Just back from 4 days in Warsaw as a family trip..myself..my brother who was visiting from U.S.in Athens and my Dad.I had been to Krakow before but never Warsaw..my brother had not been to Poland at all.One reason we wanted to do this trip is that we have Polish "roots" from my mother's side..her grandparents went to U.S. from Poland and Lithuania.So besides all this Mediterranean blood in me.. I do have some Polish/Lithuania heritage.
May I thank all those here who answered my questions and a special thanks to FREQUENT TRAVELLER22, who answered all my questions without hesitation and who gave me constant advice and information.He was such a great help to me.
We arrived in Warsaw with a direct LOT flight from Athens May 1st.I had arranged a transfer from Chopin airport with MODLINTRANSPORT.PL I must say that their service was excellent! It was referred to me by a tripadvisor member.I had been searching and this was not only the cheapest but very reliable! From start I was given the driver's name and mobile number...They stayed in contact with me by email and SMS .They never asked for any credit card details as other companies did nor were there any "I accept" agreements online...where you could easily be mislead.It was a straight forward service and very reliable.
At the airport getting suitcases and out was a breeze...as soon as we entered the arrivals hall our driver was waiting right up front.He quickly helped with luggage and took us to the car to be taken to the Hetman Hotel in Praga district.(I have a review of Hotel and of the Praga area).
We arrived at the hotel in about 20 minutes although he said it takes longer on normal days due to traffic.May 1st was of course a holiday so the streets were pretty empty.We booked for the return trip and said our goodbyes....
At the Hotel we were greeted by Andy the doorman(a very sweet man) who quickly helped us with our luggage...Checking in was a breeze as well and up we went to the room.
Since nothing was open as far as shops it being a holiday,we decided to get dinner around the hotel as we were a bit tired and to rest up.We actually ate next door(at moment I have forgotten the name!) and it was a lovely dinner! Back to room to settle and rest.
Next day (thursday May 2ond)..after a fantastic breakfast at the hotel...we walked over the bridge to the other side of the river to the Old Town.Its about a 15 to 20 minute walk.You can take the trams if you like.Once over the bridge you can avoid climbing up the stairs to old town area by entering the building in front of you where there are escalator stairs.We did this as not to tire my Dad.We wandered around the Old Town area..taking photos..looking at the tourist shops..bought a few souvenirs....just taking in the sights.My brother went quickly to the Madame Curie Museum...while we waited in the square.He also wanted to head out to the National Museum which my Dad and I did not want to do...I am not a Museum person..plus my Dad was getting tired.Off my brother went and Dad and I headed back over bridge to Praga area. We went to the Mall near the hotel..had a simple quick bite just to hold us till dinner.Walked around the Praga area and back to hotel to rest.
Later early evening we all went for dinner at BaBalu across from hotel.We did enjoy it!! They had a "all you could eat" buffet with a big variation of foods..salads etc.We liked both the atmosphere and the food was good.
Next day..yet again another holiday May 3rd! We headed to Old Town by taxi this time...where we decided to take the Hop On Off tourist bus.It was a bit of a hassle as roads had been blocked off due to celebrations.We did manage in the end to get the bus and did the whole rout of it..or what they could do...it was raining so was not the best of days.But an easy way to get around the city and see other parts of it.We stopped at the Chopin Museum which was open.Stayed awhile there..headed back to Old Town hoping to get a meal near there but it was a mad house filled with people..celebrations etc.Was impossible to find some place with a free table.So we headed back to Hotel by taxi again.By the way..I left my umbrella in the taxi when getting out...and believe it or not the Taxi driver returned later to the hotel to give it to me when he realized I had left it..So kind of him!
A bit of rest at the hotel again.My brother and I went to the Orthodox Church just up the road...it was Holy Week for us.There was a service going on so it was very nice to see it and light a candle.We stayed a bit and then walked a bit around other streets in Praga discovering hidden courtyards and shrines in them.The buildings are very old but thats because Praga was never built up or renovated after the war.We did not find it dangerous nor did we feel unsafe.Mind you we did not circulate late at night.But it had a nice "neighborhood" atmosphere about it.We found Mala Street and Stalowa Street where the film "the Pianist" was filmed among other locations.Back to the Mall for some shopping and to hotel to get Dad to have dinner.
We loved eating Potato pancakes and pierogis!!!!!!
Saturday after our great breakfast we loved eating everyday..we stayed in Praga area.Did some shopping...went to the Russian Bazaar which was just up the street where we shopped again.I had a quick look around at all the second hand clothes shops near the hotel which were quite busy!Visited a couple bakers..and delicatessens.Bought some" Buffalo" Vodka..with the grass strand in it......!!
We left my father to rest at the hotel and my brother and I once again did some wandering around Praga taking photos.We stopped again at the Orthodox Church to see part of the Holy Saturday service and light a candle.We then headed over the bridge to the Old Town.Once there it was lovely..full with people..children..tourists.We walked around..bought some last minute souvenirs....took more photos and just enjoyed the whole lovely atmosphere.Back to the hotel and out for dinner..Again at Babalu since we liked it so much.
Sunday morning after breakfast we said our goodbyes and thanks and our driver came for us.Back to Chopin Airport......
It was a good trip! We found Warsaw and the people to be kind and friendly..always with a smile and helpful to us.Its a trip we will keep in our hearts!
.If theres anything I have forgotten I will surely post later!!