I really struggled with putting together an itinerary for our weekend trip to Warsaw. Though I sat and stared at tourism information for hours, nothing was really jumping out at me. So my usual super-organized and planning self left for Warsaw without a real inclination for what I was about to witness.
I think it was better that way. Yes, I usually like to know what a city has to
offer so that I make sure not to miss out on anything worthwhile, but at the
same time, it’s nice to wander aimlessly around a beautiful city and follow
whatever whim catches your eye/nose/ear. Warsaw is a city full of sensory information,
and I’m afraid that if we had a detailed plan mapped out, we may have missed
out on several memories. Over the next two days I will outline just a few of
the things that we stumbled upon in Warsaw.
Parks. Warsaw is known as Europe’s
greenest city due to the amount of parks and designated green spaces in the
city limits. Our hotel was situated right across from the largest of these, Lazienki
Krolewskie (Royal Baths). Since the park was so close to our hotel, we headed
there on Saturday morning for a quick jog. I was surprised to see a ‘no dogs’
sign on the park gate, and thought that seemed rather unfriendly.
We had dinner
that night with Warsaw residents and work colleagues of Jonathan's, and we asked about this
restriction. Apparently, Warsaw designates between parks for recreation and
parks for relaxation. Lazienki is evidently for relaxation, and not only are
you not allowed to walk your dog in the park, you are also not allowed to run
in it. Oops.
Sure enough, when I went back to look at the restriction signs, it
seems that there is an X through a jogger. You are also not allowed to
roller blade, sit on the grass, listen to music, bicycle, or do tai chi.
So what are you allowed to do in
the park? Sit on a park bench and read a good book. Stroll hand in hand with
your sweetheart on a sunny day. Admire amazing sculptures placed throughout the
Listen to piano concerts. Watch opera performances.
Visit a floating
Feed red squirrels.
Eat gelato. Drink beer. Gaze at peacocks.
lots and lots of pictures.
weekend, I managed to do all of the above mentioned activities and I could see
Lazienki Park becoming a favorite spot of mine if we were ever to move to
Warsaw, though I’d still be bummed to have to leave my dogs behind.
Not all of Warsaw's parks prohibit dogs. We also visited the dog friendly Saxon Gardens which is the oldest park in the city and houses the
tomb of the unknown soldier.
pierogis. When I first started asking advice for our Warsaw trip, I kept
hearing over and over again: “You have to try pierogis!”. It wasn’t until the
day I left for my trip that I actually took the time to look up what a pierogi is. It’s basically
a traditional Polish pastry stuffed with various goodies, mostly meat- though you
can get vegetarian and dessert ones as well. They come boiled or baked
depending on your preference. Within an hour of arriving in Poland, I was
seated at a restaurant staring down my first pierogi.
This one was boiled with
minced beef and cottage cheese. It was pretty delish, and what I like to
classify as “soul food”. Not satisfied with just one variety, we decided to
stop later in the night at this restaurant we found in Old Town in order to try
some baked pierogis.
Though I preferred the baked crust to the boiled one, I
made a mistake in ordering something with ‘pickle’ listed in the ingredients.
The Poles are fond of their pickles but I am not so keen and found the minimal
ingredient to be a bit overpowering. And that was the end of my brief and
intense love affair with pierogis.
That's all for today, but come back tomorrow for a recap on the big ticket tourist items of Old Town and the Warsaw Rising Museum. Here's a sneak peak: