Warsaw, Poland

Warsaw, or Warszawa, is the capital of Poland.

I was in Warsaw twice. The first time, we had just a few hours there with Dj’s buddy. We left our luggage there before heading to Santorini, the first stop to our pre-exchange travels. We only had time to dump our luggage, have breakfast and wander about for a couple of hours before we had to head back to the airport.

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Warsaw Old Town

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Monument of the Warsaw Mermaid (Pomnik Warszawskiej Syrenki) at Old Town Market Square (Rynek Starego Miasta) – the centre and oldest part of Warsaw’s Old Town

In October, I was back again to spend some time with Dj on his birthday. I took the overnight train from Graz to Warsaw – a painful 11 hour journey. But I was so happy to see him again, considering we had cried buckets when we said goodbye in Vienna.

When I arrived in Warsaw, I was greeted by the colours of fall, which had yet to hit Graz. It was beautiful – red, orange and yellow leaves.

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The first thing we did was to have some Pierogi at Zapiecek.

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Served with bacon and onion gravy (a.k.a. bacon and onion in grease)

Pierogi are Polish dumplings that can be made with a variety of fillings, both sweet and savoury. You can order them fried or boiled. I chose the boiled, for health reasons. I heard the fried ones are good too. We wanted to have pierogi the first time we were in Warsaw, but it was too early in the morning and most restaurants were not open yet. Also, I doubt they are considered breakfast food! I was glad I got to try them this time, because they were yummy!

We ordered a mix of fillings. My favourite was the spinach, turkey and the cheese filled ones. Not a big fan of buckwheat. At all.

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I think it’s pretty amazing that almost every country has its own version of different foods. Dumplings can be found all over the world – in China, India, Germany, Poland, Italy, the Middle East and just about any country!

After brunch, we took a walk around Old Town, to the parts we didn’t get to see the last time.

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Church of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary (Kościół Nawiedzenia Najświętszej Marii Panny)

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The Warsaw Barbican (Barbakan Warszawski) – the remnants of Warsaw’s defensive walls, which were erected in 154os

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The Royal Castle (Zamek Królewski w Warszawie)

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King Sigismund’s Column (Kolumna Zygmunta) 

After much walking, we decided to stop for some ice cream. This swirly ice cream is called the “Amerykańskie Świderki”, which Google translates to “American Fusilli”. Ahhh, I see it now!

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Amerykańskie Świderki. Ice cream makes us feel like children again.

Oh, and I think I forgot to mention how things in Poland are super cheap compared to Western Europe. Coming from Graz, I was just appalled at how much I was paying back home!

We continued our walk through Old Town, and then we headed to Łazienki Park.

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Łazienki Park, or Łazienki Królewskie, is the biggest park in Warsaw. Its name translates to “Royal Bath”. The park is just stunning with the autumn hues.

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Fallen leaves

We spent a long time there just walking and enjoying the view. I fell in love with fall! 🙂

We walked back to the Old Town, and by then, it was about time we had our early dinner.

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Warsaw Uprising Monument (Pomnik Powstania Warszawskiego)

We decided to have dinner at Kluska Polska, which claims to have the “best noodles in Europe since A.D. 1682”. Well, seems like a puff, but I must say, I was very impressed by the food here.

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 Kluska Polska
 
We ordered two different kinds of noodles (which are actually dumplings).
 
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Dill kopytka with Highlander’s goulash with peppersI had this and I pretty much wolfed down the entire plate. It was really filling as the dumplings are very starchy. Kopytka is a kind of potato dumpling, much like gnocchi. The name actually means “little hooves”. The goulash was so very yummy! No regrets having this at all.IMG_0019Silesian potato noodles with turkey in horseradish sauce

Dj had the Silesian potato noodles, which are called kluski. They also tasted like gnocchi, albeit slightly chewier and in a different shape! The horseradish sauce was also really good.

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Overall, a good dining experience for us both. And the interior of the restaurant is really artistic too.
 
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Old Town Market Square (Rynek Starego Miasta)

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Palace of Culture and Science (Pałac Kultury i Nauki)

The Palace of Culture and Science is the tallest building in Poland. It was originally named after Joseph Stalin, and was considered a gift from the Soviet Union to Poland. I think some animosity still exists towards this “gift”, which was deemed as a symbol of Soviet domination. The joke is that the best view of the city is from the tower, as you can’t actually see the building. HAH! The next day, we would return here to decide whether we would head up to the terrace.

The next morning, we went to the weekend flea market. There were antiques, furniture, rugs, cutlery, clothes and all sorts of other knick knacks on sale. Nothing caught our fancy though. Even if it did, I don’t think our baggage allowance would permit any purchases.

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We went back to the Palace of Culture and Science, but we decided not to go up to the terrace because the weather didn’t seem so great. I kind of regret not going up though. I saw some friends’ photos and it looked pretty awesome.

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Palace of Culture and Science

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Us, walking randomly

We stopped by W Biegu Café (because they advertised really cheap chai tea latte) to have a drink and some dessert.

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One of the best chai lattes I’ve had

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Apple crumble tart

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And that was the end of my Warsaw trip. We headed back to get my stuff packed before I caught the overnight train back to Graz. Those dreadful, sleepless train rides!

I had a really good time with Dj. This was the first time I really had some quality time alone with him.

My boyfriend, my best friend and my best travel buddy! 🙂

Goodbye, Warsaw.

Warsaw, Poland

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