Now some of you might be wondering about the title names I give my posts. Is Krakow really captivating? Budapest… brilliant? Really? Well how about Perfectly Prague. How can Prague be perfect?
The saying goes, “The beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. This was originally used by the author Margaret Wolfe Hungerford for her book ‘Molly Bawn’ in 1878. The exact origin of the phrase is unknown though, as different forms have been used since the 3rd century BC when it was used by the Greeks.
In my eyes, everywhere we go has a certain magic. Magic that you either choose to see, or you don’t. Yes, I have my favorite places, and yes there are places we have been that have made me question this theory, but in the end, all places on this earth are beautiful. It’s your eyes that choose to see that beauty!
Onto Wondrous Warsaw!
After leaving Krakow, we had a 4 hour drive ahead of us to reach Poland’s capital city. At this point in our journey, we were winding down to the very end which meant this was going to be our last stop before heading back home.
Paul has family that lives in Warsaw so we were lucky enough to have a nice place to stay for the night. We brought all of our luggage up to the apartment because we needed to do some rearranging to get everything we had collected so far to fit! After tugging and squishing and getting everything to fit, it was time to freshen up!
It was time for a family outing!
Off we went to see this fantastic city!
Paul’s cousin drove us all down to the old city centre called Castle Square. (some of you might be wondering why I keep spelling “center” as centre. In Europe, all of the old historic area’s within these cities are spelled as such!)
Now Warsaw is the largest city in Poland with a little over 3 million residents, making it the 9th largest city in the European Union.
Once described as the Paris of the East, Warsaw was believed to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world until WWII when over 85% of the city was left in ruins.
It is often described as a Phoenix City because of its extensive history and complete reconstruction after what it had suffered through during the war. Remember when we were in Birkenau? All of the timber from the camp there was eventually used with helping to rebuild the city.
The history of the city dates back to the 9th/10th century, when it became the small fishing village called Warszowa. All in all, the city has wonderful examples of architecture from the gothic, renaissance, baroque and neoclassical periods, all of which are located within walking distance of the town centre.
Above is Carmelite Church, also known as the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and of St. Joseph.
And more photos of our walk down to the Old Town.
The one thing that really stood out in my mind about this city were the amazing colors of all of the buildings. Nowhere we had been had such a wonderful display of color quite like Warsaw did. Everywhere you looked it just kept getting better.
The area of the city where we were was spotless. You had to actually look for a piece of garbage in order to see any. The trees and flowers were also on full display as they were everywhere throughout the city.
It was a crisp, cool day and also very overcast which meant that rain was on the horizon. We had a lot to do and see before the clouds opened up!
A few more steps and we had made it! There it was, the Old Town of Warsaw.
It was as if you were looking right in the pages of history itself. I was literally taken back as I saw this for the first time. I actually just stood and looked at this magnificent view for a while as I let the others go ahead of me. And then I just wanted to run in!
There are so many amazing building here, almost too many to count. One in particular is quite outstanding. The building a little to the right of the middle with the green roof is St. John’s Cathedral. This cathedral was founded in 1390, and is the mother church of the archdiocese of Warsaw. It is also immediately adjacent to Warsaw’s Jesuit church.
Pictured above is the Palace Square.
A quick view out to the rest of the city from where we were.
You may have also noticed in the pictures so far of Old Town is the very tall column. This is Sigismund’s Column. He was the king who in 1590 had moved Poland’s capital from Krakow to Warsaw. It is now one of Warsaw’s most famous landmarks.
Another very awesome thing you get to see when you visit are the medieval city walls.
The walls still surround the Old Town today and are truly amazing to walk around and throughout. They all connect to The Barbican, which we will get to further down the road.
For now, we continue down the street as we are trying to reach the Old Town Market Square.
What we were about to see was another take your breath away moment. For me, this was all brand new remember, so the entire time we are walking around down there, everyone else was looking at me to see what my reaction was going to be. They would chuckle when we came to places like this!
What I loved most was getting there… you had to enter through these walkways which were amazing themselves…
And another one of my most favorite shots in our journey so far…
And then there is was… Market Square.
The Square dates back to the end of the 13th century, and is the true heart of the Old Town. Until the end of the 18th century it was the heart of all of Warsaw.
A fantastic picture of “The Gang”!
And of course, my other half doing what he does best, being silly!
A few more of our walk in this area…
When you are here, just be prepared to take a lot of things in while you walk around. This is one of those cities that I could be content in with just myself and my camera. Everywhere you look there is an amazing building, or an ally that is calling your name to explore, such as this one did to us!
And looking back.
And a really neat door along the way.
And now we make it all the way back to the Warsaw Barbican.
The Barbican is one of the few remaining relics of the complex network of historic fortifications that once encircled Warsaw. It was erected in 1540 and soon after served practically no purpose as a result of the rapid advancement in artillery power.
Much of it was destroyed during WWII but was later rebuilt to become a tourist attraction for the city.
And, a great place for a photo-op!
One of my favorites of us. (We look so young here!)
We walked around here for a while before it was time to find a stop to fill our bellies!
Where to eat, where to eat?
Let’s walk a little down the road to see what they have.
We find a little place that looks fantastic and we all make the executive decision to choose it as our destination!
This place is great! The smell would make anyone, even if you weren’t hungry want to try a bite. We get a table near the back and settle in to what was going to be a great dinner!
First order of business, “You take MasterCard correct?”
With the shake of his head he said,
“Unfortunately we do not…” The words heard throughout Warsaw that night…
As we all looked at each other in total disappointment, (Only one out of all of us had cash, but not enough to cover the entire bill) we bowed our heads and headed for the door.
Onto option B.
And what was right across the street and actually sounded pretty good? Pizza Hut!
The youngest of our gang was Patrycja. She thought this sounded amazing, so Pizza Hut it was!
Actually, it was pretty dang good and we had a wonderful time just being around each other so a successful choice it was!
After dinner, because the sun was starting to set and the clouds were really starting to show their weight with rain, it was time to head back to the car. We decided to take a different way back as there was more to see along the way.
And then, just like that, the rain set it.
It didn’t downpour like we had thought it was going to, but instead just a slight sprinkle which was perfect. We had to walk a bit faster, but not fast enough to stop for a few sights along the way.
One was the view of downtown from where we were.
It is said that together with Frankfurt, London, Paris and Rotterdam, Warsaw is one of the cities with the highest number of skyscrapers in Europe. It is ranked 79th on the list of cities with the most sky scrapers around the world.
Our last stop was at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It is dedicated to all of the unknown soldiers who have given their lives for Poland. It has an eternal flame which is assisted by a guard post representative from the Battalion of the Polish Army.
And with that comes the end of our time not only in Warsaw, but for this trip.
I can’t remember exactly how many days we were gone, but almost 3 weeks sounds about right.
On this trip I was able to meet Paul’s extended family, attend my first Polish wedding, travel to 7 different countries and create endless memories that will surly last a lifetime.
I have always loved to travel.
From a very young age I can always remember traveling with my parents. We would go places all over the US for Dad’s job, as well as family vacations during the summers. I can’t thank them enough for those opportunities as well as turning on one of my true passions in life, seeing the world.
And as this was my first foreign trip, it will always hold a special place in my heart. The door was opened for what would turn out to be the very beginning of our travel days!
And just a few more to end the trip!
The next time we will visit here will be with my Dad, so there will be more photos to come!
Next up on our agenda, I will take us to a few places around home we visited before heading off on our next big adventure!
So as always, Stay Tuned!