I write this as I sit in a tiny apartment in the Old Town (Stare Miasto) of Warsaw, listening to the world wake up. The small courtyard outside our apartment has been taken over by crows this morning. And, they seem to be having some sort of an argument out there and they are screaming bloody murder.
Wonderful smells of Polish breakfast are wafting in through the windows, as the neighbors ready themselves for another Sunday. The sounds of church bells are flowing in and I feel as I have been taken back in time. This is all so familiar!
It has been 25 years since I have visited Poland – my home country – and I’m realizing now, it has been way too long.
We arrived to Warsaw via high-speed train from Krakow (where my parents live) in the late afternoon. After grabbing a taxi to our AirBNB apartment, we settled in quickly, and went out to explore the town. I didn’t know quite what to expect after so many years.
My first impression: SHOCK! This is no longer the city (or even country) I remember. I have been to Warsaw only one other time before – exactly 25 years ago, on my last visit to Poland and I cannot believe the changes! I mean, intellectually I knew that after the fall of communism and after joining the European Union, Poland was going to transform. In reality, though, the metamorphoses hit me like a brick!
From old, grey, depressing-looking communist city, Warsaw has been transformed into a colorful, cheerful, artistic capital of a modern and economically-sound Poland. WOW!
Walking out onto the streets of Old Town Warsaw has been truly surprising. The feel, the vibe, is completely different now. I ran out there with my camera and couldn’t be stopped. I was truly surprised, so much so that Tim had a hard time keeping up with me. Here are cafes on every street, souvenir shops, beautifully restored buildings and churches – oh the churches! They are magnificent and they are everywhere! I could spend a day just exploring those – Incredible!
Warsaw Is Beautiful!
There are musicians playing on the streets and vendors hawking their wares to the tourists everywhere and it’s all truly beautiful. The Old Town has a distinct flare. It feels as if we are walking around a Renaissance Fair but this is not a fair, it’s for real – this is Warsaw, the capital of Poland. Warsaw is not unlike Spain (which I loved) but has its own distinct vibe of northern Europe and completely different architecture. It is also easier for us to figure out because I speak Polish.
So, the first 24 hours in Warsaw has been quite a surprise for me. This Polish city, with a history full of tribulations, destruction, and war, has been transformed into an amazing, beautiful city that I barely recognize.
So, we spent the first 24 hours, walking, exploring and eating amazing Polish food – I love it here! And if you’re wondering about Tim’s first impression, here is what he said:
I am impressed!
My husband is, obviously, a man of many words and he made his point clear. 🙂
Here are some more pictures of our exploration of the old Warsaw and the Royal Castle.
Enjoy and, if you get a chance, visit this amazing city!