Expectations downplayed. Visiting here will keep you fit.
Wherever I visit I end up walking and wandering for miles. Coupled with trying to improve at taking photos and sometimes going for a particular shot, this ends up taking me to parts of cities that I may otherwise not see. Some of them at times have been a bit dodgy.
In the case of Warsaw I wandered for miles, covering a marathon in a couple of days. This took me through busy areas around Warsaw Central, the older part of the city, quieter suburban parts, the “hipster” areas, shopping districts and out towards the Jewish cemetery.
There’s a lot of walking in Warsaw.
My expectations of the city had been lowered before visiting from others who had been and I expected to have a whistle-stop tour over couple of days there before heading on. In reality I found a great city where I could comfortably spend more time. Moreover, it came across as a fun place to visit with a few friends for nights out.
Arriving on the train from Wrocław and exiting at Warsaw Central, the first sight is an iconic one. The Palace of Culture and Science makes me think of an HQ in a dystopian future, an imposing, prominent building overlooking the minions below. It has a New York style look in amongst a mix of more modern skyscrapers to one side and some redeveloped shopping areas to the other, making it a real stand out.
Old Town Warsaw is quite a distance from here. It’s an area which barely comes up when looking at old towns of Europe yet it’s a beautiful area. On a walking tour in Wrocław, the guide mentioned the three “must see” old towns of Poland, those being Wrocław, Gdańsk and Kraków, yet not a mention of this area of Warsaw.
A couple of miles west of here is the Jewish Cemetery, one of the largest in the world and with over 200,000 marked graves. Many parts of it are overgrown, having been left unattended for many years, and walking around here solo has quite an eerie feel to it.
My onward journey from Warsaw was an overnight bus to Minsk, starting from the bus station at Warsaw Zachodnia. The walk to the bus station from the train was through what felt like a quarter of a mile underground, by dodgy-looking kebab shops and newsagents into what felt immediately like another country.
It was time to say cheerio to the EU.