During this winter break, I celebrated the holidays with family friends, who my parents knew back when they lived in Poland. Since I saw them last on our annual trip to Poland, visiting them again reminded me of the great vacation that I had traveling throughout Warsaw and other places in the country. I felt that now, when there is a multitude of snow and cold weather, would be a perfect time to reminisce on the summer I had, and the wonderful time that I spent abroad.
This past August, my family and I returned to Poland, due to our yearly tradition to visit there to spend some time with family. Although the country has many attractions, my personal favorite place to visit is the Stare Miasto (“Old Town”) in Warsaw. This little town has history dating back to the 13th century, when it was first established. Not only is it the home of the Royal Castle, where the President of Poland resided for many years before the Invasion of Poland, but it also commemorates lost soldiers, important Polish historical figures, and the history of the nation with its street names, statues, and architectural design. With statues like the Mały Powstaniec (“The Little Insurgent”) which illustrates a child dressed for war, the town commemorates the lives of children that were lost in the Warsaw Uprising. The statue of the “Syrenka Warszawska” (“Mermaid of Warsaw”) stands in the middle of the town’s square, and is one of many images of the mythical figure on Poland’s coat of arms that stands around the city of Warsaw. On top of the obvious symbols of Poland’s history is the more subtle message that comes with the brick wall connected to the Warsaw Barbacan, reminding visitors of the fortification that Poland needed during World War II. Although much of the town was destroyed with the Invasion of Poland in 1939, the rubble and the few standing buildings that remained were used to rebuild the town in the exact fashion that it stood before. Even now, you can visit the town and see huge columns that lay horizontally on stands with bullets still embedded in them from attacks and battles. There is even a wall that remains and is partially transparent due to bullet holes that penetrated it. This town is extremely beautiful with all the restoration that has been done, and extremely historical due to the building of the town being as true as possible to the town that stood there before.
Not only is this town awe-inspiring in beauty and instrumental to remembering the nation’s history, but it also serves its tourists well by offering an affluence of traditional (and delicious!) foods. When walking down the alleys, you can stop at window stores for rurki, which are hardened wafer tubes filled with whipped cream, or zapiekanki, which are toasted sandwiches typically with cheese and mushrooms as toppings. If you were to sit down for a meal, you may enjoy kotlety, which are breaded cutlets of pork, golabki, or pierogi, my personal favorite, similar to ravioli filled with either sweet or savory foods. In Norwell alone, you could find all of the traditional Polish food found in the country, and really feel like you live in Poland! As you can see, the Warsaw Stare Miasto is truly a place where you can see, feel, and taste the history of the beautiful nation, which is why the town is my favorite place to visit on my family’s annual trip to Poland.