A sightseeing tour in Warsaw may (if you are in the company of a guide), very well end up as a pilgrimage from one church to the other, while you listen to all the different religious communities existing in Poland now and previously.
When you are done with the churches it is time for the graveyards with an abundance of monuments symbolizing the greatness and suffering of Poland.
On the road the guide will stop at every other corner to point out a plaque recalling a number of brave Poles who were shot at this place during WWII.
In general the guide will not forget to remind you of the tale of Poland's sufferings, and the Poles are masters in making monuments for each drop of blood and each teardrop.
Luckily Warsaw is much more than a tale of sufferings. From a slightly grey Central European capital a few years ago a pulsating heart of the city and a flourishing cultural life has arisen at all levels.
Undoubtedly Warsaw's Old Town is worth a visit, but when this is over and done with, then get into the real town. Explore the areas around Marszalkowska Street, where you will find an abundance of small bars and restaurants for the locals, usually at very fair prices.
Enjoy the architecture, the buildings that survived from before WWII, standing side by side with grandiose examples of real socialist architecture and elegant, modern apartment blocks.
Take a trip to the right bank, which in general was not affected by the military operations 70 years ago. you can see the old houses in tumbledown majesty, while they give their history about a past era. It used to be the slum of Warsaw, but now art galleries and underground bars are appearing, and some of the old buildings are being restored to their original state.
Wherever you find yourself in Warsaw there will always be a large park in the neighbourhood, and around Warsaw you will find loads of forests in their wild state.
The atmosphere is in a flurry of activity; the working people and the students are obviously in funds, and they love to spend their money, meet up and enjoy a good time in each other's company, either at jazz concerts or Facebook arrangements. One may speak English almost everywhere, which is quite something of an achievement for a town where almost nobody knew the language 20 years ago.
I would like to share my impressions of Warsaw with you, both my impressions of the hectic and modern Warsaw and from the historical part - but with a sense of proportion. Of course we need to see the Jewish ghetto and one or two of the most important churches. One should also know that the symbol of resistance during WWII looks like this:
Of course we shall show our respect for the history. But afterwards we should go and enjoy Warsaw.
the flag of Warsaw
If you would like to receive updates about what happens in Warsaw and in this guide, then take a look at my Warsaw/page on Facebook. This is where I will be informing about new events and changes.