Tuesday, 17 October 2017

A Tale of Two (Polish) cities - Sep 2017

It’s September and so far I’ve actually managed to go somewhere every month. Wey hey! For this trip I took 3 flights over 3 days on my first visit to Poland.
My flight out was with Ryanair and there was the initial thought of ‘what happens if my flight is cancelled’ as it was during their ‘let’s cancel 50 flights a day so our staff can take holiday’ initiative. Thankfully my flight to Wroclaw wasn’t affected. I

flew LOT airlines to Warsaw (hadn’t heard of them til I was booking flights). They're a decent airline and give you a chocolate bar and a drink on the 50 minute flight. More than BA who I flew home with who have cut all complimentary drinks and snacks on their short hauls. Enough about flights.

Wroclaw is the largest city in western Poland and the fourth largest in the country.
I hadn’t planned much for this stop as I was only spending one day here. I started with a walk to and around the old town. Lovely buildings and cobbled streets.
My first purchase was an ice-cream cone. Mascarpone with honey and nuts. Absolutely amazing. My only regret is that I settled for one scoop. The first impression I got of this city unfortunately was how aggressive the beggars were. I was followed, poked repeatedly with a beggar’s cup and had a cup shoved so close to my face I had to turn my head swiftly to avoid a collision. There was more to follow in Warsaw.
The city was quiet during the day on a Tuesday as I wondered around. I passed a filming set which looked as though they were shooting a commercial but it may have been a film. From the old town I walked through market square to Slodowa Island. I usually prefer printed maps during my explorations but the one from the hotel wasn’t very good and I had to resort to Google map (praise God for the ability to use data plans freely in the EU). The walk was very pretty, scenic and most of it along the river once I left the city walls. The island was quiet which was to be expected at this time of the year but it had an unspoken beauty and was very peaceful.
I determined I’d walk to the musical fountain which was a further 46 mins walk from where I was. I had already been walking for 2 hours but thought my fitbit would thank me. The fountain was larger than I expected and dispiste it being too early for the lights and music I loved it. There was a small coffee van and seats for customers lined along one side of the fountain. 
Literally behind was the Japanese garden. I wasn’t able to spend as long here as I would have linked as I had set myself the challenge of walking back to the hotel. A further 50 minutes.
Dinner was in a restaurant where no one spoke English. It was kind of like a buffet where food was on display and you selected what you wanted, it was weighed and you paid by gram. I ended up with some cottage cheese like dumpling, fish and some interesting potatoes. The salad bar was a bit easier to understand and so was the dessert table where I had a very delicious coconut cheesecake. 
Warsaw is the capital of and largest city in Poland.
It rained virtually throughout my entire stay here. Despite the persistent rain I was determined to explore this city by foot. I walked the 46 mins from my hotel to the Old Town where I picked with a walking tour. A brief history of Poland and how it changed when the Germans and Russians invaded. here was the on going joke about how Krakow and Warsaw hated each other. What I found most interested about this tour was the slight inside into the Jewish way of life prior to the war.
By the end my trainers and socks were soaked through and so I defeatedly caught the bus. I had only the one pair of shoes so I resorted to blow drying them with the hair dryer so I’d have something to wear to dinner.
Dinner that night was at Zapiecek. I didn’t have a reservation and had to wait outside until a table became available. It’s a tiny restaurant but rated as one of the best in the area for traditional Polish food. I started with meat dumplings, followed by the pork knuckle and pork ribs.
The walking tour had me intrigued about Jewish history and so I walked (through the rain again) to the Museum of he history of Polish Jews. What I loved about this museum was that in it’s six rooms, only one concentrated on the war. The others showed how the Jews arrived in Poland, their lifestyles, beliefs and so much more. There was information about their exodus to Israel after the war and figured that’s why I had bumped not so many Israeli tourist here, more-so than any other country I’ve visited to date.
Another long walk on another rainy day meant that my trainers were now soaked through and unlike the previous day when I’d be able to dry them at the hotel, I was heading straight to the airport after my museum visit. There was no way i was going to bored a flight with wet feet so I purchased as part of very cheap, very fluorcent pair of shoes - and the socks to match.
One of the great things about credit cards being so widely accepted (and my Nationwide select credit card not charging commission) is that you don’t have to try to guess how much currency to change before you leave home and carry large amounts of foreign money with you. The downside to that though is that I been to some countries (Sweden) where I haven’t even seen their local currency. To combat this I try to change around £10 -£20 in local currency so I can see what the country’s money looks like. I got 40zlt for my £8.69. Turns out the only time I really needed it was to tip my walking tour guide and everywhere else took credit card.

With my last 7zlt I purchased a few items from a bakery near the hotel. I had a sausage roll with was filled with ketchup and I disliked. A cheese filled bread pastry which was very sweet. A custard type cream filled donut which I thought wold be that great but was surprisingly good and a very light bread which was plain, but nice.

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