Saturday, July 29, 2023

City Break - Warsaw

Warsaw, Poland. Tuesday/Sunday 25/30-July-2023

Off in search of culture, a J for our parkrun alphabet and some fresh air after the Italian heatwave! The visit was slighter longer because we didn't fancy the Thursday 6am flight from Bari; 11:20 on a Tuesday is more our style.

We booked in the Jabłonna Palace as it was the actual location for the parkrun and looked lovely. It is a little way out from Warsaw - an hour on the bus / tram or half an hour in an Uber, which was ridiculously cheap at £6.

Palace dining room with frescoes, where we ate breakfast.

Tuesday 25th: After trying and failing to follow the Jabłonna parkrun route, we headed out to eat at local Restauracja Buchnikowa Chata. Enjoyed the food, beer, friendly staff and lovely temperatures. An added bonus was the beautiful skies on the walk back to the hotel.

Salmon tartar, beet salad & beer - delicious.

It looks like the sky is on fire!

Wednesday 27th: A bit of a rainy day so we made our own entertainment. First off the the main station and accompanying shopping centre in search of a guidebook. We ended up with a laminated map which was just as well given the weather. We wandered around the old town getting ourselves oriented.

Nearing the end of our our wanderings we came across a noticeboard which explained about the shop signs in the old market square and showed their locations. A quick about face and back to the square to look at the oldest examples. Some shops have changed but others still offer the same goods or services.

Thursday 28th:  A great morning's cycling with Station Warsaw. We learned about the Warsaw Uprising when the Polish resistance fought back in 1944 and subsequent razing of the city in retribution which resulted in about 85% of the city centre being demolished.

A stop down by the river. The mermaid features all through Warsaw's history.

The Royal Castle.

Maria Skłodowska-Curie - Warsaw's most famous daughter.

In the afternoon we visited the excellent Muzeum Warszawy. Great view over the "old" square (rebuilt after WWII) from the top floor of the museum.

We found a couple of great bars just off the main square with an amazing selection of beers.

Thursday's beer selection.

Friday 28th: Another rainy day was forecast so we decided on indoor activities starting with a visit to the Royal Palace. Opulent and impressive, with audio guides providing essential historic background.  

Rooms intended to impress!

Apparently the king who created the palace was a great lover of art and choose a lot of the pieces himself. Minerva & Apollo frame a door.

Then we moved onto a fun session learning to make pierogi with Pierogi & More. Our attempts at pierogi. Please don't look too closely.

The team with their certificates at the end of the course - with members from Canada, Holland, Australia and us!

Back to the Royal Castle to see their exhibition of masterpieces then time for more essential beer research. It was back to the sister bar to yesterday's with an even more extensive collection of interesting beers. Mary could not decide so had two at the same time!

Beer was followed by an enjoyable Chopin concert with Time for Chopin. Waiting for the pianist we had an atmospheric view of the rain on the conifers outside.

The programme.

Then time for supper!

Saturday 29th: parkrun Jabłonna done and a J for the parkrun alphabet. Only when we arrived at the start point we discovered it was their 300th event which meant lots of runners and walkers plus cake and jolity. Very enjoyable 3 and a bit lapper through the woods. Mary surprised by the huge cheers she got at the finish line but it turned out that, at position 116, she was the person who broke the previous course attendance record. The previous record was 115 people on 26th August 2017 and that's why there was so much cheering! The finally tally was 125.

Posing before the start.

Mary volunteered as parkwalker.

Cheers at the finish line.

The official photographers took some great photos.

The record-breaking team at parkrun Jabłonna.

Afternoon was an informative but sombre walking tour learning more about the history of the Warsaw Jewish community with the Orange Umbrella Free Tour Warsaw. Our walking tour ended at the Umschlagplatz Monument to the Treblinka Jews. 

Between the Schindler factory tour in Krakow and this tour we have learned so much about the shocking and indescribably inhumane treatment of the Jews under Nazi occupation. There are no words. Especially poignant in Warsaw as before the war there about 450,000 Jews there, some areas more than 50% of the population.

When in Poland we have to drink vodka so Mary organised a trip to the Polish Vodka Museum to learn about, and taste, Polish vodkas.

Our guide Marta explained the history and led us through the rooms in the museum each getting gradually more interactive. Then onto the tasting.

We paid for the deluxe tasting which got you four vodkas including vodkas made from wheat, potato, rye and special wheat filtered through charcoal; and we got a certificate.

Mary bought a t-shirt which says, in Polish, 

"Life begins
at 50
ml of vodka".

Sunday 30th: Up, breakfast and an Uber off to the airport for the return to Italy.

No comments: