Last Saturday, I decided it’s high time I be a real tourist and get to know Warsaw better! It’s pretty awesome that the city offers free walking tours! Apparently, this company has been around for ten years now, and surviving solely on donations and tips they received at the end of the tour.
The tour started at the famous King Sigismund’s column, which as our tour guide said, was one of the worst kings in the history of Poland! He apparently started the conflicts between Russia and Poland, was very ill-tempered and a dedicated Catholic who worshiped the Bishop and brought on corruption. How very strange to have a giant column of a bad king hmmm.. Our guide said the only good thing this king did was moving the capital from Krakow to Warsaw haha..
We walked to the main square and also the palace which was just close by. Everything in Old Town is all very close to each other. In fact, you can walk all around Old Town in 30min. I was kind of disappointed that most of the stores are and not cute little hipster stores.
In the main square, was the mermaid statue , the guardian of Warsaw. There’s a story having to do with how it came to be. But because I am so short and our tour group was so large, I was all the way at the back and could not hear a thing… >__< I think the story goes something like this: a brave guy saved the mermaid who has a pretty singing voice, and now she’s the protector of Warsaw. Also, the guy’s name was “War” and the mermaid’s name was “Saw” and their names became “Warsaw” :p
During the tour I decide to not be shy and I started a conversation with this other Asian guy walking beside me. Turns out he’s from Malaysia and I happily told him that one of my very good friends is from Malay 🙂 we chatted for the rest of the tour. Yea, I guess with the right company, it’s more fun to sight see with a buddy.
He doesn’t like to take photos every 3 seconds, unlike me. This reminds me of my guy back home hehe 🙂 ❤ He only takes photos of me, his cat and mango smoothies. :p Makes me miss him.
We walked by Madam Currie’s house. She’s the only person in the world record that received two Nobel prizes and first woman to get a drivings license 🙂 way cool ! I really enjoyed the story of her told by our guide.
We also walked by the remaining wall of the Jewish ghetto and the atmosphere got more solemn as she described the conditions they lived in and how they were shipped to the killing gas chambers 100km from Warsaw. I can still remember clearly in my mind, my Grade 10 social studies class on World War II and Hitler. Our teacher warned us that the video he’s showing us is quite graphic. I can never forgot the scene of how the German soldiers threw thousands of dead bodies into a big hole. The bodies were all extremely skinny and all naked. This is such a heavy part of human history. 😦
I’m also very impressed at the resiliency of the Polish people. Their Old Town Warsaw was destroyed 95percent, and yet the buildings were rebuilt from ground up and looks very authentic. It is now part of the UNESCO heritage site because of their great architectural skills !
When you visit, be sure to climb up the hundred something stairs up the viewing terrace by St. Anne’s at sunset 🙂 The best view over Warsaw’s magical old town.