Warsaw, Reflection and Assessment

Palace of Culture Warsaw

After a couple of circuits of the viewing terrace the penetrating chill of the wind forced us back inside but there was nothing else of interest inside the thirtieth floor so we waited for the lift and the yo-yo attendant took us swiftly back to the ground floor.

It was one of those places where I couldn’t help thinking that there must be more to see, but there really isn’t, a couple of souvenir shops and a café and that really is it so we made our way to the exit and left the Palace of Culture and Science and walked along a wide boulevard and back to the Old Town.  We probably wouldn’t have bothered going to the centre for a third time except for the fact that the sun was shining and we wanted to get some blue sky pictures.

We took a different route this time, which suited me just fine because it missed out all of the shops and surprisingly Kim didn’t seem to notice.  Eventually we came to a green park, Saxon Gardens, chilly and empty today but I imagine rather vibrant in the summer with fountains and classical statues lining the walkways.  The route took us past the site of the missing Saski Palace and on into Saxon Square, now renamed Piłsudski Square after one of the heroes of Polish independence in 1918 and where a brooding statue of him looks out over a vast empty concrete square where the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral once stood and which he probably had a say in demolishing!

So we walked to the Old Town which was strangely subdued this morning, the weekend street entertainers and the souvenir market stalls had all gone and the men in costume trying to persuade people to visit their bars and restaurants were having a very hard time of it.

Around the walls we walked and through the Barbican gates and then looked for new streets that we hadn’t discovered but there was no real reason to slow down and although we dawdled as best we could within twenty minutes we were back out of the streets of the pastel coloured Old Town and considering the prospect of a slow walk back towards the business quarter and the hotel.  I liked the Old Town, they have made a very good job of the restoration but for me, I have to say, it seemed to lack heart or soul.

Warsaw Old Town and Royal castle

Kim had plans to now to visit a coffee/cake shop that she had seen so we wandered along trying to relocate it.  We thought that we had found it but after we had gone in and selected a table she realised that this wasn’t it so we put our coats back on and promptly left.  After a few minutes we again thought that we had found it so we went inside into the warm and sat and chatted and reflected for a while.  As it turned out this wasn’t the one either and we walked past it a few seconds after leaving.

This was our third city visit to Poland and we were keen to make a judgement.  One thing that had surprised us was the size of the place and just how much walking was involved.  We agreed that Warsaw needed more than three days but we were not sure that we needed more than three days of Warsaw, if you know what I mean!

Warsaw was good but it doesn’t have the historical swagger or confidence of Krakow or the quirky charm of the more manageable Wroclaw because Warsaw is a modern European capital with the raw edge and the buzz of a major city.  Whilst I might consider returning to Krakow and Wroclaw, once in Warsaw I think is probably enough.

And so rather earlier than planned we made our way back to the Polonia Palace, Kim made a detour to do some shopping and I went straight back to  the room to do some reading.  I have to say that I found Warsaw to be a little bit of a disappointment.

As afternoon turned to early evening we considered our dining options. This didn’t take long.  We just headed straight back to the restaurant that we that enjoyed the previous night, Na Brackiej (which simply means – on Bracka Street).  This is silly I know but once we find somewhere we like we get in the habit of going back even though there are others to choose from.  Once in Barcelona we went to the same place four nights running and I think we had paella every night as well (different varieties of course).  Well, the place didn’t let us down and we had a second excellent meal.

This was our final night, so, although it was cold we walked the streets for a while and then returned to the hotel.  Next morning we had breakfast with a vodka shot and then made our way to the bus stop for the return journey to the airport.  It was a pleasant journey back alongside the west bank of the River Vistula and soon we were at Modlin and waiting for our return flight home!

Click on an image to scroll through the pictures…

 

11 responses to “Warsaw, Reflection and Assessment

  1. Breakfast with a vodka shot? Is that with or without the orange juice? 🙂 Did Kim ever get her cake?

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  2. Very informative and helpful, thanks! Sorry you didn’t enjoy the trip more.

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  3. I’m afraid I agree with you about Warsaw. I have thought it might be because I had a cold at the time, but I can’t work up the enthusiasm to go back. And I totally agree about the Old Town. It looks Disneyfied to me, because all the buildings are the same (newish) age.

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  4. Would you try another city in Poland? I quite like Gdansk and think you’d like it too with lots of history and a Baltic beach nearby.

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  5. I have just found your blog with Alan, Sandra and Peter.

    We have had a lovely meal and I am looking forward to seeing you on Sunday.

    Love Mum.
    XX

    (written by Pete).

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  6. Pingback: Berlin, Alexanderplatz and German Style | Have Bag, Will Travel

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