So, back in Poland after 10 years. What to do, what to do…
I decided to take advantage of my grandma’s central location to some of Warsaw’s best attractions and walked towards the Stare Miasto (Old Town). Basically this is the route: you start on Nowy Swiat (New World street), which eventually turns into Krakowskie Przedmiescie street, which runs right into the Old Town.
This street has changed so much in the past 10 years! It was always a more modern part of this route, lined with little shops. But now it’s completely re-done, and is literally restaurants after bar after cafe, and each place has an outdoor patio area, so the entire street is lined with people eating and drinking outside.
If only I had someone to eat and drink with! Guess I just have to eat alone – there’s even a Spanish tapas place and a Mexican restaurant (I tried both of course, and they were pretty good but not 100% authentic (man, I miss Mexican food!)).
Let’s not forget that this is where you can find a Starbuck’s. I’m not a die-hard Starbuck’s fan, but I must admit it’s comforting to see a “familiar face” in essentially and country you visit.
And good news: the pet store is still there!
This is where the historically significant landmarks begin:
- Holy Cross Church: this is where Chopin’s heart lies (his body is buried in Paris).
- Warsaw University
- Hotel Bristol: apparently plenty of famous people have stopped here, including JFK and Woody Allen.
- Presidential Palace: yes, the scene of daily demonstrations about the infamous cross.
Stare Miasto (Old Town)
This is the Old Town, restored to its pre-war beauty after being completely destroyed. Naturally, nothing here would have changed in the past ten years – it’s as beautiful as I remember it! Every time I walk towards the Old Town, I just want to take a picture of the Plac Zamkowy (Castle Square):
Walk through the square and down one of the cobble-stone streets. They’re lined with restaurants, churches, stores full of amber jewelry or Polish folk art, galleries, and walk-up windows selling waffles, hot dogs or ice cream. Then you get to the best part – Rynek Starego Miasta (Old Town Square):
It’s difficult to capture in a picture, but the square is lined with colorfully-painted stone houses, with galleries or restaurants or stores at the ground level (including a tourism info office full of brochures in English). The square itself is filled with tables where restaurant guests can eat traditional Polish food (among other cuisines). Wherever there’s spare room, artists stand selling paintings of the square or other Polish landscapes. The square is also home to Warsaw’s symbol, the mermaid.
And during the summer, there are also other events hosted here, including Warsaw’s Summer Jazz Days.
If you keep walking, you’ll run into the Barbakan (Barbican) and eventually Nowe Miasto (New Town).