The weekend in Warsaw had officially started once I woke up on the Saturday. Normallly I would jump traight into sightseeing after breakfast. But for this trip I wanted to do a little twist, I headed over to a gym local to my hostel for a workout to start off my day.
The idea of going gym abroad is one that I have a lot of thoughts on. Although for the sake of talking about the rest of day 2 I’m gonna do a longer review on a separate post.
All the action on day 1 was in the old town but obviously there’s more to Warsaw than the touristy attractions and monuments.
Most of my second day was spent in the Praga district. Praga is a slightly more rural, less touristy area of the city. Some from the UK have likened it to Shoreditch and I can see some similarities: the graffiti art and paintings on pedestrian streets, hipster-like museums being around. But as mentioned I wouldn’t go as far as saying its as touristy as Shoreditch is.
Anyway so what did your boy Johnny get up to on his second day in Warsaw:
Before heading to Praga I stumbled across this beauty of a landmark. Świętokrzyski Bridge is the most well-known bridge in Warsaw and it was recently built only 20 years ago, which is quite young for a landmark.
Not much is actually known or documented about the bridge, other than the name Świętokrzyski is English for Holy Cross so it bears some religious significance and is relevant as Poland is a religious country.
As for its aesthetics its architecture is very stunning to look at, both on a warm summer’s day and a clear, starry night when the lights are lit up. Seeing so much everydaylife around the bridge was cool to see: people chilling by the river, kids playing on jungle gym areas underneath the bridge, cyclists riding their bikes along the cycle path. There was even a woman and man, who I think were a couple, doing a photo/modelling shoot together. Small things like that gives a landmark presence and respect.
biggest pull to the Praga district imo. museum focuses on the history of neon technology roughly between the late 19th century till the late 20th. A lot of the tech became extinct due to Nazi invasion during WWII. Neons being revived as part of a socialist effort in the 1950s and helped become a symbol of Poland’s more hopeful future post WWII before being largely switched off in 1990s as they were not beneficial economically.
A collection of neon lights and signs many buildings, shops and businesses have used over the years were gathered and helped create the museum we now visit today.
Pun unintended but it’s quite a cool, hipster buzz the place gives off. Able to hear the electricity sounding off from the neons and they all produce their own distinctive sounds if you listen a bit carefully. Definitely a type of place I see fitting in in a place like Shoreditch or Brixton. If I were asked which other European cities I’ve visited before that would suit an exhibition like this then maybe Prague or Manchester are best suited.
Warsaw Zlote Tarasy
Downtown, or Central Warsaw is a huge shopping hub alone. Zlote Tarasy is where you’ll find the biggest amount of shops, fun and entertainment centres in one area. This is where you’ll find a lot of your well-established high street and luxury stores like Zara, H&M, Hugo Boss and Victoria’s Secret. Not to mention having a food courts with a mixture of global and local brands.
Apart from the restaurants, coffee shops the rest of the stores are closed on Sundays. Therefore if you see people coming in and out of the centre it’s mainly cos they’ve gotten something to eat and to generally socialise
Just a little side note there’s also a Westfield shopping centre in Warsaw called Arkadia, which is about a 15-20 minute bus journey from the city centre. I was going to get on a bus and make my way there for the sake of seeing what it was like compared to the London ones. But changed my mind and decided to stay more local.
Palace Of Science And Culture
Off to the Palace Of Science And Culture I was for my final attraction to finish off my second day. It was the very first sight of Downtown Warsaw and its a sight to behold at night. The palace is so tall and so eye-catching that I think even a blind man can see it.
Contrary to how it looks, it’s a major entertainment and leisure centre filled with cinemas, souvenir shops, cafes, restaurants and bars. Many events are typically held throughout the year, like it’s home to the Warsaw Film festival that’s currently happening.
Like Taras Widokowy the palace has an observation deck at the very top where you can get an awesome view of the whole city. To get there you need a ticket to go up there which is 25 PLN. More expensive than the 6 PLN ticket for the Taras Widokowy but it’s greater height and wider terrace gives it its value for money.
Instead of going up there I stayed grounded and humble and went to the Galleria Figur Stalowich exhibition happening. Basically it was an exhibition with steel figures of characters and things from films and TV shows well known in pop culture. You’ve got the car from Knight Rider, the Iron Throne from Game of Thrones (Johnny Snow at the bottom :p), Optimus Prime and Bumblebee from Transformers, And of course – for me the headline stealers – Iron Man, Captain America and Batman and a few Mercedes AMG sports cars. All of this enough to turn me into a little boy for a good hour.
Fun Fact: The Palace was built by the Soviet Union to act as a “gift of friendship” between the Soviets and Poles but inspired by the Empire State building. It was commonly dubbed as “Stalin’s Palace” given the country’s communist history.
Rating out of 10: 9 out of 10
Kebab King is one fast-food joint you fancy something good and cost-friendly to have on the go.
Much needed at the time as a my time at another milk bar before coming to Kebab King was a near disaster. Something I’m willing to save for a Story Time blog post (Yeah Story Time will be back folks!) that’ll be centred on my milk bar experience generally.
It was night and day difference to my relief. I found it easy to figure out what I wanted because of images of the food offered and menus were easy to find.
Order of heat was a Fitness Kebab, very appropriate choice with the weightlifting I had been doing in the gym. It had cucumber salad, sauce and chicken inside the kekab and I got small French fries to go with it. All in all adding up to 17 PLN. Then I was given a buzzer that would buzz to let me know when my food was ready to be picked up at the counter.
The service was quick and simple as well as customer-friendly. There were loads of seats available to sit down plus satellite TV for news catchups and entetainment. Their branches are also 24/7 so also pretty hany if you’ve gone clubbing and want some drunk food.
Chocolate Cafe E.Wedel
I hadn’t a clue that Poland had a good amount of affection for chooclate. Till I Came across the E.Wedel Chocolate Cafe at the Neon Muzeum. It wasn’t far from there so decided to check it out en route back Downtown.
Seeing the wide collection of chocolate they had made me salivate: chocolate cake, chocolate drinks, chocolate-flavoured coffee. Plus they had free samples of white and dark chocolate. Along with having a cafe to sit and enjoy lunch or an afternoon tea.
Personally I think I very much prefer their white chocolate bars. They are so authentic in terms of having that white chocolate taste. The flavouring is very lasting, I literally just had one of the white chooclate bars as of typing. Spoiler Alert: I went back the following day to buy more chocolate for my nephews and family. For myself I’m most definitely going on a goose hunt around London to find them.
Rating out of 10: 7.5 out of 10
Obviously as you can tell from the length of the post I didn’t up to as much in the city as in the first day. In general the way my Saturday turned out was unexpected, perhaps for good reason. For instance discovering the chocolate cafe. Had I not gone to Neon Muzeum for whatever reason would I have known it existed? Those small things about travelling and channeling my wanderlust is what makes it special in the first place.
My Day 3 post, my final day in the city will be rolling out sometime early this week! I’m saving my thoughts on the locals and transport for this one too. I’ve still got much more content on Warsaw alone, not to mention more collaborations with bloggers and some fun travel-related posts so stay subbed. If you’re new to this blog all of the above is a reason to follow this blog!
Johnny | Johnny’s Traventures