After travel guide books quoted terms such as ''sprawling city centre'', ''concrete buildings'' and ''not the prettiest city in Poland'', my expectations were fairly low. However, Warsaw surprised me. The sprawling centre was 100% correct, I don't think I have ever walked so much in a day and whilst there was plenty of concrete, there was also a great deal of prettiness to the reconstructed old town and I loved learning about the tumultuous history of the city.
Our day began early, with a visit to the tomb of the unknown soldier which is situated in a picturesque park. We had timed it perfectly and were able to see the changing of the guards.
Rebuilt after its destruction in WWII, we approached the reconstructed Old Town with its charming main square (Plac Zamkowy) surrounded by beautiful buildings , including the Royal Castle. We continued to stroll through the town and enjoyed a takeaway coffee (from Shabby Chic Coffee and Wine) on The Barbican Walls. I called this ''living the Warsaw dream'' as it is a perfect spot to people watch and absorb some Polish culture.
Being a pair of Physicists we couldn't help but pop in to the Marie Curie Museum - it was small, but full of old lab equipment and interesting artifacts from her research days.
Following this we detoured to the monument to the Warsaw Rising and then wandered back through Old Town and the royal castle gardens and continued along the Royal Route (I recommend a lemonade from a street cart - delicious!) and went in search of the instagrammable library. It was a library like no other - covered in plants and the garden extends up to roof.
Our rumbling tummy's indicated that lunch was due and we headed to sketch for a well deserved rest.
The slightly intimidating gothic Palace of Science and Culture was next on our itinerary with a trip up to the viewing platform for views overlooking the city. We then got a sense of the sprawling concrete described in our lonely planet.
Following the dizzy heights we set off in search of the Warsaw Rising Museum. It had really impressive exhibitions all about the uprising in Warsaw during WWII and was presented in an interesting and interactive way. It was the first insight into many on our Europe Road Trip that would enlighten us to the many atrocities that have taken place in Eastern Europe. Pay attention to the map - it is very easy to get lost and then suddenly be confused by the events that are happening. The museum also had a replica 1944 cafe for a quick caffeine pit stop.
In the evening, we headed back in to the Old Town for food and drinks before walking back to our hotel. Luckily, this took us back past the tomb of the unknown soldier - beautiful at night, and the lit up Palace of Science and Culture.
Our hotel was exquisite, and without doubt, the cheapest 5* hotel I have ever stayed in! - H15 Boutique