Places to eat
I assume that you'll be in Sofitel Victoria hotel? If so, it's very centre of the city with a lot of places to eat. Just about 150 m from hotel there's Krakowskie Przedmiescie street where you can find various places with food - from students' canteen to more sophisticated places. You should also go to Bednarska street (very close) and eat pierogi there. Really worth trying:)
Oldies ... but Goldies ;)
Sightseeing Warsaw's Old Town is a wonderful place to spend a few hours. Cobblestone streets, cafes and restaurants and one of the most beautiful city squares in Europe make it an unmissable attraction. The Old Town of today was in fact painstakingly rebuilt -literally brick by brick after the Second World War. So in fact, it's not that old at all - but it's heart is as historic as Warsaw itself.
You absolutely must...visit...
You absolutely must...visit the Old Town. Warsaw was almost completely destroyed during World War II, yet the Old Town has been faithfully restored to look just as it may have in the eighteenth century. The paintings which were used as references in the reconstruction can be seen in the Royal Castle, itself the product of thirty years painstaking restorative labour. There are also reminders of the Polish resistance, including the Professor's House, in which a dissident professor and his students sheltered. Also in the Old Town area, you can see the Street of a Thousand Steps (although there are considerably less than this!) and Warsaw's narrowest house :) The people of Warsaw are undoubtedly its greatest treasure.
Meet photographer of John Paul II :-)
I've visited the exhibition of pictures taken during numerous pilgrimages of John Paul II to various countries all over the world. The very interesting pictures show emotions of both the pope, various church hierarchies and people welcoming the pope. The photographs displayed around rotunda of the protestant church of the Holy Trinity are neither well lighted nor properly marked... it's a pity. The pictures were taken by Italian Arturo Mari - private photographer of a few popes and by Polish Jan Gruszynski. We, Urszula and I, were very, very lucky to meet personally Jan Gruszynski, living in both Warsaw and Paris, who told us a lot of fascinating stories on life of pope and his pilgrimages. He is a very friendly and open guy, dedicated passionate of photography, travels, other people and personality of John Paul II which influenced him a lot.
I regret Toyin wasn't with us, as saying about Nigeria Mr Gruszynski told us that one Black Nigerian church hierarchy in the picture with the pope, told to the pope that he had some Polish roots and could speak a bit Polish and indeed he told something in Polish. The pope smiled and replied that although he had been living in Vatican for years he probably knew Polish language a bit better :-). I didn't know that there were any Nigerians with Polish roots.
Shortly, after maybe half an hour of fascinating conversation we exchanged addresses and phone numbers with fascinating on VT Mr Gruszynski (he didn't know it), and... we do hope to meet him again... maybe even to welcome him to the next Warsaw VT-meeting, bad idea?
Jan Gruszynski was an independent reporter of 70 pilgrimages of pope John Paul II, philosophy and theology graduate of Wyszynski University in Warsaw, sociology graduate of Warsaw University and a Doctor of Sociology and lecturer at Sorbona University in Paris, a specialist on Polish immigration. He is also a dedicated traveller interested especially in Poles living in Siberia and the Far East of Russia where he traveled and made reasearches six times. He published a few hundreds reportages both in Poland and abroad and articles on ecumenical aspects of the pilgrimages of John Paul II.
When cherry came to us :-)
1. It's a common custom in many good Polish restaurants to give all costumers a small "gift" from the manager/owner in the beginning or at the end, usually a small local meal or drink. Well, we were more about to drink than to eat at about midnight. So, small glasses of Polish cherry (Poland is among top producers of cherry in Europe) were brought to us by our pretty and nice waitress, for free. It was a sign that they were going to close as well, I guess. Well, they - like most large restaurants - close at fixed hour, at 1 am in this case and they couldn't stay open longer, to the last guest, I mean. Following the gift we continued to order next glasses of cherry...
2. "Is it for me, please?", Kathy thought.
3. "Wow, it's for me, thank you!"
4. "Hmm... it smells nice"
5. "The next one for me, please", Claus asks.