Freezing Weekend in Warsaw!
Trip Start Aug 18, 2011
41Trip End Ongoing
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Unfortunately we chose the weekend where Europe was experiencing extreme weather. There is nothing like being a tourist in -18 weather. Imagine walking around the city with numb legs. It may not have been ideal, but we were determined to see some things while we were there. So, we trudged on.
The recent history of Warsaw was very interesting. It was almost completely destroyed in world war two, but in the 1970's thousands of donors gave money to rebuild the city in the style that it was before the war
Towering above the city is the Palace of culture and science, otherwise known as Stalin’s Wedding cake or Stalin’s penis by the locals. It was a gift from Russia in the 1950’s. Honestly it is not exactly a great gift considering it is from the country that invaded them in the beginning of world war two and then ruled over them with an iron fist after the war. However, it is there and if you go to the top you can get a great view of the city. However, go on a warm day, because it is very cold at the top.
I think the most interesting place we saw during the day was the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It used to be tucked away in one of the palaces in the city. However, the palace was destroyed and this tomb is all that is left. It is surrounded by a vast open park, where the palace and the gardens used to sit before the war
Warsaw was a very fascinating city. There were monuments all over the city with different aspects of the modern culture mixed in. Buildings and parks now sit where the infamous Warsaw ghetto once stood. There is a long strip of monument that outlines where the ghetto once stood, but none of it stands anymore.
The cold drove us inside cafes and shops to try and warm up and get the feeling back in our legs before we moved on. This was the only method we could come up with to keep warm and keep going to see the city in one day.
Victor and I decided to go to the resistance museum which is a museum all about the Polish uprising against the Germans. In 1945 the Poles saw that the Russians were not very far away, thus they felt that if they started the uprising that the Russians would come to their aid and help them drive the Germans out. However, Russia had a different plan. They waited until the Poles numbers had been destroyed, so that they could easily come in get rid of the Germans and take over Poland with little opposition, which is what happened. However, the Poles put up a good fight and even recaptured parts of the city before being defeated
The museum was fascinating and a little warmer than outside, so we were able to spend a few hours wandering around and learn about a part of the war that I had not know about. I had known about the ghetto uprising, but I had not known anything about the Warsaw uprising. This was a great in depth detailed account of the very short lived attempt by the Poles in Warsaw to try and win their freedom.
It was hunger that drove us out of the museum. Being cold and walking a lot will make you hungry very fast. Luckily we were surrounded by good looking food so we had our pick of where to go. Plus, the country of Poland is not on the Euro, so their country is much cheaper than the rest of Europe. We did not really have to budget, because everything was half what it cost in Sweden. It was nice beig able to order something other than the cheapest thing on the menu.
We tried to get back to the old town to have a real Polish dinner, but it was so cold, that we finally gave up and went to a restaurant than was not far from our hostel. We warmed up while having some fantastic pizza.
Since there is only one flight a day, we had to leave earlier form Warsaw on Sunday than we would have liked. Our hostel had been great and when we go back, we may stay there again. It was called Oki Doki and every room was different. We stayed in a forest theme room that was covered in green pain and the floor had wall paper that looked like tree bark.
On our way to the town center to catch the bus to the airport Victor forgot to close the door behind him from the hostel and got yelled at by the guard for the bank on the bottom floor of the building. Since he was yelling in Polish it was a moment before Victor figured out that the guard wanted him to close the door so that the cold air did not get in.
We caught the bus and then the plane and made out way back to Uppsala. It was a relief to find that it was a warm -5 in Sweden. I really enjoyed Warsaw and would love to go back in the spring or fall.