Winter wonderland (Warsaw, Poland)

We wake to discover it’s been snowing all night long. The world outside our window is gorgeous. So of course we have to go out for a walk.
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Our first stop is the Palace of Culture and Science. Paul wants to look inside and I’m quite curious too. The building is now used as office space but you can buy a ticket to travel up an elevator to the 30th floor viewing deck. We wait in the lobby for the lift. I can easily imagine 007 blasting his way through the doors of the lift chasing some Cold War baddy. But he’s not here. There’s just a lovely lady lift operator and a few seconds of rising steel. The views from the platform are quite cool (literally and figuratively). It gives us a good feel for the city and it’s style. Note the level of snow in the photos below … there’s lots of black road visible now. It won’t be later today.

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The area around the Palace of Culture and Science is used as a car park and the snow artist monkey has been through here. We have a good giggle at the faces.

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Our next stop is the Warsaw Uprising Museum. We’ve read that it’s the best museum in Warsaw and we’ve seen references to the Warsaw Uprising in various stories of this city. We struggle to find it because I’ve marked it incorrectly on my map. Fortunately, Warsaw has more than its fair share of modern business hotels where the reception staff are well-versed in customer service. We stop at one and get some clear directions to the museum.
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The 1944 Warsaw Uprising was a 63 day battle between Warsaw’s freedom fighters and the Nazi occupation. They tried valiantly for 63 days to oust the occupying army but were well and truly overpowered. They thought the Soviet Red Army (who were stationed nearby) would help them. But the Soviets had other ideas. By the end of the Warsaw Uprising the city lay in ruins and the numbers of dead Poles had sky rocketed. Note that the Warsaw Uprising is not to be mistaken for the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943 in which the Jews of Warsaw fought against the Nazi’s. These are two totally separate historic events.

The Warsaw Uprising Museum is typical of modern Polish museums: detailed, creative and informative. We spent two hours in the museum and didn’t even get through half of it. The museum only increased my already high level of admiration for the good people of Poland.

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After the intensity of the museum we definitely needed to unwind so walked back to near the Palace of Culture where we’d seen a Bobby Burger. This Polish chain started life about five years ago as a food van and there is a good reason why they now have multiple outlets across the country. We first discovered the delicious burgers in Krakow and now it was an easy choice as to where to eat to get out of the falling snow. We used the Bobby Burger wifi, found a nearby place that offered massages and that took care of our afternoon plans.

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The massage place only had one spot available at a time so I let Paul go first while I went out to walk in the winter wonderland that Warsaw had become. The park was looking amazing. Remember the photo at the beginning of this post with all the black areas for roads … they are all covered in snow now.

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This sculpture of a family taking shelter behind a broken tree seemed quite appropriate in the falling snow. I don’t know what it represents but it definitely looks interesting.

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A tractor was valiantly clearing the snow from the steps of the Palace of Culture and Science. An hour later I would walk past and the snow would be just as deep as when it started.

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But the real excitement is that I went ice skating. I only had half an hour before the skating rink closed for the afternoon session but that was just long enough. I started out holding onto the walls for about a quarter circuit before I found my feet and was gliding along confidently. I’ve only ice skated once or twice as a primary school aged child but I did roller skate and roller blade a lot throughout my childhood and adolescence so maybe that is why I found my balance relatively quickly. I certainly wasn’t doing any tricks or skating backwards but I was enjoying the glide.

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Skate over I returned to the massage place for my turn on the table. The massage was good and relaxing. It was also much more reasonably priced than the Ayurvedic one we had the other night. We were both suitably relaxed as we walked home through the park past gorgeous trees coloured black and white with winter.

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We treated ourselves to a delicious Polish soups served wtih bread and sausages for dinner at a small restaurant near our hotel. A friend had told me that Polish food is delicious (her mum is Polish) and she wasn’t wrong. I’ve never been a big fan of soup but here the soups are hearty meals in their own right (even without the sausage and bread).

But let me not leave you with a photo of food. Instead, let me leave you with a small video that sums up our day. I know I shared the first few seconds of the film the other day but the rest is all new to this blog and I think it’s worth it for the little ditty I added to the clip.

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