Thursday, September 8, 2011

Travel to Varsovia Part I

August 31, 2011 marked our first day in Warsaw (Varsovia).

Our train to Varsovia had a half hour delay so in the meantime, we bought something to eat in the station and sat by a bench over the railways to have our early lunch.  There was one bird that kept on hovering by to get a bite of our food, but we were too hungry to pay attention.

The train which usually takes three hours  actually took about four hours due to delay.  This type of delays seem to be common due to the railsways under construction.  The railways are under construction in lieu of the coming sports events to be held in Poland in 2012, so we  had to find the means to avoid getting bored.  We walked around a lot from wagon to wagon, checking on the first class compartments and business class and trying to see how many empty seats were available to perhaps change seats.  Soon enough we got into conversations as to what to do in Varsovia, and others around started to talk to us and we took advantage in getting some valuable information as to how to go about and around the city. 

When we got to the main station it was almost evening and we decided to walk to  Apartament Chmielna PragA!Apartments, led by somebody we just met in the train.   We found the street without difficulty.  However,   I did not remember that I had to call up to get the keys, so for a while we seemed lost and stranded.

The apartment was on the third floor, again without a lift but the eagerness to see the new place where we had to stay for two nights, took us quickly to the its doorsteps.  The apartment was probably just as big as the one we had in Poznan but Mel did not have a private room as she had before, it was a sofa bed this time and it did not look very comfortable, but then either that or bear with the unpleasant melody of my snore.  But she was happy with a big bathtub to take a long bath, to compensate?...


What we saw in Varsovia:


1)  Old town square (Rynek Starego Miasta).  This is a beautiful square lined with coloured houses, restaurants and tourist shops.  In the middle is a statue of a mermaid. Everything seems to draw attention of the tourists and which include horse-drawn carriages.  "Market Square, as well as Warsaw's Old Town and historic center, are inscribed in UNESCO World Heritage List and are as young as 60-65 years old, even though its late-renaissance and late-baroque styles would make us think they were built back in the 18th century.  The reason for this is that Warsaw's Old Town was bombed after the Warsaw Uprising - "the uprisers" were based on the Old Town and hidden in its sewers, so the attackers bombed everything to assure they would not uprise again and live to tell.  After World War II came to an end, they decided to build everything again, based on photos and paintings from its glorious days.  They have done a magnificent work and, nowadays, the buildings are exact replicas of what they used to look  like before the bombings".  (Quoted text obtained from Virtual Tourist).

2)  Walking Around Chopin’s Warsaw (Chopin's Benches) - In connection with the 200th Anniversary of Fryderyk Chopin's birth, the Capital City of Warsaw has opened a new walking route, based on the multimedia trail Chopin's benches.  The route will guide you through the historic spots in Warsaw where 15 multimedia benches have been located.  By following the route and relaxing on the benches (made of stone), Warsaw residents and tourists will discover the picturesque areas of the capital connected with Fryderyk's younger days. The sound system embedded in the benches will bring the Chopin music closer - all you have to do is to press a button and make the bench play a selected fragment, almost like a jukebox.  (Source: Visit Chopin in Warsaw). 
In front of this bench lies the Radziwill Palace, today the seat of the Polish Republic's  President.  This was the venue for the first public performance of Fryderyk Chopin.  On February 24th 1818, the eight year old child prodigy gave a charity concert here dressed in a velvet suit with white embroidered edging.  He boasted to his mother after the concert:    "Everyone admired my beautiful collar". This anecdote is embossed on the bench and so are similar anecdotes on the other 14 benches of Chopin.

3) Old Town - Stary Rynek
The Old Town is by far the most attractive area of Warsaw. Warsaw Old Town was established in the XIII th century. It impresses tourists with its quaint, cobbled streets and unique old architecture. The heart of the area is the Old Town Market Square with its unique traditional Polish restaurants, cafes and shops. When the weather is warm,  the square becomes filled with cafe tables, various traders and street artists and old people feeding the doves.  (Source:  Explore Warsaw).

4) New Town - (Nowe Miasto).

Ministry of Justice
Coloured Flying Horses by M.Justice
  5)Piwna Kompania Restaurant. 
Where they serve the largest portions of Polish food.  Pictures show the entrance to the restaurant, the appetizers of dills, cabbage and mustard.  Also shown is the menu.  Food was of prime quality, well cooked,  cheap, abundant and service was also quick.  
This pork knuckle is huge and weighs about one kilo.  It was tender inside while crispy on the outside. It was very good but a lot to eat in one sitting, even for  Ron and me, so with the left overs, we made sandwiches and had some for 
dinner too. 


Mel had battered fish with salad with white dressing.  She must have liked it because she almost finished it all.  I had an Argentinian beef on the grill with salad.

We all had a mug of beer!

After such a heavy lunch, we had a long walk!

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