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A Weekend in Warsaw (Photo Guide)

Last weekend we flew to Warsaw and spent a short weekend there. We went there for a concert in the evening, but during the day we had time to explore the city.

One of the most well known landmarks for Warsaw is the Palace of Culture and Science. It was built by the Soviets in 1955, and is one of the "Seven Sisters" (the Soviets loved to build the same style of building in many other cities).

Arriving near the train station and Palace of Culture and Science
Arriving near the train station and Palace of Culture and Science

We were in Warsaw on the 10th April, which is the date of the 2010 airplane crash that killed the Polish President (and 95 other people). The President and the other victims were on the way to an event to mark the 70 years since the Katyn massacre.

Because we were there during this weekend, there were several memorials (for both Katyn and the plane crash). On the Sunday 10th we saw quite a lot of people carrying flags, but we didn't spend much of the day in the city center.

Katyn + Plane Crash Memorials, close to the Royal Castle
Katyn + Plane Crash Memorials, close to the Royal Castle

The next morning we went and explored some more of Warsaw. During WWII the city was completely flattened, but there are some buildings that date back to WWII and still show the scars of war.

The Bank Of Poland, and its bullet holes from the Warsaw Uprising in 1944

The next photo shows the Bank of Poland. It was built in 1907-1911 as the Russian Imperial Bank, on the site of two 18th and 19th century palaces used by the State Mint. During the 1944 Warsaw Uprising it was used as a Polish stronghold, and was bombed by German planes. Today you can see a huge amount of bullet holes.

Bullet holes in the Bank of Poland, Warsaw
Bullet holes in the Bank of Poland, Warsaw
That symbol is the sign of the Warsaw Uprising - it is common to see it in Warsaw. ("Anchor," formed from the letters "P" and "W," for Polska Walcząca which means "Poland Fights")
That symbol is the sign of the Warsaw Uprising - it is common to see it in Warsaw. ("Anchor," formed from the letters "P" and "W," for Polska Walcząca which means "Poland Fights")
Another photo of the same building
Another photo of the same building

Exploring the "Old Town" area and its back streets

Warsaw doesn't have such of a nice Old Town area like Kraków or other Polish cities. It was rebuilt in the last 70 years (after it was flattened in WWII), but still feels quite old. They used old paintings and photos of the area to rebuild it as accurately as possible.

Backstreets near the Old Town area
Backstreets near the Old Town area

On the way we found this monument - for Jan Kiliński, who was the commander of the 1794 Warsaw Uprising. (Every other mention of it in this blog post will be about the WWII Warsaw Uprising!)

Monument to Jan Kiliński, commander of the 1794 Warsaw Uprising
Monument to Jan Kiliński, commander of the 1794 Warsaw Uprising

Entering the Warsaw Old Town Market Place:

The Old Town Market in Warsaw
The Old Town Market in Warsaw

I think the buildings around the Old Town Market look similar to many other Polish cities. But unlike most other Polish cities it isn't really at the center of the city, and we didn't really spend much time in this area.

Inside the Old Town Market Square
Inside the Old Town Market Square

Walking around the corner we came across some kind of a padlock love bridge. Except, it wasn't a bridge...

Love Padlocks along a fence, near the river... but not a bridge!
Love Padlocks along a fence, near the river... but not a bridge!

Next we came across the Castle Square area. This is a big open space next to the Royal Castle:

Castle Square in Warsaw
Castle Square in Warsaw
We found some graffiti with the words 'Refugees Welcome' on the floor
We found some graffiti with the words 'Refugees Welcome' on the floor

An unexpected sight is seeing Kubusia Puchatka street. It is the Polish translation for the Winnie the Pooh name - but apart from the small sign (in the photo below) there is nothing else to do with Winnie the Pooh on the street.

When they needed a name for the new street in 1954, they couldn't decide on a name. So it was decided that the name for the street would be decided by having a competition for children in the newspaper "Express Wieczorny" (Evening Express). The winning name selection was Winnie the Pooh!

Kubusia Puchatka Street, named after the Polish translation of Winnie-the-Pooh!
Kubusia Puchatka Street, named after the Polish translation of Winnie-the-Pooh!

The Metro

Warsaw is the only city in Poland with an underground/metro system. There are three lines, and generally the city has great public transport.

Warsaw Metro Stations are dotted around the city
Warsaw Metro Stations are dotted around the city
Buying tickets - it cost 3.40zł (under 1 Euro) for 20 minutes of travel. Remember to validate your tickets when on the tram/bus/metro!
Buying tickets - it cost 3.40zł (under 1 Euro) for 20 minutes of travel. Remember to validate your tickets when on the tram/bus/metro!

Next stop - Britain!

We found a British shop, so thought we would go and check it out. We have seen 'Polski Skelp' (Polish Shop) in other cities, but never seen a foreign shop (that specalises in products from just one country) in Poland before.

As expected (although not in our photos, there were lots of teas and cereals on offer!)

The British shop in Warsaw
The British shop in Warsaw
Shelves full of British food, drinks and products!
Shelves full of British food, drinks and products!

The Warsaw Uprising Museum

One of the most well known museums in Warsaw is the Warsaw Uprising Museum. It shows the history of the WWII Warsaw Uprising. The most eye opening part was a 3d (in both senses - it was computer graphics, and we had 3d glasses) flyover of the city. You could see the river, and a few bridges but literally everything was rubble.

Entering the Warsaw Uprising Museum
Entering the Warsaw Uprising Museum
Map of Poland at the time
Map of Poland at the time
Notices (in Polish) - We assume replicas!
Notices (in Polish) - We assume replicas!
Bulletholes on a real street sign from Warsaw WWII
Bulletholes on a real street sign from Warsaw WWII
Warsaw Uprising Anchor Sign
Warsaw Uprising Anchor Sign

Back to the city...

Who needs traditional billboards when you can get some nice pictures of a pig painted on a wall to advertise your restaurant...?

Cool Pig advertising a restaurant
Cool Pig advertising a restaurant

But despite its best efforts to entice us in, we went to an Indian restaurant instead:

Indian restaurant in Warsaw
Indian restaurant in Warsaw

Time for a night out in Warsaw

By this time, we fancied a beer (or two...). Despite being a large city, there are not too many drinking areas in Warsaw.

We started off in a Pijalnia bar on Nowy Swiat street. We had been many times to the Pijalnia bars in Kraków, and this one felt almost exactly the same. Cheap beer and shots (4zł) and super busy.

Pijalnia bar on Nowy Swiat
Pijalnia bar on Nowy Swiat

But after a couple of drinks here we wanted to see more of Warsaw. One of the best drinking areas is Pawilony. It is almost opposite the Pijalnia on Nowy Swiat.

There are lots of small bars here, and at the weekends it gets super busy. But if you want to go somewhere with good atmosphere, and (assuming you can find a free table) an area where bar hopping is easy, you will want to check it out.

Pawilony Nowy Świat
Pawilony Nowy Świat

The next day... Time for the Palace of Culture and Science

The next day we got some breakfast, and headed to the huge Soviet building called the Palace of Culture and Science.

At 2pm we had tickets for the Titanic Exhibition inside the Palace of Culture and Science. So before doing that, we went to the 30th floor for some views of the whole city.

Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw
Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw
Old Polish Car we saw parked outside!
Old Polish Car we saw parked outside!

It cost us 20zł each to go to the viewing terrace of the Palace of Culture and Science. Once we bought tickets we popped in an elevator and were quickly on the 30th floor.

Prices to go to the top of it
Prices to go to the top of it
One of the views from the top!
One of the views from the top!
One of the views from the top!
One of the views from the top!
The viewing 'platform'
The viewing 'platform'

Near the elevator you can buy some postcards. That must be the reason for them having a post box 30 floors high. I would assume this is the highest post box in Warsaw...! I feel sorry for the mailman who has to get those letters...

Postbox in Palace of Culture and Science
Postbox in Palace of Culture and Science

The Titanic Exhibition

For 45zł you can spend 90 minutes hearing (via an audio guide) about the Titanic, the people who made it and the people who were on its doomed voyage. It was on the 4th floor of the building, and we had to queue for a long time...

Queues for the Titanic Exhibition in Warsaw
Queues for the Titanic Exhibition in Warsaw
Artifacts from the Titanic
Artifacts from the Titanic
Reconstructions of rooms from the ship
Reconstructions of rooms from the ship

Finally, time for a meal in the Hard Rock Cafe

Time for another non-Polish meal - the Hard Rock Cafe this time!
Time for another non-Polish meal - the Hard Rock Cafe this time!
Posted:
Mon 11th April, 2016
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By: Patrick

Patrick loves travelling, and has been travelling most of the year for over 10 years now. Now he shares his trips, tricks and advice here on CityGuide.Guru.

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