A 3 hour train from Krakow is the Polish capital, Warsaw . We got into Warsaw late at night and had the next day to explore the city before flying out to Zurich, Switzerland. Warsaw is well known for it’s varying architecture reflecting the city’s long historic past. Warsaw is a beautiful city with gothic churches, soviet-era buildings and modern skyscrapers. We spent most of our morning exploring Warsaw’s Old Town which is a neighbourhood of Warsaw that was rebuilt and restored after taking heavy damage during WWII. It is so easy to get lost in Old Town, walking up and down the cobblestone alleys, admiring the medieval architecture, there is so much to explore.
A great thing about travelling in winter is the the Christmas markets that are everywhere throughout Europe. Selling items ranging from mulled wine, Christmas decorations and jewellery. The best part of the Christmas markets for me was the hot chocolate which became staple in my diet whilst I was in Europe. After spending a few hours walking around Old Town taking in the magnificent architecture we decided to find somewhere to eat as one can not survive on hot chocolate alone. We found a restaurant that was not too far from Old Town and got a table. I ordered a pasta dish which was quite nice and what was better was that it worked out to be $9 Australian highlighting once again how cheap Poland is.
There was some lady walking around the restaurant with a clipboard and about halfway through our meal she came up to us. Being Polish she was speaking broken English so it was very difficult to understand what she was saying. Eventually we worked out she was collecting donations for a charity and the clipboard had a piece of paper with a table where others had written their name and the amount they had donated. People had donated between 50 and 100 Polish Zloty which is roughly $20-$40 Australian. So Benji opened his wallet to give her 20 euros which was a mistake because as soon as he opened his wallet the lady reached in and took all the cash he had.
Initially we were shocked and tried to grab the money back however she wouldn’t budge. It was no use arguing with her as she could barely speak English. I’m not sure if it was because she could understand a little of what we were saying or the fact were speaking in an orotund tone or maybe a combination of both but she reluctantly gave most of the money back. After the lady eventually left we worked out that she had almost stolen over $400 which would have been terrible to say the least. I think it’s safe to say never open your wallet in front of someone whilst travelling. We had almost been robbed on our 3rd day in Europe, what a great start.
We spent most of our remaining hours in Warsaw wandering around the streets admiring the Christmas decorations that began to light up as it got darker (about 3pm). We found an ice skating rink in the middle of old town, we paid about $2 for 30 minutes and it started snowing whilst we where ice skating which was amazing. Well it more so Benji ice skating and me holding onto the outside rails trying my best not to fall over. By 4:30 it was dark and time to leave as we were flying to Switzerland at 7:30, we had one more hot chocolate each and said goodbye to Warsaw.