A Travellerspoint blog


Day 17


sunny 20 °C

I like Warsaw a lot...it’s a city but with big open spaces and greenery. Keith, however, does not like it because it’s a city and consequently you hear noise and sirens everywhere! However, hotel is good and having finally managed to book the train to Berlin online, we set off to explore.
The Old Town is lovely and Castle Square at the start of it another big open space. Some lovely decorated buildings and lots of churches are the highlights of the old area, but there is also a nice walk around the Bastion or Barbakhan ( wonder if that’s why the lovely Polish restaurant in York is so named?).
Castle Square

Castle Square

Again we were lucky with the weather...maybe too lucky as it was a warm 20-22 degrees - a bit warm for walking.
One of the things I really liked was that there are stones “Chopin benches” around. We found one in Saxony Gardens...they have a bit about Chopin’s early life in Poland before he moved away ( and stayed away) but best of all, they have a sensor to trigger which then plays one of his piano works. There is something very moving about hearing the lovely music in the open air in a park.
Chopin bench, Saxon Garden

Chopin bench, Saxon Garden

We could have visited the Chopin Museum, but it was such a nice day to be out and walking, I demurred in favour of enjoying the Old Town more.
After a welcome rest back at the hotel, we headed off to indulge in a substantial meal of pierogies...had to be done! They and the beer were excellent. And so to bed...that’s explored 8 new capital cities so far plus the interesting places in between like Hamburg, St. Petersburg and Bialystok...not to mention Daugavpils ( please don’t mention Daugavpils!!).

Posted by nanny0gg 09:41 Archived in Poland Comments (0)

Day 16

Bialystok to Warsaw

rain 7 °C

Well the train did eventually get to Bialystok and in heavy drizzle! Couldn’t see where to go to get to main station in the dark so hauled the luggage up and over a footbridge with much difficulty to get to main entrance and taxi rank. Next day in daylight, we found dropped kerbs for crossing the tracks to get to various platforms, but they weren’t obvious in pitch dark and drizzle, sadly! Hotel was lovely...very fin de siècle in style and so comfortable. Called Hotel Branicki, it was a short walk to the Branicki Palace and gardens...known as The Versailles of the North as the Branicki family employed a French architects and garden designers with that in mind.
Branicki Palace

Branicki Palace

The buildings aren’t open on Mondays , but are used as part of the local university, so wandering round isn’t a problem. Even at this time of year there was a little colour left in the flower beds, but there were teams of gardeners clearing the summer plants to prepare for winter and the fountains were all working too. It was lovely and peaceful though - a lovely surprise to visit in a place that was really only a stopover to make the journey to Warsaw shorter.
Branicki Gardens

Branicki Gardens

By early afternoon it was time to get back to the station to head on to Warsaw. We faffed about deciding which of two trains to go for and picked the earlier one...then arranged a taxi to the station. I’m always stressed getting to stations in time for trains, but this was stress plus! First the taxi was a bit slow to arrive, then it got stuck in heavy traffic. When we got to the station, we still decided to try for the earlier of the trains, then had to wait in the ticket queue. Next the card machine ( probably as a result of Keith’s electronic death ray ) refused to get payment right until we had only 5 minutes to find platform, train and seats! Luckily in this instance we found the easy way to cross, checked it was the Warsaw train and bundled in! The only good and less stressful moment came when the lovely booking clerk accepted Keith to be eligible for a senior discount ticket, but queried that I was old enough 😃 - I am extra pleased as it’s for over-60s! That made my day.
Train journey was easy and comfortable and we arrived on time in Warsaw Central...right in the middle of the rush hour. However the taxi driver managed to find a way and deposited us here in good time.

Posted by nanny0gg 02:31 Archived in Poland Comments (0)

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