There is no way to understand this Nation, which has had such a wonderful and at the same time terribly difficult past, without Christ. There is no way to understand this City, Warsaw, the capital of Poland, which in 1944 took up an uneven fight with the invader, a fight in which it was abandoned by the allied powers, in which it fell under the same ruins in front of the Holy Cross Church on Krakowskie Przedmiescie St. – from the speech made by John Paul II in Zwyciestwa Square (now Jozef Pilsudki Sq.) on June 2, 1979
There are no words that could describe my journey to Warsaw better than what was stated by John Paul II, as quoted above.
In this first part, I will share about the hostel, mode of transportations I used, and their awesome foods. Later on the second part, I will share more about the places I visited.
Random steps to Warsaw
Unlike the experience I had when I went to France of which I have heard what people says about this country beforehand so that I have had certain expectation when visited Paris in April 2014, this time I had no expectation at all when I so randomly decided to go to Warsaw this summer. The journey started from July 5, 2014 to July, 8 2014.
All journeys should start from a piece of commitment called ‘ticket’. I booked return ticket with Ryan Air for around 57 euros. After having the ticket, I started looking for an accommodation. Since I was travelling alone, I prefered to stay in backpacker hostel so it would be more likely for me to meet someone new to travel with. I instantly chose Oki Doki Hostel as a place to stay in Warsaw. I stayed in 6 beds dorm and it costed me 150 złs for 4 days and 3 nights stay (1 euro equal to around 4.1 złs).
This place is comfortable since the bedroom is so clean, with wi-fi, laundry, and kitchen facilities. The bathroom and toilet were also clean. You can use the refrigerator and kitchen utensils provided by them in the kitchen area. I have no problem at all during my stay in Oki Doki hostel. The location of the hostel is exactly in the center of Warsaw. It’s very close to Warsaw Central Station (Warszawa Centralna). The hostel is easily reached since there are many options of trams, buses, and trains going to this direction.
The only thing you have to anticipate when staying in this hostel in Summer is: a mosquito repellent! Since the weather is hot, then you have to open the window in order to be able to sleep and let the air to circulate. As the consequence, you will not only invite the air to come in, but also the mosquitos😀 If you forget to bring mosquito repellent, no need to worry since there is one Carrefour Express pretty close to the hostel that sales a mosquito repellent for 6 złs.
You can also ask for Warsaw city map and explanations about bus/tram number from the receptionists.
Mode of Transportations
Warsaw is a city that has very convenient public transportations. From Modlin Airport, I took a direct shuttle bus to Warsaw Center (right in front of Palace of Culture and Science, polish: Pałac Kultury i Nauki) for 33 zł. The bus is very comfortable and is also equipped with wi-fi. The payment can be made using credit card (visa or mastercard) or debit card. Modlin bus schedule can be obtained here.
For local transport, we can easily use the trams/buses. The schedule of the bus and tram are very frequent and they operated until quite late at night (around 11.30 p.m.). You can buy the ticket in almost every tram or bus station. There are some options that you can use: single trip ticket (4.40 złs), 24 hour ticket (15.00 złs), weekend ticket (applied from Friday night (after 7 p.m.) – Monday morning (before 8 a.m.) ) for 24.00 złs. Good news is for you who is a student of < 26 years old. If you travel with your international student card, you are allowed to get 50% bus & tram ticket reductions! Yeeey…!!
More complete information about their public transportation system can be found on their website here.
You can also look for the bus/tram line number along with their schedules from Jakdojade site. They have different site for different city in Poland. I found it to be so easy to use and very helpful.
What to eat?
I have nothing to complain about Polish foods. They are all very yummy and (as compared to Western Europe) cheap😀 Hihihi… I really can’t do travelling without tasting local foods. Found local recommendation through yelp.com was the best decision for me.
I spent two dinners in Zapiecek. They sale mostly traditional Polish foods and are famous for their Polish dumplings. For the first dinner, I tried their Polish red sausage with sour cabbage and Polish beer (Tyskie). The sausage served with bread as well.
For the second dinner, I went to their restaurant that is located in the old town with a friend I met in Oki Doki Hostel. Her name is Amy. She is a traveler from New Zealand. This time, we went for their dumpling. She ordered spinach dumpling with butter sauce and I ordered Russian dumpling with sour cream. I have to say this time that I prefer their spinach dumpling than the Russian one. For after meal, we ordered dumpling with strawberry and blueberry, served with vanilla sauce. This a nice choice to be had as an after meal.
This time, I ordered susz compote (Polish: Kompot) for the drink. Compotes are drinks prepared of fruits (usually fresh, though sometimes can be also dried). Sugar is added and sometimes cloves are used as a spice. The most popular fruits used in Poland are: apples, morello cherries, currants, cherries, strawberries, pears, and a rhubarb. It’s served better in cold. For compote that uses dried fruits are called ‘susz’. In contrast with raw fruit compotes, susz has a brown color muddy look, and a very peculiar taste. I still find the taste and smell is nice.
Bułkę Przez Bibułkę
For the first breakfast, we went to this small restaurant located in Ul. Puławska 24. This restaurant is famous for their sandwich that is served with special dip sauce. I ordered their infamous capuccino (8 złs) and Juliusz C. sandwich (14.90 złs). The sandwich is filled with chicken fillet, fresh veggies, and bacon. My friend, Amy had the Muesli served with the yoghurt (10 złs) and a fresh juice. Eventually, these meals became our brunch due to their portions and it was indeed fulfilling.
For our second brunch, we chose to have it in Batida. It was located exactly around the Plac Konstytucji (Marszałkowska 53). From the design of their restaurant, we thought that it was a fancy restaurant that would give overpriced food. The place is so comfortable, cozy, and not too noisy. I ordered their lunch package for 19.90 złs that includes onion sup and a beef ragout. The service was very good although not many waiters are able to speak english fluently.
Since got into this restaurant I was tempted to taste their pâtisserie too, unfortunately since they served the food in a big enough portion (for me), I had to hold my appetite for a moment.
But I was so surprised when we had finished our meal, the waiter served us a small portion of strawberry pie. And it was a finger lickin good strawberry pie *nom*.
In the afternoon, after I came back from walking around the city, I impulsively decided to go back to this restaurant only to taste one of their so tempting pâtisseries. I randomly went for Sernik (Polish cheesecake). Sernik is like a very popular cake that you will find in almost every part of Poland. And just like before, this was one thing that I did not regret to have had.
That’s a wrap for this part, I will cover about places that I went in Warsaw on the second part.