While in Warsaw for a quick work trip last month I managed to squeeze in a 2 hour free walking tour of Old Town. The night before, I had practiced my vodka drinking skills with my Polish colleagues, so I must admit I was proud of myself for venturing out of the hotel at all. I highly recommend the walking tour, it’s the same model as the Sandemans Walking Tours where you tip the guide whatever you think is fair at the end.
We met in the main square of Old Town. The thing about Warsaw’s Old Town which is so intriguing is that it’s really the New “Old Town”. After the Warsaw Uprising of 1944 the city was obliterated by Hitler’s army and nearly all buildings were leveled. The resilient people of Poland rebuilt much of it after WWII according to old photos and drawings. One of our stops was at this memorial for the uprising.
Warsaw’s troubling past doesn’t end there. We also saw the borders of the former Jewish Ghetto from WWII. Traveling around Europe I often feel as though I’m learning about WWII for the first time compared to reading about it in history books back in school. Although decades have passed, the impact of war’s atrocities can never be fully erased.
Isn’t this hand creepy? The guide told us it’s the drama building and there is no rhyme or reason for it, just a touch of modern art.
We ended the tour back in the main square. After two hours in near freezing temperatures I was ready for a hot drink and time indoors again. I would love to return to Warsaw and explore more of Poland one day, preferably Spring or Summer.