Exploring-ski Warsaw-ski

* 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.

Palace of Culture and Science

* 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 skyline.

Communist Style

* Street after street of familiar looking buildings with just their hue to differentiate them, thanks to communist rebuilding efforts after World War II.

Selfie with Walking Essentials
* With over 20 hours in the air but with adrenalin and excitement pumping, it's time to go exploring!

Daily Planetski

* Where Clark Kent-ski works, at the Daily Planet-ski.

High-End Boutique Shopping

* With the end of Communism in the 90's and Poland's ascension to the European Union, the Poles were quick to embrace capitalism and everything Western. Check out all the designer brands sharing this mall.

Requisite Park Shot

* The wifey loving the autumn with her requisite "sitting on a bench at the park" pose.

Charles de Gaulle Monument

* The Charles de Gaulle Roundabout connects the two major streets of Warsaw and is represented by a huge palm tree (Don't ask me why!)

Intricacies of Polish Language

* I love how massively complicated the Polish language looks. The wife and I spend a few minutes trying to read the name of this prominent Polish bank.

Nowy Swiat

* Walking along Nowy Swiat Street, one of Warsaw's main historic thoroughfares, leads to the Castle Square and Old Town of Warsaw. Warsaw was completely destroyed by the Nazis during WWII, with 80-90% of its buildings razed to the ground. 

Krakowskie Przedmiescie

* Painstakingly rebuilt to look like its early 19th century appearance, the street is now lined with restaurants, cafes, bookstores and boutique shops.

Selfie at Krakowskie Przedmiescie

* The newlyweds taking advantage of their selfie stick, to take their very first couple selfie!

Monument to Nicolaus Copernicus

* Stopping in front of the monument of Nicolaus Copernicus, the famous, Polish, Renaissance-era astronomer who said that the Sun (not the Earth) was at the center of the Universe.

Presidential Palace

* Further down the street and you'll get to the Krakowskie Przedmiescie (trying saying it!), Warsaw's most prestigious area where historic palaces, churches, and manors are located. This building with the horseback-riding, Prince Jozef Poniatowski, and armed guards is the Presidential Palace of Poland. 

Visitationist Church

* Much like the Philippines, Poland is staunchly Roman Catholic, with almost a church found in every corner (I counted four in Krakowskie Przedmiescie alone!)

Visitationist Church Altar

* And this one, the beautiful Visitationist Church, is famous for once having the famous composer, Frederic Chopin, play the organ regularly during Sunday services. 

Writer's Note: I am a HUGE fan of old churches, cathedrals and other places of worship; and you'll be seeing a whole lot more pictures of them as we go along!

University of Warsaw

* Students at the University of Warsaw wearing traditional Polish garments! One of the University's most notable alumni is David Ben-Gurion, Zionist leader who became the primary founder and first Prime Minister of Israel.

Used Books Market

* The wife and I are passionate about books and reading so we just had to stop by this used book marketski!

New Yorksky

* Taking a detour to walk along Chmielna Street, full of Western shops, restaurants, and other curiosities.

Maria Ozawawska

* I have no idea what's happening here! Is it a party? An improv performance?

Lure of the Toy Store

* Ahhh.. even in Warsaw, the call of Ze Toy Store is very strongski!

Kebab King

* As is the call of Middle Eastern cuisine, my personal favorite kind of food!

TK Maxx

* Conversely, the call of shopping is equally strong on the wife! 

Smut Store

* And of course, I just had to take a photo of this store selling questionable, R18 wares.

Polonia Palace

* A view of our hotel from afar. Very nice and neo-classical! 

Illuminated Palace of Culture and Science

* The Palace of Culture and Science: gruff and tough by day, colorful and exuberant by night. A very impressive 180-turn!

Polonia Palace Facade

* We had the pleasure of staying at the Polonia Palace Hotel, one of Warsaw's oldest and most illustrious hotels.

Polonia Palace Lobby

* Formerly an actual Palace inhabited by one of Poland's oldest aristocratic families, the structure also served as a Nazi Officer's Barracks and shared Diplomatic Mission & Consulate Building (including the US and UK) before finally becoming a hotel.

Polonia Palace

* Classy and Swanky!

Ksiazece Dark Beer

* Capping off a very light and enjoyable first day with a bottle of Ksiazece Dark Beer. Looking forward to the journey we have ahead!


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