With the half-point dawning on my summer, I've swapped breezy palms for cobbled streets, curling spires, and sprawling castle turrets. Florida's oppressive heat, however, has proven to be unshakeable, as even now, thousands of miles away, I'm wallowing in rare ninety-degree weather. And thus I inaugurate my five-week exile at my grandparents' in Warsaw, Poland, with upcoming pitstops in Sopot, Vienna, and Paris.
|Warsaw's mottled buildings are strung like pearls on a necklace.|
I know Warsaw doesn't sound like the most auspicious vacation destination, what with its complete demolition in World War II and decline into Socialism during the latter part of the twentieth century. But I've embarked on month-long stays every summer with my Babunia and Dziadek, and now I can pinpoint all of the city's hidden gems: ravishing landscapes, bohemian enclaves, and historic monoliths depicting the Polish human condition.
|Remanants of a castle in Stary Miasto, or Old Town.|
|Ornate molds atop a building.|
|Churches and cathedrals are sprinkled throughout Poland, a predominantly Catholic country.|
|My lastest haunt - cafes serving Polish specialties.|
|A platter of pierogi garnished with bacon at Babcia's Restaurant.|
Typically, I recoil from air travel and approach adventure timidly. Yet Warsaw has animated my traveler's verve, and has me scrounging at the city's every nook and cranny in hot pursuit of new experiences. Tomorrow I find myself on the road again, this time to northern Poland waterfront, Sopot. If it even halfway rivals Warsaw, I'll consider it a worthwhile visit.
|Me, out on the city. Photo cred: Monika Rowinska|