Pharmacies in Warsaw
If, like about half the people in my group, you get some kind of illness during your visit, just look for the green signs that say "Apteka" on them. These are pharmacies, and you'll them all over the place. I was able to find good medication for my cold and cough and even discovered that you can buy codeine over the counter there (albeit in fairly small doses).
Of course, it would be easier if you just brought your own medicine just in case, but if you forget to do so don't worry because chances are you'll find what you need at an apteka without having to see a doctor first.
ATMs for all your cash needs
It seems like one of the most frequently posted questions on VT is how travelers should get cash at their destinations. Your options are to bring travelers checks or cash from your native country and exchange them for local currency when you get there or to use ATMs. In Warsaw I strongly recommend that you simply bring your ATM card with you. There are plenty of ATMs all over the place with instructions in several languages, so it's very convenient. Plus, you'll get the best exchange rate this way. I noticed that the exchange rates at the currency exchange kiosks around the city were really bad compared to the published exchange rate. So save yourself the trouble and just bring your ATM card.
Old Town shop signs
Walking along the streets of the Old Town, you will see another kind of ornament - beautiful decorative shop signs above the doors of the elegant shops or restaurants. Their intricate designs, often made in wrought iron or copper and very imaginative, delight the eye. Don't miss them - they are real works of art!
BTW, the bookshop in Piwna Street that you can see in the picture specializes in books and other publications on Warsaw. You might like to have a look inside.
Piotr, Ewa, June and Paul :-)
1-2. I have found Piotr (ZiOOlek) on VT by lucky coincidence searching VT Meetings and Forum Postings on Poland. I proposed him to join the meeting although I knew that he lived far from Warsaw. I admired his great page on Lviv, Ukraine and wanted to meet him a lot. Piotr lives in Sucha Beskidzka, lovely town among the mountains in southern Poland, some over 1 hour from my hometown (by car). Well, I know that the people living there and generally in the mountains are almost always very sympathetic and open to others (fresh air or what? :-). And Piotr is the next person "from the mountains" who proved this theory. Haha, I enjoyed a lot his stories on Sucha Beskidzka, people living there, his family, plans and so on.
I also enjoyed company of Ewa (Memmi) from Warsaw. I liked her VT travel motto: "carpe diem:)." It's a pity we didn't have more time to talk and that you couldn't join us on Saturday and Sunday. Maybe next time...
3-5. I was lucky to meet June (poons) and Paul (BodX) for the first time in Okidoki hostel. Both their homecountries, United Kingdom and Australia, are on the top of my future travel (or dream) list. Well, New Zealand before Australia as for now. So I was very lucky to meet you both and get to know how nice people live there :-).
June, thanks a lot for your great sense of humour, nice talks and giving us a lot of good laugh and fan. Warning: some day we may knock at your door! Hey, what does "poons" mean in English?
Paul, you was the first Australian I was talking to and shaking hands :-). I got to know how Kosciuszko (the name of the highest mountain in Australia and Polish-American hero) is pronaunced in Australia. You, Poles, never guess that. I got to know that the lowest temperature in Sydney was some -2C or so. Well, once my friends bought me fantastic travel book to Sydney for my birthday. Hmm... it will be a bit out-of-time when I eventually get to Sydney.
The love for flowers
It`s something you will notice right away- Polish people love flowers!!! While in Warsaw, or any other city in Poland, you will see so many flower shops, or just people standing around and selling them in the streets, that it might really surprise you.
There is a custom of giving flowers here. If you go and visit some Polish people at their house or you get invited to a dinner or party, you usually bring flowers for the woman- the host/owner of the house. Flowers are given for birthdays and namedays along with a gift. Also, Polish men give flowers to their ladies quite often!!! If you go on a date with a Polish girl, you usually give her flowers as well. You will often see one of the cutest views- a girl blushing and holding a rose, a guy by her side- a first date in Poland!!!
I really don`t know where it comes from, but it`s so nice and so Polish!!! :)