WARSAW: A RESURRECTED CITY
Truth to be told, I had no expectations about visiting Warsaw. In my mind, it was a city, half-destroyed from WWII, old, dirty, not too welcoming and not much to do there, but the anticipation to discover something new was there and so I went. I realized how wrong I was at the moment we landed at Chopin International Airport in Warsaw.
Warsaw is a modern day European capital with huge wide roads, widest crosswalks I have ever seen in my life and clean as it could be. Perhaps it is because I stayed mostly in the Old Town/touristy area, but I did not see one person throw his trash on the ground with the exception of New Year’s Eve, but that’s understandable. In Warsaw, unlike other countries from the ex-Soviet bloc, drivers keep the regulations and speed limits and respect pedestrians. Yes, that might sound a weird observation to you, but if you do some traveling around Eastern Europe you will know exactly what I am referring to!
I was astonished to learn, by visiting multiple Warsawian museums, that the city was absolutely destroyed and left in ruins after World War II. In 1939, the population of the city was about 1,600,000. At the end of the war, Warsaw had less than 200,000 people. Yet, the city was restored in its full glory and it looks like nothing ever happened to it. But it is in the hearts of Warsawians that the tragic memories remained. Memories they are not ashamed of, but proudly told their stories and exhibit them in various ways all over the city: monuments, museums, walking paths, palaces, government buildings, architecture, etc. Warsaw is truly a resurrected city! It is a city that was literally risen up from the dust and given a new life, a new opportunity to serve as a capital of Poland. The country, seemed to most, was erased from the map of Europe for hundreds of years, but always returned. Warsaw, in my opinion, is its biggest pride and glory. Warsawians are patriots who exhibit qualities, unfortunately rarely found today, of hard-work, strong Christian faith, the courage to persevere, overcome and continue!
WHAT’S IN WARSAW FOR YOU?
When visiting such place like ‘Warsaw: A Resurrected City’, traveling with a group or alone, you will re-discover yourself one more. The stories of the people around you, looking at their faces, studying their history by visiting museums and walking on roads when once millions suffered and died, will touch your being in an unusual way. It will make you re-evaluate yourself and your life, your goals, your dreams; it will give you a stronger will to make a positive difference in this world and to fight ‘the bad’; it will recharge your batteries and give you a desire-like-fire to continue on in life regardless of all the challenges and problems you’re currently facing and not to give up!
Before visiting Poland, I used to brag all of the time how great is my knowledge of European history and culture. Poland proved to me that I know nothing! This is a country that exists since the Old Testament times and has played a vital role in the history of human civilization. Starting with a Jewish movement, to hundreds of years of knighthood, revolutions, WWI, WWII, USSR, and now a member of the European Union. Poland has something to show to everybody!
Polish people are naturally hospitable and friendly, and Polish pierogi are super yummieI was surprised to see how a nation, once completely oppressed and humiliated, stands proudly today for who they are without being ashamed of their past, but continuing forward with even bigger hope and faith than before! It is a nation that has forgiven, but not forgotten what others have caused to it and continue to welcome people from all corners of the world. Poland, with its majestic mountains, Baltic sea coast, ski resorts down south, and the beautiful towns of Warsaw, Krakow, Gdansk, Poznan, Wroclaw and many others is waiting for you to go and “meet her”. Follow our blog posts regularly because soon we will be posting a detailed customized guide on how to best tour Poland, without missing any of its gems.
WARSAW, POLAND FOR NEW YEAR’S EVE
Did you experience a dilemma of where to spend New Year’s Eve? Where to be at midnight on December 31st, 2017 when the ball drops down? Well, I sure did! Performing the research did not take too long, but making the decision took me weeks. However, it was totally worth it!
I entertained the ideas of going to Paris– a super popular destination for New Year’s Eve, especially down below the Eiffel Tower–or Vienna, Budapest, Prague, Barcelona, and yet none of those extremely beautiful places stood out to me for that special night. Then, I thought about going to Russia, but it takes some time and effort to obtain a visa, so I quickly dropped that idea. Talin, Estonia, and Riga, Latvia sounded great to me as well and quite affordable, but although it was still October, most hotel and accommodations were already booked.
A brilliant idea came to my mind few minutes after reviewing Riga for possible New Year’s destination and that was to search for E.U. nations that have not yet accepted the euro as national currency. You would ask why? Well, not using the euro sets you apart. In my mind, a nation’s currency is part of its culture, traditions, and history. The euro stands as a monetary tool expressing United Europe, but when we talk about Europe, we talk about no-two-alike countries too, right? So, I wanted something different and a bit out of the ordinary. That’s how I discovered and visited Warsaw: A Resurrected City