WARSAW IN 2 DAYS?
-What is worth seeing?-
The summer has come and gone so quickly for me this year. A few months packed with short yet lovely trips around Europe, discovering some of the cities and countries that I didn’t have a chance to see when I was still chained behind a desk in London.
I’ve always wanted to visit Poland and its capital, Warsaw, and when I received an invitation from their Tourism Board “Fall in Love with Warsaw” I was obviously very excited!
To be completely honest, I didn’t have a clue on what to expect from the city, I’ve been fascinated by it mostly because of the Oscar Winning movie “The Pianist”, quite a sad movie that showed a city completely destroyed by the devastating bombing during the second World War.
A city that, despite the horrible past, was able to rise from its ashes, put that sad part of history behind and turn into a vibrant modern, yet classic city.
WARSAW FROM MY HOTEL ROOM
My Misadventure Turned Into a “Wow” Experience!
I had a little more than 3 days to explore the city before catching the train to visit Krakow and I obviously intended to make the most out of it.
Probably for the first time in my life, I did some preliminary research before the trip, as the timing was tight and I didn’t want to miss anything important.
Unfortunately, during my 3 years of traveling nonstop I’ve learned my lesson well: nothing goes according to plans, and this was no exception.
My visit to Poland, and Warsaw in particular, started on a negative note. Not because of the city itself, but because I managed to beat a personal negative record: three missed connection flights due to massive delays and a lost luggage, the second lost luggage in just 3 weeks!
I was supposed to arrive in Warsaw at midday and I had already planned on taking the local buses and stroll around the city for a very first impression and use the remaining 2 days to visit the main attractions (more on it later!)
Well, due to my unlucky star, I had to wait in my room for more than 24 hours for my luggage to show up, being able to “see” the city just from my balcony.
Needless to say I was beyond furious, but I got very lucky as I managed to stay in one of the most incredible “hotels” in town, which I can’t recommend enough as it’s totally unique and also because the owner, Lucy, one of the coolest people I’ve ever met!
The Wow Factor!!!
This is not a proper Hotel, it is difficult to describe its super cool, unique rooms and the “feel at home” vibe of this place. You have to try for yourself !
My Lovely Room
The colorful Living Room, mixing Modern &Vintage elements
I have to admit it, no matter how disappointed I was for my lost luggage and exhaustion after a trip that turned into a real odyssey, as soon as they showed me my room (which had, what a coincidence, my date of birth as a number!) my first reaction was “OH MY! IS THIS FOR REAL?!”
If you only need one reason to visit Warsaw, set aside for the other amazing things you can experience, staying at this place would be it!
And mind you, everyone knows how much I hate reviewing hotels unless they have something cool, or particularly interesting… In this case, I actually WANT to talk about it so badly, as it was definitely one of the highlights of my trip!
Hotel Rooms is an apartment located in the city center (in the heart of the modern side of Warsaw), converted into a “hotel” where each room is designed with specific elements and made unique by several local artists.
There are 4 rooms in total and I got to see them all. Each one has something that will make you go “wow! This is super cool! In my room the “wow factor was definitely the shower! I had never seen anything like that before.
You can spot it on the right side of the canopy bed, built in with transparent glass (maybe not ideal if you have privacy issues) 😀 but so cool that, for a moment, I hesitated to get in, as I didn’t want to ruin that perfect piece of art!
Not to mention that (without the management knowing it), they put me in the room with the canopy bed, one of the things I love the most! So that when I was living in a filthy whole in Rome, I bought one and created my Arabian nights bed. That’s how crazy I am about canopy beds.
MORE ON HOTEL ROOMSIf you are curious to see the other rooms, or book your stay with them, you can have a look at their website in here! (not to be missed!)
TOP 4 THINGS TO DO IN WARSAW IN 2 DAYS
So, what did I end up doing?!
There is so much going on in Warsaw, especially during summer, that it was quite challenging for me to choose just a handful of activities and experiences, but I made sure to pick some memorable ones!
This is what I did, considering that I just had one and a half day left to explore:
HOP ON- HOP OFF BUS
Touristy? Duh! But worth it ( if you don’t have much time).
I know, I know, the Hop-On hop-Off bus is THE most touristic way to discover a city, not exactly what I was planning to do.
My original idea was to discover Warsaw like a local, using the public transport, but I had to face the harsh reality: I didn’t have the time for that!
Additionally, I had never used these buses and I was actually curious to see if they were worth a try. All in all, given the circumstances, I have to admit that it was the best choice for me.
There are 2 routes available (blue and red) and I decided to go with the red one, as it stopped very near to my hotel.
On the left is the famous Palace of science (sometimes pictures through the windows might have nice effects!) We passed by the old city and the Lazienky gardens, the highlights I wanted to see before the piano concert.
The ticket costs 60 zt for 24hrs and 80 zt for 48 hours. The ride was very enjoyable, and I decided to also use the headphone and listen to the guided explanation of what I was actually seeing.
I didn’t get off at each stop, and for a good part of the trip I wasn’t’ sure whether to get off at Stare Miasto (Old Town) or to go for the piano concert. Decisions, decisions.
In the end, I opted for the second option, thinking that an experience like that only happens once in a while (every Sunday during summer, and that was a Sunday), whilst the old town would have been there whenever I decided to get back to Warsaw.
All in all, I recommend using the service if it’s your first time in Warsaw and you don’t have much time but still want to have at least a glimpse of the main city attractions.
Plus, there is nothing bad in being a proper old-fashioned tourist once in a while J
PIANO CONCERT AT LAZIENKY PARK
Magic in its purest form!
If I had to chose one and only one activity to try in Warsaw that would be it. Best decision ever!
When I hopped off the bus and entered the Lazienky Royal Gardens, it was like entering a magical world. Imagine at least 200 people sitting on the grass around a small lake in front of the Chopin monument at the main entrance.
The atmosphere was surreal to say the least. Not a sound, except those familiar notes, the ones I’d heard so many times on my iPod (yes I love Chopin!) and that reminded me of the famous movie that made me fall in love with Warsaw even before my very first visit.
This was the tune that greeted me when I was still busy in finding a nice spot to sit and enjoy the show, as close as possible to the piano of course!
I have to confess it, maybe it was the music, the surreal silence and the connection with the movie “The Pianist”, but I was mesmerized and moved by the experience.
A young woman, Monika Quinn, wearing a green gala dress, was playing from 12:00 until 3:30 pm. Three and a half hour in heaven listening to her. All my troubles and anger from the previous day simply disappeared.
At the end of the concert I was so relaxed and I decided to further discover the rest of the park, the biggest one in Warsaw, part of the “Royal Route”, taking it easy and experimenting with my new camera and lenses.
I couldn’t have chosen a better place or a better day. I recommend this experience 100% to everyone, even to those who are not fanatics for classical music.
NIGHT VIEW FROM THE PALACE OF CULTURE AND SCIENCE
Romantic or perfect if you love photography
If you are strolling around the modern part of Warsaw, rest assured that you won’t miss this building, the tallest one in Warsaw, perfect for a great view by night.
And that’s exactly what I did on my last day in Warsaw. Armed with my camera, I headed towards the building at around 7.30 pm, and I was lucky because the building closed at 8:00pm (I was told that during the weekend it stayed open till 11:30 pm, not sure why they closed it earlier that Saturday).
I rushed to the elevator, squeezed in between 2 people with massive zoom lenses and professional video cameras (my envy was growing by the minute!), I finally reached the 30th floor where I was lucky to catch a spectacular red moon rising over the light blue night sky.
So where is the picture of this spectacular event?! Erhmm as I said, I was still learning how to find the best settings for the camera and until I figured it out, the moon was way up in the sky, still looking beautiful but it had already changed her glorious red dress to her usual white one. Shame on me!
Ok, Ok, I took a few ones but the result is not even close to the actual beautiful show I was witnessing.
Plus, close to me there was a professional cameraman (the one I met in the elevator), and the assistant had a massive zoom so I was too busy envying them than trying to sort out my settings. If this was an Instagram post: #photographyobsessed 😀
MORE INFOTo know more you can read this post, with opening hours, nearest metro station and more.
WATCH THE MULTIMEDIA COLORFUL FOUNTAIN SHOW
You can’t miss this for any reason!
After visiting the Building of culture and science, Lucy (my hero and owner at Author Rooms) picked me up and dropped me off at the old city near the Vistula River, a very popular place for young people to hang out during summer.
Every Friday and Saturday, starting from 9:30pm June till September and at 9:00 in May and October you can admire one of the best multimedia water shows in Europe!
I found a comfortable sit on the fountain border and for more than 1 hour I took pictures of this colorful event, which includes sounds, laser lights and, at the end of the show, also a screen appearing in the air featuring dragons, animated cartoons and more.
My days in Warsaw started with gloomy colors due to my usual misadventure, but the fountain show made it up for it big time!
The show is totally free, and wherever you might be in town, don’t miss it for any reason! It was well worth the ride from the palace of culture and back, always thanks to Lucy that came over to rescue me from a way too friendly tourist from Russia.
He could barely speak any English and insisted in trying to have a conversation with me. It wasn’t a dangerous situation but annoying? Hell yes!
On a side note: I wouldn’t say that Warsaw is a dangerous place for solo travelers, just don’t be too friendly with the occasional drunk tourist and you should be fine!J
The people and…the transports!
I obviously loved my stay in Warsaw, the city has so much to offer from the young travelers to the tourists that appreciate history and architecture.
I was a bit disappointed because I wasn’t able to visit the Jewish museum, something I really care about, as I’m very sensitive, especially when it comes to their persecution during the war.
Not a coincidence that for the first time in my blogging career I was able to write a blog post (the one about my visit to Auschwitz) in less than 4 hours.
There are two other aspects that are worth mentioning for Warsaw and Poland in general:
THE PEOPLE: Ah the polish people are splendid! So cheerful, open and friendly! Always helpful and very nice. I have a few friends from Poland, mainly people I met during my trips and they were awesome companions and the locals were no exception!
THE TRANSPORTS: Warsaw is so well organized, neat and easy to navigate. Set aside my experience on the Hop on-Hop off bus, on my last day I was also able to use the public transports and they are super efficient and very clean.
I also took a train to get from Warsaw to Krakow and I was super impressed by their services. Traveling by train is one of my favorite mode of transport and the Polish ones are top notch!
They even have the USB plug, the hanger for the jacket/bags and each seat has its own table. Super classy but cheap! Highly recommended if you want to move around Poland!
Have you ever been to Warsaw? Leave me your impressions and more suggestions on the comments!
MY FINAL RATINGS TO WARSAW:
My trip to Warsaw was made possible thanks to: Fall In Love with Warsaw, the Official Tourism Organization. They are very well organized and have an extremely useful website if you’re planning a visit to the city. You can also find them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Needless to say, all the opinions expressed in here are my own as usual.