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Showing posts from April, 2015

DOODLE: Warsaw - Manila Connection

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Warsaw Castle Square and Old Town

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One of the reasons why I wanted to explore Central and Eastern Europe was to increase my knowledge of European History, particularly with the time period of the Dark Ages. This is the period when various kingdoms, duchies, and principalities popped up, in, and around the continent; all interconnected by power plays, fixed marriages and politics. Before this trip, I had zero knowledge about the Polish Kings and Queens and I was very astonished to learn about how interwoven this line was with the monarchies of Russia (Novgorod), Austria, Prussia and Sweden.

* Definitely, the most lively and colorful area in Warsaw is its Castle Square. A popular meeting place for tourists and locals, the area is full of restaurants, cafes, public performers and souvenir stands. It is also very safe especially when compared to squares in other cities (Rome, Paris, Barcelona etc). Since Warsaw was totally destroyed by the Nazis, the Poles actually recreated everything you see here by using old paintings …

10 War Memorials and Monuments To See in Warsaw

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Well-rested after a long day of flying and the initial exploration of the city, the newlyweds woke up refreshed and proceeded to tour the highlights of Warsaw's imperial history of warfare where they learned about all the tragedies that befell the Polish people in the 20th Century.

* Easily one of the most beautiful things seen this whole trip was the monument of Frederic Chopin at Lazienki Park. Every Sunday, a pianist performs free recitals of his compositions.

LEGO Mancaos in Warsaw

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Exploring-ski Warsaw-ski

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* After checking-in our room and freshening up for a bit, we excitedly agreed to right away explore our first stop in the Honeymoon tour.
For history buffs, like yours truly, Warsaw is significant in that it was a major World War II site (setting of many a movie involving Nazi atrocities and the Warsaw Ghetto) and later a major Cold War site (where the USSR's Warsaw Pact was founded). However, what I found was a city rapidly commercializing and growing thanks to its embrace of capitalism and a people sincerely enjoying their relatively newly-found freedom; very much polite, helpful and much friendlier than all other European countries that I had previously been in.

* Stepping outside our hotel we immediately see Poland's tallest building, the imposing Palace of Culture and Science. A gift from the USSR to the people of Poland, the building is in the traditional "Stalinist" communist-style architecture, which means it is HUGE and completely dominates the entire city …

Honeymoon Honception!

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* A memorable honeymoon, as with a happy marriage, succeeds with a good mixture of compromise and win-win situations. For the writer, this amounts to going to places rich in history and culture (food, music and landmarks) where his inner historian/adventurer can be satisfied; and for his wife, this amounts to loads of shopping and picture-worthy sites. This was our first challenge as newlyweds, and we both jumped at the chance to tackle it head-on.

* Grabbing one of my favorite books from the home library, we decided to work on a big chunk of our bucket list by crossing out Central and Eastern Europe, site of some of history's most important moments and wars, as well as the home of Europe's ancient Kingdoms (Polish, Magyar, Austro-Hungarian, Bavarian, Bohemian and Venetian)

* Our honeymoon travels would take us from the World War II battleground of Warsaw, to the home of Polish Kings, Krakow, from fairy-tale Budapest to the majesty of Imperial Vienna, past the beer halls of M…