cafes, restaurants and oh the picturesque townhouses! Oh, the temptation to shop beckons me!
Staszic Palace (Pałac Staszica)
Around every corner and turning, there’s always something that catches your eye that makes you grab your fellow traveler’s hand to stop and take a picture or take in the history like this white majestic palace.
Few steps ahead, pass by the gates to the University of Warsaw, maneuver yourself pass the tourists taking pictures here or venture in and take in the beautiful architecture.
Church of St. Joseph of the Visitationists
There are more churches in this street than Starbucks or Green Cafe Nero combined. But there’s always something about churches that you feel inner peace when you enter.
The Church of the Holy Cross (Bazylika Świętego Krzyża)
Across the street is the infamous Church of the Holy Cross, it’s exterior was under renovation when I arrived but the inside was breathtaking. Chopin’s urn was laid here as he wanted to be in Warsaw.
Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph the Betrothed (Carmelite Church)
Around the corner is yet another church. It is humbling to see what the church was like before the uprising, and how they rebuild most of these landmarks and houses from pictures and paintings.
Presidential Palace (Pałac Prezydencki)
A hop and skip away, you will find yourself at the Presidential palace, you will realise this by seeing the policemen surrounding the area.
Slightly further up this street, you will find yourself at Krakowskie Przedmiescie. This is Warsaw at its most elegant with the old-fashioned lampposts, and leafy white pavement with its colourful townhouses. It gives you that renaissance feel as you approach the castle square.
Old Town Castle Square
The sense of anticipation when you finally find yourself at the old castle square. It looks exactly like how you see in the pictures. Colourful houses, the castle in its red glory although very much like Big Ben, their tower is under maintenance, and the monument of Sigismund overlooking the entire square.
This is the true heart of Warsaw where we watched the aforementioned sunset, the site of the Warsaw Uprising which is one of the most heroic resistance actions ever seen against the Nazis. Most of this was sadly destroyed and after the war, much of it, such as the opulent Royal Castle, was painstakingly rebuilt.
Climb up the Observation Terrace
Climb up the Observation Terrace, and mind you, it’s quite a climb but oh so worth it! You have to pay an entry fee at the souvenir shop and at least 200 steps! Who says it’s hard to workout on a holiday eh!
This view was worth every pain climbing up those stairs!
Royal Castle (Zamek Królewski)
Once you’re back down, cross the square and enter the Royal Castle. Soak in all the opulence and majestic gold rooms. Wish I had a ballgown to go with the decor but you can’t help but in awe at the grand splendor of it all.
Old Town Market Square
Walk through the winding alleyways of the Old Town, we descend into this enclosed square like hungry locusts.
A market square surrounded by colourful townhouses, and birds! Pigeons, little fat and I mean fat little sparrows flying around you and the smell of pierogis wafting through.
Let me introduce you to Syrena, the mermaid. She’s a brave one, a city symbol if you like, with her sword and shield, ready to defend her beloved city in times of trouble.
Don’t get flustered with all the charm from the restauranteurs.
Dine outside here is a must, grab a seat on the edge and watch the tourists stroll by.
Start off with complimentary minced meat and cottage cheese with bread condiments.
Order the traditional Pierogis. This one was stuffed with meat beautifully accompanied by local Polish beer.
And do keep an eye out for these little munchkins, they are pretty sneaky!
One came to say hello, then another and I seem to have an audience!
Stuffed from the Pierogis (see what I did there eh eh! )
A wonderful end to a new day in a new city, and a complimentary cherry vodka after your meal.
If this is the norm, I can certainly get used to this!
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That’s really interesting Courtney! I always wondered to what extent they rebuilt Warsaw after WW2 and from your post and stories it looks like they did quite a lot. Excellent photos as well, it really brings the place ti life
It has been a while since you posted something but from your instagram profile I knew that you were preparing a post for Poland. And what a story. This why I love your blog and love reading your “stories”.
Warsaw looks amazing and that Nowy street is unbelievable.
I’m totally gonna plan to go there soon.
By the way, how did you find it cheap or expensive? If you don’t mind asking.
Thank you so much! You must try visit sometime, Warsaw is reasonably priced and good food too!