I came into my European adventure with only a few cities mapped out that I deemed as “must visit” and Warsaw was extremely high up on this list because of the role that Poland played during WWII.
I took the overnight train from Prague into Warsaw, which I recommend if you book a sleeping carriage. Like a fool, I did not do this so I woke up in the morning in a panic and managed to get off at the wrong train stop in the process.
After making my way to my hostel (I stayed in the Oki Doki hostel which I highly recommend), I slept on their couch in reception all day until my bed opened up that afternoon. Even on an amazing international tour, I am still the sleepiest girl you will ever meet.
But sleeping on the couch turned out to be a blessing in disguise because I met my first Canadian friend! It was nice to have a beer with a little piece of home.
The hostel runs/knows about tons of interesting tours so I decided to join the Polish Uprising Museum tour. The tour didn’t end up happening but I met another Canadian who I toured with that day. We did the museum and a free walking tour of the old (rebuilt) city centre of Warsaw.
That night we also grabbed dinner and I had the best potato pancakes I have ever had in my life. They had mushrooms in a cream sauce on top and I swear that I am still thinking about them!
That night I also participated in my first European pub crawl and it was wild (to say the least. Sorry mom.) I met tons of new people from all across the globe which was wicked. Alcohol here is both cheap and delicious which led to an interesting night.
The next day was rough so I took my time trying to convince myself to go and be a human again. I took it easy and went up to the top viewing platform (231m) at the Palace of Culture. It was a foggy and rainy day but the panoramic views of the city were amazing.
I then joined another walking tour, this time on the dark secrets of Warsaw which was fascinating. Not just the stories, but the fact that there is a palm tree in the middle of the city. I had some trouble getting my head wrapped around that.
Because of the pouring rain and the fact I wasn’t dressed for it (I am writing this on Tuesday and my shoes still aren’t dry), I got absolutely drenched. But I did make friends with a family from Ireland which was very cool. It was nice to have someone to tour with that evening.
I then grabbed my last meal in Warsaw before heading to bed for my early morning bus to Krakow the next day.
I truly enjoyed Warsaw way more than I ever expected to – especially because I came into Poland with almost no expectations or knowledge of what the cities are like. I will definitely be back in the future.