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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Warsaw on 8/14: Steps, Rollerbladers and Churches of Course

Got the afternoon Polski Bus from Torun and then the metro so didn’t arrive at our hostel til 6ish; then faced with the daunting climb up 80, yep, 80 steps, to our room in the Oki Doki Hostel.  Once again, a great location very close to both the Old and New Town areas.  We didn't end up using any public transportation the entire time in Warsaw, preferring to see the city only on foot.
Nothing like having incentive
to climb all the steps, huh!

 I’d chosen this particular room months ago
because I had grown 
up on Birch Ave.
 in my hometown of Ottawa, Canada.

No wonder Steven had to lie down after
schelpping the bags up all those stairs!

After climbing another 15 steps to the hostel kitchen,( i.e 95 all told if you were keeping count!) we made sandwiches with Kaiser like rolls we’d become fond of and only paid .28 zloty each (about a dime) and a package each of ham and cheese.  So convenient to travel as we do in Poland since these itty bitty shops are on every block and they all carry a small array of produce, individual rolls, beverages galore, meats and cheeses, etc.

Saxon Park: Just a 2 minute walk from
our hostel and on our way to Old Town, it da
 from the early 18th C. and was the city's 1st public 
park; modelled on gardens of Versailles and filled 
with Baroque statues. Glad you suggested I take 
the capris, Suellen!

The guard changes hourly at the
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

These 3 arches of a colonnade
in the park are all that remain from a palace
that was destroyed during WW II. It now
shelters the Tomb of the Unkown Soldier.

Couldn't possibly resist taking a photo of this car.
Not quite a Mustang, I know, Janina, but still...

Arrived in Warsaw on the eve of a 
National Holiday, thus Polish flagseverywhere, 
even two on the front of most trams, buses, etc.
Virtually all shops were closed as well as some museums.

Then walked through nearby Old Town and New Town: the 2 very old areas of the city are connected by a pretty narrw street. Unfathomable to think that 85% of Warsaw was destroyed in the war when you see it now.  No wonder the Old Town area received an UNESCO Heritage Site award in 1980 for its faithful recreation as it looked just as it did centuries ago.

 Once again stunningly beautiful and charming city squares
filled with pedestrians, cafes, monuments and fountains;
 how can anyone not be enchanted?
Andrew: Hope this qualifies for the street
scenes you asked for!

Musicians everywhere you turned in the squares;
these men played a polka.

People sitting on the base of the Column in
Old Town Square: Royal Castle in the background.
See the masses of balloons on the right?  We saw SO
many of those all over town; didn't look like many people
bought them as the 'towers' never seemed to get smaller.

New Town Square

2 time Nobel Prize award winner
Maria Curie’s House now a museum.

Church of the Benedictine Nuns
aka Nuns of the Blessed Sacrament Church:
 one of churches in a very small area
Probably easier to see it this way
without my head in the way, huh!

St Jack's Church:
During the Warsaw Uprising, it housed
 an insurgents' hospital; it was bombed burying
 approximately 1,000 people in the rubble.

Barbican or Curtain Walls:
Erected in the 16th C.
King Zygmunt III Waza Column: 
The oldest and tallest secular monument in Warsaw,
 it was erected in 1644, and commands attention 
from its place in the center of Stare Miasto or Old Town.
Gary Cooper and the Solidarity slogan.
Walking back to our hostel via Nowy Swiat,
the very posh main drag; we couldn't understand
 why all of a sudden we kept seeing rollerbladers
 after rollerbladers passing us.
I asked these 2 people what was going on and they said
that twice a month rollerbladers gather en masse at the
monument below to rollerblade to and through Old Town.
A lot of the bladers were dressed up in fancy costumes
which made it more exciting for us.
We have been so lucky this trip to be in the right place
 at the right time: Gdansk for the Domincian Fair;
 Torun for the Mustang Rally and now Warsaw for the
National Holiday and the Rollerbladers Rally;
the bar is set pretty high for upcoming cities on the adventure!

Figured I need to finish the post with one
more church photo.