Eventually, everything comes to an end and so did our stay in the Slovak capital Bratislava. Our last day at work was March 31. We had decided that we wanted to go for one more trip before leaving Slovakia for the cold north. In the evening of that very same day, a bus would take us on our last adventure. Earlier that day we had handed in our equipment and badges at work. In less than two weeks we would be in Sweden starting our new life. There was just this one final adventure in between. A few days in Poland and its capital Warsaw.
Warsaw: On our way
Sometimes the most entertaining scenes are played for you when you are tired and don’t really understand what is going on. While we were waiting at the bus station in Bratislava we saw another bus stopping to pick up passengers. The bus was on its way to the Balkans somewhere and it seemed to have some problems starting again after the quick stop. Eventually, all the male passengers stepped out of the vehicle and started to push the bus. Out of a hatch next to the baggage compartment, another man jumped out and assisted with the pushing. Once the bus was finally moving we witnessed how everyone was trying to get back onto the bus before it took off – including the man who like an expert jumped back into his own small private compartment.
Well, that was the entertainment before our bus from PolskiBus arrived. Having left Bratislava at midnight we expected to arrive in Warsaw around 11 am the following day. In other words, we had around 11 hours to spend on the bus. There were just a few stops, so we were quite lucky to be able to sleep most of the trip, just waking up occasionally once the bus made a stop or someone snored a bit too loudly.
Warsaw: Arrival & Day 1
Slightly before noon we finally arrived in the neighborhood of Wilanowska and continued directly onwards with the metro to the center of Warsaw. One of the first sights we saw was the Palace of Culture and Science. This building was once known as the Joseph Stalin Palace of Culture and Science but has since been renamed. Construction began in 1952. In 1955 the impressive tower stood tall and ready. Designed by Lev Rudnev, it is informally referred to as the eighth sister. The architect’s seven other sisters stand in different spots around Moscow. The building in Warsaw measures an impressive 237 meters up in the air and it is indeed an odd piece next to several more modern skyscrapers built in the area.
We had booked an apartment for our two nights in the city and we decided to head to the area where we were going to stay. The walk took us through the old town of Warsaw. The old town has mostly been rebuilt after its complete destruction during World War II. It is really possible to see how all the effort to recreate most of the buildings. Even though small alternations have probably been made throughout the years, it really is an amazing feeling to walk around in the town. The memory of Susann sitting on one of the many walls enjoying an ice-cream in the sunshine is still on my mind.
Warsaw: Second Day
We had one main goal for our second day in the city of Warsaw. In a city so rich in history and culture, we really wanted to visit the Warsaw Uprising Museum. We had our destination on the map and started the walk. It did not take long before we found out that there really was a huge amount of construction work taking place in the city. Finding a street where we could actually walk became our biggest problem and it did take us a lot longer than expected to walk to our destination.
Luckily the museum was very fascinating. It did teach us a lot about the city’s World War II history. Still, it is two pictures that are in my mind from the visit. One is, of course, the Memorial Wall with thousands of name inscriptions. There is a name for all those people who died. The second image I remember is a photo showing the destruction of the city. 85-90 percent of Warsaw’s buildings had been destroyed by January 1945. The photos of the destruction really makes it hard to imagine that anyone is still living in the city. And what a thriving city it is.
After two days of exploring Warsaw, we spent the last day eating pierogi and spending some time at a café. If my memory is correct, the main reason for this was the bad weather. Not that it was raining, but it was a lot colder than in the previous two days.
Eventually, we were back in the neighborhood of Wilanowska awaiting the arrival of the bus that would take us back to Bratislava. With us, we brought yet some more memories from our time living and working in Slovakia. It really had turned out to be an amazing base to explore the region. PolskiBus might not have offered the most comfortable transportation between the cities. What they did offer was for sure the best value for our money at that time. Hopefully, we will go back to Warsaw one day. That day we would probably try to find another means of transportation than a bus – especially if we would go to Warsaw from Stockholm.