Well, time simply got away from me last week. I am back now and here to recap my last day in Warsaw, Poland!
The day started off with a wonderful breakfast of jajecznica with szczypiorek, also known as scrambled eggs, cooked by Zuzia!
Once Zuzia and I wrapped up breakfast, we hopped in her car and stopped at a Polish cemetery. Originally, the plan had been to visit the Jewish cemetery, but it was closed because of the Jewish Sabbath, or day of rest. However, I found the Polish cemetery we visited to be extremely interesting! All of the graves were above ground and were interspersed with trees. The tombstones were elaborate, large, and stretched in all directions. I had never seen anything like it before!
After the cemetery, Zuzia dropped me off at the Warsaw Rising museum. This museum goes through each day of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising that occurred in 1944 and lasted for 63 days. The exhibits provide information on what happened each day of the resistance, daily life, what happened following the end of the rising, and Poland after World War II.
Like the POLIN museum, I opted for an audio guide. In my opinion, each speaking segment was lengthy for each stopping audio point. However, I am glad I chose to have an audio guide because not all of the paper handouts you could pick up at the museum contained English. Two hours is enough time to get through the whole museum, but more time could absolutely be spent there. Also, backpacks are not allowed! I didn’t have any zloty on me, which is needed to reserve a locker. I ended up stuffing everything in my coat sleeves and had it hung in the coat area.
I firmly believe this museum and the POLIN museum are absolute musts if you visit Warsaw! In my opinion, you cannot appreciate or understand Warsaw without having knowledge of the city’s history, which both museums offer.
After the Warsaw Rising museum, Zuzia picked me up and we headed to the Neon museum in the Praga District. During the Stalin-era of Poland, neon lights were very popular outside of hotels, clubs, and even libraries! The Neon museum has saved and restored some of the iconic lights and has them displayed. Visitors can take photos on their phones, no cameras are permitted, and read a little blurb about the history of the neon sign and the history of neon. All in all, half an hour or an hour is enough to see all the signs and take photos. Zuzia had never been here before either and we both really enjoyed the museum overall!
Once Zuzia and I had our fill of the neon lights, she drove us to Łazienki Park. There, we ate pączki (Polish donuts) and some fruit while enjoying the sunlight. Zuzia took me to see the Chopin statue and her other favorite areas of the park.
Since I was enamored with all of the street art in Warsaw, Zuzia drove me to the Warsaw horse racing track where murals are painted on the outside of the wall. In a way, the scene reminded me of the East Side Gallery in Berlin, Germany. Unlike the East Side Gallery, however, these murals are painted over by artists so the wall is never the same.
By the time we wrapped up walking the length of the wall, afternoon was beginning to turn into evening. We went back to Zuzia’s home and briefly ate some of her mother’s soup, Rosół, which is a Polish version of chicken noodle soup.
Soon after, we were heading out the door to meet Zuzia’s friend, Jakob, for dinner. All three of us ate some pierogi, Polish dumplings, and drank some Polish compote drink (not sure of the name) for dinner. I ordered mushroom and cabbage pierogi because Jakob and Zuzia told me those were the most Polish. Both Jakob and Zuzia told me I had to come back to Poland, however, and have some of their grandmothers’ pierogi because our pierogi was not authentic. Tasted delicious to me!
After dinner, I hung out with Jakob while Zuzia went to a concert. No Zuzia was not ditching me, she had actually forgotten she had purchased these tickets prior to my visiting.
To begin our time together, Jakob insisted we go to a 1970’s style diner/bar to do some traditional Polish shots. When in a country, do as the locals do is my mentality! The first shot was chupa chups (vodka with some mixers) and the second was cytrynówka (lemon flavored with vodka). After our Polish shots, Jakob took me to get ice cream that is made from Nitrogen. We discussed our travels and the education system in Poland as he is currently studying medicine. After ice cream, Jakob took me to a restaurant where we could each have a beer. Before ordering, he asked me if I wanted a half of a pint or a whole liter. To which I responded, the half pint. He countered with “Are you sure? I really think you should order the liter…” Well, I gave into the peer pressure and ended up with a stein of beer larger than my head! Zuzia, Jakob’s girlfriend, and his girlfriend’s friend eventually joined us.
The following morning, Zuzia took me to the airport at 4:00 am to catch my flight. This is the only picture we got together during my time…oops!
Thank you Zuzia for showing me around Poland and hosting me! Forever grateful to you and your family!
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