Published: January 6th 2008December 22nd 2007
Warsaw December 19 - 22
I arrived in Warsaw and once again began the search for the right bus to take me to my hostel. Of course, I had trouble finding the bus stop because the number was hidden behind a post. Once on the bus, however, it was very easy to find my stop because it showed the "next stop" up above the driver. My hostel was very nice, except for the fact that at least one of my roommates smoked in the room.
Anyway, on my first morning I was up bright and early to try and find my way around the city. It turned out that my hostel was not very far from Old Town - where most of the touristy stuff was located. On the way there, though, the road was under construction which made me think that I was going the wrong way. But I made it to the castle, which didn't open for another hour. So, I went to see the memorial to the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. The Warsaw Underground was the only underground movement that was supported financially by its government in exile. Right across from the memorial was what was once a
palace and is now the national library. After the memorial I made my way down to the Barbican and what was left of the city walls. Right near the city walls is the Little Insurgents Monument which is dedicated to all the children who participated in and lost their lives during the Warsaw Uprising. Then I took a tour of the Royal Castle (Zamek Krolewski) which was totally destroyed in WWII and rebuilt afterwards to look as close to what it did before as possible. They had pictures of what the city looked like in 1945 and it was easy to believe that Warsaw was the most damaged occupied city in WWII. Back to the castle. The rooms were gorgeous, my favorite being the Marble Room. I found it odd that besides displaying pictures and busts of Polish dignitaries there were also busts of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Ben Franklin and pictures of Charles I and Charles II. The most prominently displayed figure was that of Stanislas who live in the 1700s and made many renovations to the castle that are seen in the rooms today. Also displayed were both a painting and statue of Jan Sobieski - for
all of you who know little towns of mid-Minnesota. After the castle I wandered through St. John's Cathedral which was also rebuilt after the war and then down to the Museum of the History of Warsaw. The exhibit that I liked most was about what happened to the children of Warsaw after the Uprising. The museum also took me through the many different stages that the town and Poland went through, with regards to what country had control over Poland. The constitution, which predates that of France, was also on display.
Tired of museums, I decided that it was time for lunch. I couldn't find the place that I was looking for, but did find my way back to the train station. Finally I gave up and settled for Subway. Then, cold and tired, I trekked back to my hostel.
The following morning, I was up before any of my roommates who had gotten back at like 2 am, and I set off in search of more monuments. I figure I walked about four miles before 1:30 at which time I gave up for the day and went to get warm. To begin the morning, I wandered to where the
Jewish ghetto had been and where the memorial to the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1942 was. Along the streets were placed separate memorial stones to the leaders of the Ghetto Uprising. There was also a monument where selection for deportation took place, but it was under construction. Then I went back down past the train station to the other end of the city, past the US Embassy to one of the parks. The park I went to contained a statue/tribute to Chopin, who lived in Warsaw for years, and The Palace on the Water (Palac na Wodzie). The Palace was worth the walk. However, by that time I was freezing and decided that I had seen enough, so I found lunch and made my way back to the hostel to try and get warm.
With three days left to go until Christmas, I decided to save myself the 3 zlotys and walk to the train station to catch my train for a 6 hour ride to Berlin. I really enjoyed Warsaw, but I think if I were to visit again I would like to go in the spring or summer when it is warmer and when I could enjoy all
of the parks.
There are more photos below