Monday, October 29, 2018

NORTHERN COUNTRY TOUR - WARSOW (Poland)

Here is a map of the whole tour and how it started.

When we arrived in Warsaw the capital of Poland, I could see out of the bus windows the varied architecture from Gothic churches and neoclassical palaces to Soviet-era blocks and modern skyscrapers. It looked very modern and not at all as I had imagined. To be honest I had very mixed feelings. I had heard so much about Warsaw when I was a child, which had impressed me, like the story of my great grandma who died on the street in a trench fleeing from the Russians. My grandpa's family had a farm in Poland. I don't know very much about it, but it was enough. Today apparently the farm is still there.

We made a sightseeing tour around Warsaw with a Polish young woman as a guide. What we saw looked all very modern and charming, nothing reminded the dark times of WWII. Finally I asked the guide where the Warsaw ghetto had been. First she faked that she hadn't heard me, but as I insisted she pointed behind her where houses stood and nothing special and said it was there. I understood she didn't want to talk about it.

The fact is that 90% of Warsaw was destroyed in WWII and the population dropped from 1.3 millions in 1939 to 162.000 in 1944. Poland suffered the most in terms of percentage of the population (17% of the population died) during WWII !


Warsaw in 1945

and of course there were lots of memorials only I haven't seen them.





This house is still standing as a reminder


Warsaw is a wide spread town. Rather than being centred on an old market square, the capital is spread across a broad area with diverse architecture: restored Gothic, communist concrete, modern glass and steel.



When I saw this I couldn't believe that I was in Warsaw !



Nice old houses along a wide boulevard and not old cars but very modern once



The buses were yellow and the whole city looked welcoming and friendly.



shops, shops and shops !



and even palm trees



All these photos I took out of the bus,



Except this one it was the view I had from my hotel room in the Radisson Blu

Our bus stopped near the Lazienki park and we started to walk through the city. 


Chopin Monument

The park was very beautiful and well entertained

We learned that almost half the area of the city is green. There are as many as 95 parks with Łazienki on top of the list. In the summer, the famous Chopin Concerts take place in a unique outdoor setting.



The Warsaw Uprising Monument is dedicated to the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. Unveiled in 1989 ! It was enormous ! 



Panoramic photos from Wikipedia



Palace of Culture and Science  was a gift from the Soviet Union to the people of Poland, the tower was finished in 1955. It is the tallest building in Poland by architectural height (237 m) with theater, sports field, and 30th-floor terrace.



The St. Alexander church was built in honor of Tsar Alexander I of Russia in 1825. The church itself was designed to be similar to the Pantheon in Rome and was hit by 9 bombs during the first nazi bombing. Reconstructed with most of its similarity, it still misses two of the original towers.

When we arrived at the old town I was delighted ! It was so beautiful and looked so old, I couldn't believe that it had all been destroyed and rebuilt exactly as it had been before. 

A labyrinth of winding cobblestone streets, ornate  facades and picturesque squares with plenty of charm, I could understand why the Old Town is Warsaw’s top tourist area.

A window into the ‘once-upon-a-time’ of Warsaw’s golden days as one of the country’s architectural pearls in addition to being its cosmopolitan capital, the Old Town represents much more to Warsaw’s citizens than UNESCO accolades. They had rebuilt it entirely after the Warsaw Uprising of 1944 ! Therefore the Old Town is also symbolic of Warsaw’s rise from the ruins of WWII.  Varsovians’ can be proud of what they have achieved, it's really a wonderful job they have done. 





Honestly I was so surprised that here too on a market I could pay with my bankcard ! I didn't need local money !



The Warsaw mermaid, symbol of the city ! It's standing on a fountain where people refreshed their feet (it was very hot) birds and dogs drank the water.



Everywhere you could see shops selling Amber. Here was even one who had a Titanic model in Amber !



We ate in an old restaurant, nicely decorated and what I found so nice was that the Goulash soup was served in an emptied bread !





Little streets leading to the market square





The pastel colored houses looked beautiful



We had a drink here on the terrace



and listened to the Beatles



Then it was time to leave. The next day we would drive to Berlin.



more participants here

Linking to Travel Tuesday



8 comments:

Klara said...

bookmarking this post for my future trip to Warsaw. and greetings from Bilbao

Nicholas V said...

Lovely post and photos, Gattina. It brought back happy memories of our trip to Warsaw.
Many thanks for taking part in the Travel Tuesday meme.

William Kendall said...

The city certainly is beautiful! The monuments in particular draw my attention.

Loree said...

What a charming place. It is certainly different to what I expected.

Fun60 said...

The old town looked very picturesque with the pastel coloured houses.

Andrew said...

Aside from the old part, it looks very wide open.

mamasmercantile said...

Thanks for taking us along with you on your tour, I was impressed by the monuments in the park.

Kelleyn Rothaermel said...

Such an incredible country! Was there in 1989!

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I love painting, writing, travelling and photography. My favorit models are my four cats which I observe with fun and humor. I am German, married to an Italian and we live in Waterloo (15 km from Brussels) / Belgium since many years. Waterloo is a famous place to many tourists, because Napoleon lost his battle here against Wellington and other European countries.

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