Poland Day 2: Warsaw, Old City and New City

Royal Castle

 

We let Rick Steves be our guide today, and walked 12.5 miles according to Ellen’s FitBit. Here’s how the day went.

Our hotel includes breakfast, so we ate a good meal to start the day. We walked from our hotel to Nowy Świat, a wide boulevard of shops and restaurants. We first came to the Tomb of the Unknown.

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It led us up to the Polish Academy of Science and a statue of Copernicus.

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One of the most amazing sites was a sculpture in the Church of the Holy Cross. Besides having Chopin’s heart (what is it with Europe and body parts?), there was an amazing statue of Pope Saint John Paul II, where he is emerging from the stone. Really something to see.

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We wandered onto the campus of Warsaw University, where Ellen was thrilled that I made a friend.

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We took a tour of the Royal Castle, which is featured at the top of this post. Like 99% of Warsaw, it was destroyed in World War II, so we were looking at a reconstruction. Much of the old city struck us as looking like a Disneyland street, it had that feel of being “new old,” and looked a little too neat and orderly. Such is the price of having your city destroyed by the Germans and “saved” by the USSR.

We had lunch on the old town square, pizza and pasta. We continued into the new town, which means it was outside the original city walls, but established in the 15th century. These are the times you realize we have almost no history in the USA.DSC_0071

 

Madame Curie was from Poland, and we happened by her museum. Loved the exterior.

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We made it back to the hotel around 6pm, allowing ourselves to rest our feet for an hour before heading out to dinner. The first restaurant we chose from TripAdvisor wasn’t there, so we went back along our walking route from this morning. We searched TripAdvisor again and selected Specjaly Regionalne. We shared duck pierogies as an appetizer, Ellen had roasted duck and I had beef goulash. Our waiter had lived in the US (Fort Myers, FL) for 7 years and enjoyed talking to us about the States.

Some more wandering and then home for the night. Tomorrow, the Jewish ghetto. Ellen’s grandmother was from Warsaw, one of 12 children and the only member of  her 50 person extended family to escape before the Holocaust.

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