Bartosz had his birthday that weekend. I wasn't sure what should I get him so I decided to give him trip as a birthday present. After considering a few options I decided to celebrate this occasion in Poland's capital - Warsaw.
To be honest, we had not known the capital very well so we packed our bags and set off to catch up on our backlog and visit as many places as we can
Warsaw may not be the prettiest city in Europe but it offers many appealing tourist attractions. It's especially famous for its numerous museums - there are several dozen of museums in Warsaw! Quite a lot for a city with such a short history.
Actually, the history of Warsaw's very interesting as well. The city developed later than other Polish towns. In 10th century it was still a small unknown village. It became the capital of Poland in 16th century which made it develop quickly. But, unfortuantely, there was many wars and uprisings which affected Warsaw greatly - it changed hands several times until it finally became Polish again.
At the end of World War II Warsaw was completely devastated and most of the buildings were destroyed. However, Poles managed to rebuilt it quickly and today we have modern and vibrant capital with many museums documenting short but rich history. We can only guess how Warsaw would look like today if it hadn't been damaged so many times in the past.
Anyway, let's get back to our trip. We arrived at Warsaw at Friday's evening. We stayed at Novotel - I chose this hotel because it's situated in the city centre close to train station. Besides, it offers great views - there are 31 floors! Fortunately, we got room on 19th floor.
After checking-in we went for a walk to see Vistula river bank. For me, cities at night get nicer. Indeed, Warsaw's very interesting after sunset. Banks of Vistula river and bridges look mysterious and yet somehow soothing...
I was quite tired and cold and asked Bartosz if perhaps we could go back. He insisted on going a bit further along the river and, all of a sudden, he took out small box with ring and proposed I was so surprised and happy about that!
Later that evening we went to "British Bulldog Pub" on Aleje Jerozolimskie. The food was lovely (even if it hadn't been so good I wouldn't have noticed
It was raining next day but we didn't mind. We went to see Stare Miasto (Old Town).
Then, we went to Centrum Nauki Kopernik (Copernicus Science Centre). There were so many exhibitions, displays and experiments that it was impossible to try everything. It's great place, especially for families with children.
Later on we went back to Stare Miasto to enjoy its view after dark. There are many restaurants but we especially liked small Georgian restaurant "Argo". Good food, intimate atmosphere and nice Georgian beer (forgot the name of the drink unfortunately).
On Sunday we went to Muzeum Narodowe (National Museum).
It's very big and presents lots of exhibitions but, to be honest, I was expecting more modern art displays.
We were lucky we got there quite early in the morning because around the noon the queue to ticket window was unbelievably long. As it's not possible to book the tickets in advance I'd highly recommend coming to museum in early hours, especially at weekend time.
As majority of museums, National Museum in Warsaw is closed on Mondays. Guided tours are available for English, German, Italian, French, Russian and Spanish speaking visitors. I'd also recommend to reserve at least 3 hours for visiting the museum as there's three floors which offer around 830 000 art works ranging from ancient times to the present including sculptures, drawings, paintings, photographs, prints, coins - you name it.
In the afternoon we went to Łazienki Królewskie (Royal Łazienki Park).
I guess it gets prettier at summertime but still it was very nice to walk among the trees far from the traffic. If I lived in Warsaw I'd be in Łazienki Królewskie everyday because it's a great getaway from all the city hustle and bustle.
We especially liked Pałac Na Wodzie (Palace on the Island). It's very beautiful historical museum which, unfortunately, we admired only from the outside as we did not have enough time to visit it. Judging by its outside architecture the Palace's interior must be gorgeous!
In Warsaw there are loads of tourist attractions and we hope to go back there soon to get to know them all One weekend's definitely not enough to get to know the city well. However, there's one thing which I didn't like about Warsaw - there's definitely too much martyrology. War monument here, war memorial there... och look! There's statue of a soldier!
And you, have you ever visited Poland's capital? What did you see there?