One of the few cities that has always been Polish.
28.03.2013 - 30.03.2013 -5 °C
We made it here with no troubles and even managed to get some rest on the train. The Polish couchette wagon was a little less luxurious than the German one and a little louder, but nothing terrible. Sheets and pillows aren’t included and the couchettes are a little slanted so you tend to roll into the wall no matter how you lay, but luckily we’ve become masters at sleeping with eyemasks and earplugs in a sack with a makeshift pillow.
As a side note, those are the best things you can travel with. Eyemask, earplugs, and a spare pillowcase you can stuff with clothes to make a pillow. I’ve had many extra hours of sleep thanks to those.
Luckily the hostel in Warsaw let us check in early, so we hopped right into bed and took a nap before rolling out to catch the morning walking tour. One nice thing about travelling east, or seemingly anywhere other than Switzerland and Germany, is that things are a lot less official. If the beds are empty there’s never a problem checking in early or late. You would never be refused an empty bed in Poland just because “it’s not check-in time yet”. Anyway, there are good things that can come of all that order, too.
The walking tour in Warsaw was great. It’s a really interesting city, with such a devastating history, but I feel like that’s just the general feeling in Poland. It’s been through so much over the years but still refuses to quit. If you ever start to lose faith in humanity, travel to Poland or Bosnia and see for yourself how resilient and strong people can be. It’s always sad hearing about the sick ways of war and oppression, but it can be quite inspiring to meet people who have accomplished amazing things even in the face of others who have quite literally made it their life’s goal to see that that never happens.
On our second day in the city we went to the Warsaw Uprising museum. It’s relatively new in the city, and extremely well done. It’s massive so it’s kind of one of those all-day museums, but definitely worth it. Another great museum was the Marie Curie house. I actually didn’t know she was Polish, but it turns out she only made her life in France because of the brutal treatment of women in Poland and everywhere else in Europe at the time. The house where she was born has been converted into a small museum about her life, and they even have a few pieces of her actual equipment.
Any trip to Poland wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Warsaw; people say it’s not the best city in the country, but it definitely shouldn’t be missed. The history is rich and the city has been beautifully rebuilt; it really does look like a proper European capital. We had a great time in and around the old city seeing the memorials and monuments, and there are at least a couple of museums here worth checking out. It seems like it would be a great city to just hang around in, but a couple of days seemed to be enough to take in the main sites. Next up on our tour of Poland is Lublin. It’s a couple of hours away by train, so we’ll be heading out tomorrow.