Blog Contributor: Paulina Grochala
Over the summer I spent time visiting the country I am from - Poland. I was born in Florida, but my entire family is Polish, I grew up speaking the language, and have visited countless times (lately going twice a year, for Christmas and also during the summer).
Usually my visits are mostly spent with family, either in the suburbs just outside Warsaw or in my grandmother's tiny town two hours from the city. People always ask me what Poland is like, and I don't have much to say, since usually my time there is spent in my families homes rather than exploring the country. I did actually explore the country extensively on my own as a teenager, but since that was pretty much a decade ago the memories aren't as clear.
While I did spend time with my grandmother during this trip, I also spent some days staying in Old Town in Warsaw with my mum and they were pretty incredible. I feel like I discovered - or rediscovered, actually - this amazing city that I never cared much about before. Well, that certainly has changed! Here are some highlights of the summer days spent in the beautiful Warsaw :)
Highlights of eating (favorite, per usual):
As always, one of my favorite things to do when traveling is eating. I had a lot of good foodie moments in Warsaw this summer, starting with...
Atelier Amaro - I had an incredibly special dinner here one evening. This is the only restaurant in Poland with a Michelin star, and wow do they deserve it. It is a tiny little restaurant, located in the beautiful Lazienki Park (more on that later), and everything from their ambience to presentation to all 9 (!!) courses to the wine pairings were just out of this world. They altered their menu to be vegetarian for me, greatly appreciated. Definitely dying to go back someday.
Shabby Chic Cafe - I had breakfast here a couple times, perfect location just on one of the side streets coming from Rynek Starego Miasta (Old Town Square). Lots of choices for breakfast, from juices and smoothies to sandwiches and omelettes. I liked sitting in the cosy table by the window.
Gospoda Kwiaty - translates to Flower Tavern, which duh, I love. I had walked by this restaurant many times on little jaunts into the city before but this was the first time I ate there. I had such a simple but amazingly flavorful salad for a starter - beets, cucumber, goat cheese and I think pumpkin seeds - and pierogis for my main. I'm extremely picky when it comes to pierogis because my mother's are the best, but I really enjoyed these, so if you're looking for authentic, mama's cookin' pierogis, definitely pop in here :) its also on a little side street off the main square, and they actually have a large seating area in the main square if you want to eat there. We just sat at a table right outside the restaurant, with all their pretty flowers. The interior of the restaurant is really gorgeous too.
To Lubie - translates to I Like This, and I definitely did. It is another perfect, quaint breakfast spot. I seriously love finding these little spots when traveling, it gives such a great start to the day. It is a slightly longer walk to get here from the main square, but its so scenic and highly enjoyable. Worth it to go just for the walk.
Thaisty - wonderful Thai food. How is it that I always end up eating Thai, no matter where I am in the world? It's definitely one of my favorite cuisines. I had dinner here with my cousins and it was great.
Batida - after our Thai dinner, we strolled to this amazing dessert spot. Seriously, the desserts here are next, next level. We sat outside with a view of a park and Hotel Bristol, the fanciest hotel in Warsaw, and enjoyed our desserts and the views. Don't miss this spot!!
To stay and to do:
I stayed in two different entire apt Airbnbs, both in the Stare Miasto (Old Town) part of Warsaw. I absolutely adored both. They were very affordable, so convenient and super cute. Definitely recommend staying in this part of the city, as it totally feels like you're stepping into practically Medieval Europe everytime you go outside (well, a much cleaner, nicer version probably, haha).
Stare Miasto in general is so worth exploring. I have a post from last Christmas about it during the holiday season here. The cafes, the shops, the museums, the castle, the culture, its all here, and all just wonderful.
My very favorite part of Warsaw is definitely the Lazienki park. It is massive and houses SO MANY cool things to explore. Definitely a full day's worth, at least. My favorite parts of it are the amphitheater and Chopin monument with the rose garden, as well as wandering through the wooded areas. You can also take a boat ride around the lake. It really is the perfect city park, with so much history to back it up.
We were honored to have Paulina Grochala as our blog contributor for another beautiful destination, and one that is close to home to our founder, Rochelle Truxal. Check out her blog where you will find more of her adventure stories, wellness and beauty tips and more!