Warsaw: The Nation's Capital

Trip Start Feb 06, 2011
Trip End Sep 15, 2011

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Where I stayed

Flag of Poland  , Central Poland,
Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I could have easily stayed a few more days in Krakow but I still had to cover over 500 km to get to Northern Poland so I spent my last morning touring Oskar Schindler's factory (a little disappointing to be honest!) and then took a 5 hour afternoon train out to Warsaw, the nation's capital since 1596.  The city was completely destroyed by the Nazis in WWII but has managed to rebuild itself into one of the fastest growing cities in Europe.  When I got out of the train station, I knew immediately that Krakow would be my favourite of the two.  There were gargantuan office buildings, hotels, and shopping centres littered all over the financial district.  I checked into my hostel which claimed to be a 5 minute walk from the train station.  It was more like 20 minutes.  For some odd reason, I was really craving Asian food so I did some research and found out that one of Lonely Planet's top picks was a Vietnamese run joint called Co Tu just off one of the main eating districts in the city.  Apparently, there is a thriving Vietnamese immigrant population in Warsaw and "pho" was actually named in the top 5 foods to eat in the capital.  I ordered the "fried noodle with tofu and vegetables" and it wasn't half bad!  It looks quite unappetizing in the picture but it definitely hit the spot after a long day on the train.  

 The next morning, I set off to do as much sightseeing as possible since I only had one full day in Warsaw.  Unfortunately, the museum I was most interested in visiting was closed on Tuesdays!  Instead, I had an amazing breakfast at E. Wedel's, a famous dessert and sweets shop in Poland.  They serve over 20 different types of hot drinking chocolate (watermelon or chili anyone?) and other chocolate based desserts.  My breakfast combo consisted of a cup of dark drinking chocolate, freshly squeezed orange and grapefruit juice, a chocolate croissant, a selection of fresh rolls with jams, butter and chocolate spread AND muesili with yoghurt for a mere price of 19 zloty ($6.70 CDN).  The same breakfast in Vancouver would probably cost 3 to 4 times as much.  I walked to the Old Town (not really that old since every building was rebuilt to its original specifications after the war) and attended the noon organ concert at St. John's Cathedral, Warsaw's oldest church (also rebuilt).  The Old Town was pretty but it just didn't have the same charm as Krakow's Old Town.  After wandering for a few hours, I visited Lazienki Park, a beautiful green space in the city popular with both locals and tourists.  Features include a giant Frederic Chopin monument and an ornamental lake complete with live peacocks.  I clearly hadn't satisfied my Asian food fix so I went to Que Hong, a hole in the wall that served pho, fried chicken AND kebabs.  Online reviews claimed it was the best pho in town.  The broth was fairly good but the noodles just didn't have the right texture.  Off to Sopot tomorrow!
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