What: Elbphilharmonie and HafenCity Where: Hamburg, Germany Who would have…
What: My favorite tips for sightseeing and more
Where: Warsaw, Poland
How did you get the idea to spend a weekend in Warsaw, my friend asked me surprised. The capital of Poland doesn’t really count to the top tips among the European destinations and is rather rarely visited by travelers. But Warsaw is a truly positive surprise and as a city trip highly recommended.
Once you get closer to Warsaw’s center you will first pass concrete wasteland that rather reminds of Berlin-Marzahn or Hamburg-Mümmelmannsberg. As in all former countries of the Eastern bloc the socialistic construction eternalized itself in the monumental buildings, especially in the Cultural Palace, which virtually stands out of the Warsaw skyline. The building that has been built in gingerbread style was once a present of Stalin to Poland and therefore still counts as sign of oppression for many Polish people today. For sure an imposing construction. It is especially the old town that fascinated me from the beginning of my trip. Warsaw’s center has been nearly completely destroyed during the Second World War. Only in the following decades the historical houses were reconstructed with a lot of love for detail.
The Polish capital is stronger connected to the era of the Second World War than any other city. Warsaw and its mainly Jewish inhabitants have suffered immeasurably under the terror of the Nazis. It was a special need to give me an idea of the former Warsaw Ghetto and its extent. Today bronze plates paved in walkways remind of the Ghetto wall, which stretched over three square kilometers in the district of Wola from 1940 onwards. A visit to the Museum of the Warsaw Uprising ‘Powstania Warszawskiego’ also gives a comprehensive impression of this gloomy chapter of Poland’s history. Here, the story is reproduced in a multimedia and impressive way.
After the museum visit and dispute of history I now particularly notice the beauty of Warsaw. Especially in the neighborhoods of Mostowa and Stare Miasto, with their filigreed, neoclassical and baroque house-facades. Everywhere you will find small cafés that invite you to linger. One drinks tea, coffee latte or one of the craft beers brewed in Poland, before I visit the memorial site of the composer Frédéric Chopin, where the heart of the Polish national composer is kept. Speaking of Chopin: fans of his music are recommended to see one of the open-air piano concerts that take place from May to September in Łazienki Park.
It is well known that culture increases appetite for more. Those who love the hearty Polish cuisine are well served in traditional restaurants such as ‘Dawne Smaki’. In Warsaw, however, a young and modern culinary scene has also been established, such as restaurant ‘The Elephant’, which has recently been launched by Mystylery. The ‘Winosfera’ in the district Mirow is also very popular with its extensive range of wines. For a small drop-off, go to the ‘Panorama Sky Bar’ of the Marriott Hotel: simply enjoy great cocktails and the 360-degree view of the skyline of Warsaw. Then I fall tired into the bed of my hotel, the Sofitel Victoria in Warsaw’s Old Town. A smartly designed hotel with excellent service: I will certainly come back soon! BvH
How to get to Warsaw:
From Berlin the best and fastest way is to go by plane with Air Berlin or by train in 5.5 hours