So, what does one do when one has a mandatory layover in Warsaw? One makes the lemons into lemonade. I was recently informed by LOT airlines, the national airline of Poland, that my connection flight to Croatia was being pushed to the following day which meant I had 18 hours to kill in Warsaw. Rather than spend that time huddled in their airport, I decided to come into the city and explore.
The great thing about this adventure, it’s been cheap. I took a 20 minute train ride from the airport to the center of Warsaw and it was only $1 (thanks to the excellent exchange rate $1= 4 Polish zloty). My taxi ride to the Hilton (I love staying in style and using points) was only $3, $4 with tip. I am only out $5 at this point. I can’t think of another 1st world country where you can get 10 miles anywhere for $5.
Warsaw’s center city is very compact and easy to walk around. I took a stroll after my Periscope on jet lag mainly to get up and going so I could hit 10k steps (fitbit on the brain) and to stave off the jet lag that was starting to creep in. I made it to the central train station, Palace of Culture and the cool Warsaw central mall. This mall was amazing and felt just like an American mall except hipper. 80% of the stores were ones you see at any US mall, globalization is real!
After a mall stroll, I wondered around looking for a place to eat, it was about 6pm at this point. I arrived in Warsaw rather late, 2pm, and this was not enough time to do any real sight seeing here before dark( not in March). I have been to Warsaw’s history museum of the WWII and it’s old town (both highly recommended) and would have visited it I arrived earlier or had more sunlight (sunset was 5:30pm).
I found a non-decript pasta restaurant called Noodles and More. Thinking it was Asian inspired, I went in. It was not Asian inspired but a take on Italian + Polish, which was fine with me. The owner greeted me in his broken English and me in my broken Polish (I went on an exchange program to Poland in 1998 and the language lingers a bit). I ordered pierogis (my fav in Poland), a bowl of cheese/ham pasta, 2 glasses of decent red win and bottle of water. Not only was the meal perfect and delicious, it was only $13. The wine alone was only $1 a glass. Further proof of the current amazing exchange rate.
If you ever find yourself with the opportunity for a layover in Warsaw, take it, the city will surprise you. It is very modern, filled of coffee shops, relatively cheap to get around and constantly changing. The old is being town down for the new shiny signs of progress.