A long weekend in Europe isn’t a frequent getaway for us across the pond over here in the US, yet I found myself on a flight to Warsaw, Poland from New York City with a vague itinerary, consisting mainly of a wish list-collage which I made browsing the internet on the eve of my departure. I enjoy travelling with a loose agenda so I wasn’t stressed, and my one afternoon free to roam the streets was all but magical.
Directed to Old Town by a friend, I found endless streets of cobblestones leading to castles, forts, shops and restaurants. It is both sobering and delightfully charming, to walk through the layers of history. “Fall in love with Warsaw” is the greeting you receive from the city upon entering. Old Town Warsaw is romantic without even trying. I spent the day walking around in the sunshine, stopping in little stores, and feasting on pierogi.
Established in 1300, the architecture represents almost every European style and period, a reflection of the city’s turbulent history. Located in a unique zone between the East and West, Poland is sometimes referred to as “the phoenix city” for having the ability to rise again and rebuild itself after countless attacks. Over eight out of every ten buildings in Warsaw had been destroyed by the end of WWII. After completed reconstruction, ironically, Old Town is only fifty years old.
Open-air cafes and art stalls make up the market square. Hear the gentle clopping of horse hooves on cobblestones, and soft music dancing through the air from a nearby corner where a man stands playing a flute. The smell of sugary fried dough hangs in a breeze while the gentle murmur of people out for an afternoon stroll floats past. As you explore, reminders are everywhere of war in carefully preserved historical sites and memorabilia found in antique shops. Poland is an open book who wear’s it’s heart on it’s sleeve.
from Warsaw, xo
if you’ve been inspired to visit, these are sites you may find helpful: