Monday, 25 June 2018

Guest Post - Warsaw – an undiscovered gem by Julie Ryan - Bookish World Cup - Poland

My first visit to Warsaw was the result of a chance encounter with some Polish students in London. They went on to become good friends and led to me setting up a language school there in the nineties. Back then Poland was a post-communist country struggling to find its place in a modern Europe and you would probably not have considered it as a holiday destination.  Fast-forward a few years and it has much to offer.

Warsaw is perfect for a long weekend and to get your bearings, look for the Palace of Culture and Science (PKIn)– you can’t miss it as it dominates the landscape from wherever you are in the city. It was given to the Polish people as a gift by the Russians and there is the old joke that the best place to see Warsaw is from the top of the building – the only place where you can’t actually see the ‘monstrosity’ itself. Built in the 1950s and now hosting a theatre, cinema, conference centre and museum, it has today become something of an icon and is tallest building in Warsaw with a viewing terrace on the 30th floor. 

Unlike many East-European cities, Warsaw is somewhat different in that the hub isn’t the Old Town. Destroyed during WW2, the houses have been rebuilt to replicate the originals and the ‘Stare Miasto’ is by far my favourite place in Warsaw. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. with its mix of architecture and its medieval feel, it is a lovely square in which to sit in one of the many cafes or bars and watch the world go by.

If it’s culture you want then Warsaw has it in abundance with the Chopin museum, the Royal Palace, Łazienki Park and two opera houses. Just remember to check the opening times and to book in advance if necessary.

For those who prefer shopping as a pastime then you shouldn’t be disappointed. Long gone are the dreary days of having to queue for everything and then finding that there is little to buy. In the last few years Warsaw has become almost unrecognisable. One of the biggest malls is Złote Tarasy, centrally located behind the Warszawa Centralna railway station, it is easily identifiable from its curved glass roof and houses almost every chain store you can think of.  If you’re looking for souvenirs then unusual glassware, wooden jewellery boxes and amber make ideal gifts.

While you’re there don’t forget to indulge in the local fare. Winter is the best time to savour Polish cuisine as it offers hearty soups, stews and my personal favourite perogi.

For me, Poland’s best selling point is its people. Having suffered much in the past, they are a truly hospitable race – always helpful and willing to share even if they don’t have much themselves.

Thank you so much Julie for this great look at Warsaw. 


Julie Ryan’s roots are in a small mining village in South Yorkshire. After a degree in French Language and Literature, wanderlust kicked in and she lived and worked in France, Poland, Thailand and Greece. Her spirit enriched, her imagination fired, Julie started a series of mystery romances, thrillers set in the Greek Isles. 
Jenna's Journey is the first novel in Julie Ryan’s Greek Islands Series, a series she did not set out to create but which took on its own life and grew, rich and fascinating. This is the first of three published so far and promises to delight readers looking for the hidden dark sides of dream vacations in the Greek Isles.

In a new venture, Julie's latest book is a short rom-com called Callie's Christmas Countdown.
A prolific and well-known book review blogger, Julie does her writing and reviewing from rural Gloucestershire, where she lives with her husband, son and dippy cat with half a tail.
You can find Julie on her websites:

Website/blog for book reviews
and on Twitter @julieryan18

1 comment:

  1. Visiting Eastern Europe is on my wish list thanks for the interesting post!


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