Warsaw: What you should know in their tours

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El pastel de bodas de Stalin. por elchicogris.

Picture by elchicogris

From an Old Town recovered from the rubble to gray examples of Soviet architecture, a capital to meet its streets.

Warsaw who falls in love before and is in love with the history and contemporary culture in Europe. A love leads to another … And finally to learn this lesson without books or sheets you need only to walk Okopowa, Prosta, Wawelska or any of the downtown streets of the Polish capital, and repair of the modest Soviet architecture of the tower blocks, the age-old portraits hanging the inhabitants of the ghetto or the variety of monuments dedicated to characters and events of the Second World War.

The traces of that race and the Cold War, still dominate a landscape that differs from other cities prepared for traditional tourism, such as Krakow and Gdansk, although much of the interest of visitors is precisely related to its tragic history in the twentieth century.

An example of this apparent victory of the past on the present: the Palace of Culture and Sports, a colossal building as gray and off, is still the most characteristic symbol of the city. This, despite the fact that a local politician called him a couple of decades of a gift without return to the Soviet dictator Josef Stalin would Varsoviana society for accepting the inevitable invasion of the Red Army in 1945, when the Polish army bowed several times had no choice but to fill the void of the withdrawal of German troops with the arrival of the Soviet Union.

Although never considered its demolition, the state of deterioration that is the typical communist construction suggests this possibility, especially if one considers that poor bill of materials and labor of its construction seriously aging complex. However, lovers of the contrasts found in the wonderful view from their balconies, an excellent opportunity to see clearly while old-style buildings erected in those years record time in red and also of the new towers office.

Heroic District:

The outlook calls, however, sped down the elevators of the Stalinist mass-ever, the fastest in Europe to address the best view district: Stare Miasto (Old Town, in Polish), also on the west bank of the Vistula River.

1989 was declared World Heritage by UNESCO, the Old City offers the charm of a European-style urban landscape of the historic Salzburg, Budapest or Prague, but with a difference that may result, at first, somewhat disappointing : none of the buildings there are, for they look old and legendary, is earlier than the 50s.

Krakow's Stare Mesto por -bLy-.

picture by bLy

However, what history of authenticity can remove it back in heroism: one of the buildings was made in the image and likeness of the above, destroyed by the tanks of the special division of the Waffen SS Nazi army. The systematic demolition was ordered by Hitler himself made after the failed rebellion known as the Warsaw Uprising, where the Polish resistance to the invaders tried to leave Germany without the help of Soviet troops.

As a result of this devastating action, represented in the famous film The Pianist, Roman Polanski, in that district were just rubble, some of which were embedded in the walls of homes and businesses rebuilt in homage to the original neighborhood.

Beyond its fascinating recent history, Stare Miasto is the best place to walk, take pictures and spend PLN yes or do have to get on Polish territory, as neither the euro nor the credit cards are accepted in many bars yet , restaurants, museums and souvenir sales.

The survival of the zloty (which at current exchange value agrees with the Argentine peso) is also a source of abuse to the tourists, exchange houses in the Old City and other landmarks of the city is amazing to charge premium prices who wish to obtain tickets domestic currency. So it is advisable to get money through the Polish ATM: Any fee charged will always be less than that imposed by the employee’s home shift.

However, any amount of money that you were able to offset waste, too, with generous cuisine restaurants in the area, which in most cases offers full menus for prices that are usually up to 40% less than in the Euro Zone. This kind of promotion Varsoviana also extends to hotels, inns and hostels, which offer lower rates by a similar proportion to the meal.

By tram:

To exit the Stare Miasto and appreciate, for example, works of local painters Michalowski, Witkacy and Podkowinski at the National Museum, the best way to get there is by tram. Although many of them suffer from an outdated look and are equipped with a lighting system not much younger than the cars of the subway line A in Buenos Aires, the service and frequency are decent.

For this reason and because a three-day unlimited pass costs only 16 zlotys (or weight) is much more convenient to travel by tram to take a taxi: the ignorance of the Polish and the fame of the Warsaw taxi drivers to charge additional fees becomes much non-existent more bearable wobble their creaking wagons, after all, share the street with other ultra-modern units.

By this means, whose routes are clearly diagrammed in most of the downtown stops, you can also receive a comprehensive picture of the neat and finished design of its wide avenues, such as Jana Pawa II (named in tribute to the late Polish pope in 2005 ) Keep Jerozolimskie, Ratuszowa or Solidarnosci (another contemporary tribute, this time the Solidarity movement, Lech Walesa). This option is always better to walk, as most of the sidewalks in poor condition but for a good cause long term: the endless construction sites that mark the city. In addition, losing is not very convenient if not mastered the Polish language.

IMG_4824 por -bLy-.

picture by bLy

Good Luck!

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