Back in May 2015 I visited Warsaw, Poland for work (visiting the Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center), so I checked out the city during a little bit of free time that week! Here’s a quick list of what I did and loved:
See and do
Walking around the Old Town
I got a map at the tourist info booth, and went on a self-guided walking tour of the Old Town. I also recommend Rick Steves’ tour guides and travel advice. Warsaw had some cool artsy shops along the side streets, and I got a really nice pair of earrings in one!
I also walked along the wall of the Warsaw Jewish Ghetto and a nearby outdoor photography museum to the uprising. I didn’t go into any museums since my tourist time was quite limited.
Marie Skłodowska Curie’s birthplace
For many people, Marie Skłodowska Curie’s the only female physicist (or even female scientist) they can name. As fellow #womeninSTEM I stopped by her birthplace, which has a nice mural on the outside!
On the afternoon before we left, I hung out in one of the public parks and read my book for a bit. It was grey and a touch drizzly, but I sat on a bench under a big tree, so I still had a nice time.
The giant palm tree
There’s a giant palm tree in a traffic circle on your way from the astronomy institute into the old city. Palm trees aren’t native to Warsaw…
E. Wedel drinking chocolate
It’s not “hot chocolate”, it’s delicious molten drinkable chocolate. I happened to read about it in a travel forum when googling “what should I see in Warsaw” while I waited for my flight here, and I’M SO GLAD I DID. I recommend starting off with the classic milk chocolate, and on subsequent visits you can up your game (we visited maybe 3 times during the week). There’s an E. Wedel cafe in the Old Town.
We ate pierogies for most dinners, because PIEROGIES ARE DELICIOUS and honestly part of the reason I decided to go on this work trip was to gorge myself on pierogies. Zapiecek Polskie Pierogarnie is a local restaurant with a few locations around Warsaw, so we kept going back to different ones each time so that the staff wouldn’t begin to recognize us.
Since Polish as a language is very different from any other languages I’m familiar with, I found it was best to have a small notebook and pen in my purse, so that I could write down where I wanted to go to give to the taxi driver or when asking for help. Some adults speak a bit of English, but don’t assume that you’ll be able to get by easily.
Also, if you like makeup: there’s a huge Inglot counter in the Warsaw airport duty-free! Their lipsticks are excellent.💄