Polonia Palace Hotel and Folk Gospoda in Warsaw

If you have already read my previous post, you probably know, we arrived later than we planned to Warsaw and to our hotel-Polonia Palace hotel. The hotel is in the very center of Warsaw and is one of the best stays and value for money hotels I have ever stayed. Having read the tripadvisor advice in advance, I have already asked, not a main street room, but a side street room instead, in order to avoid the street voice. That was settled, but we were asked to wait about another hour, for our room to be ready. we were just starting to be angry, but luckily the receptionist guy told us that our room is upgraded to a suit, which is a nicer and bigger room. Well, that sound fine than, right?

Polonia Palace Hotel 100th year

Polonia Palace Hotel 100th year

So after waiting one more hour, we finally settled in our room. The hotel is 100 years old, but nicely refurbished and minimally decorated. Everything you need is on arm’s length. A fine restaurant, a bar, relaxing lobby and high ceiling rooms with finest bed and most importantly very very helpful staff. By the time, we reached our room, it was already time for dinner, so we went to the reception to ask some advice. What they did was more than an advice. They provided a booklet of fine restaurants with a few paragraphes of what they provide each. A couple of dozens of alternatives to choose from and the receptionist staff were very eager to answer any question about them. So we chose to go a local cuisine one called Folk Gospoda, which was a 5-10-minute-taxi away from our hotel.

Folk Gospoda looked more local than we tought, with wooden interior, needlework cushions and dark little windows.

The interior

The interior

The most common food in Warsaw is dumplings, where various kinds of staff dumped in flour, and boiled or fried.

Dumplings

Dumplings

The wine of the evening was a house wine. Well, I am not a wine expert, but I can say it was -how can I say- awful.

The house wine

The house wine

The other food we chose were not so bad, but the best thing I suppose was what our son had ordered. Any guess?

The white think is very very buttery butter.

The white think is very very buttery butter.

The soup, very tasty

The soup, very tasty

Something we could not understand, not so fancy.

Something we could not understand, not so fancy.

Our son's order

Our son’s plate

Next posts; streets and cafes in Warsaw.

 

Great Cruise Tour-day-6

Good morning view while approaching to Oslo

Good morning view while approaching to Oslo

The 6th day of our Great Cruise tour started with a lovely good morning view of Oslo. Unfortunately we only had a few hours to spend in Oslo, the capital of Norway. Moreover, this few hours would start even earlier than the days before. Therefore, I preferred to order my breakfast to our room, in order to avoid the hassle of 13th floor restaurant, and enjoy a superb breakfast with a splendid view of Oslo bay and islands. (Just a little tip here: order breakfast to your room, more than you think you will eat, as the plates are so small.)

No place to eat in our tiny room, so we did eat in our balcony

No place to eat in our tiny room, so we did eat in our balcony

Besides the breakfast, the early morning routines were pretty much the same. Today we took the “Introduction to Oslo” tour which I would not recommend if you are not a big group like ours. The only attraction of the tour was a superb Vigeland Park, which could be reached by a taxi, faster and easier. Other than the park, we did not have any chance to see the centre of the city, because of the traffic and not easy for the huge bus to go around, we could only pass trough the main streets and noted to come to Oslo again, sometime soon.

View from our balcony

View from our balcony

Vigeland park, is a must in Oslo, one of the best parks I have ever been. Home to some 192 sculptures by its namesake, the Vigeland sculpture park is the cynosure of Norway’s artistic landscape. The park is Gustave Vigeland’s artistic statement about the quintessential themes of life and relationships. A hundred meter long bridge bifurcates along a waterfall, each path adorned with large bronze wheels, while the bridge itself is adorned with granite depictions of humans at various stages of life, including Angry Boy, one of the most prominent sculptures in the park. Its other highlights include sculptures such as The FountainThe Monolith, and The Wheel of Life.

Angry boy

Angry boy

Wheel of life

Wheel of life

Vigeland Park

Vigeland Park

Another attraction of Oslo is the park where the winter Olympic games are held and the ski jump tower. The observation deck by the tower has a lovely view of Oslo and the Ski Jump simulator is very attractive for a child like ours.

Ski jump tower

Ski jump tower

Goodbye Oslo

Goodbye Oslo

I wish we could stay more in Oslo.

Another important thing to remember in Oslo is to redeem your invoices for tax free refunds, as Oslo is the last stop in Norway. To do this, you need to approach the tiny building by the Cruise, in which there are some souvenir shops and long queue of tax refund. Moreover, in the queue you find out that there are two different tax refund companies and if the invoices you hold comprise them both, you need to get in two different queues one by one. My advice would be either just skip it (which means  no tax refund), or ask your friend or partner to stay in the other queue (which is at the far end of the building). Other wise you spend a good half hour waiting in each of the queues. Is it worth waiting? Well, about 15% of the invoice, if you have a number of them, it may be worth it.

A chat from yesterday evening:

Our son: Mom do you remember the dance lessons you took.

Me: Sirtaki, Salsa, or Tarantelle.

Our son: Tarantelle, do you remember the dance steps?

Me: No, none.

Altough I enjoyed the Sirtaki class (yesterday), Salsa Class (The second day) and tarantelle class (today), during  the one week tour, when I try to remember any of them… No, not even one step is in my mind. What a pity.

Our day ended with long lunch, again in the Kaito sushi bar, the rescued island, far from the mass of people. And an afternoon nap, before dinner, after which we found – luckily- a place to sit in the lobby and enjoyed the live music of piano.

Back to normal city life

After a 3 months of on-and-off travelling and living in a summer house, we moved back to city together with the start of schools. A combination of being in a semi-developed country with low profile internet connections in summer resorts and an unfriendly-technology-user mom resulted in being a poor blogger. But I will recover the gap with a full detailed information about our first-time-ever cruise travel, today and in the coming days.

Besides the small travels to here and there (mostly SSS-Sun, Sea and Sand holidays) the main activity of summer has been the Cruise trip with MSC Poesia to Norwegian Fyords. We were a group of 8: Me, the organiser-as always, my husband and our son-as expected, my mom and her husband, my uncle and aunt and my grandfather. So group aged from 9 to 90. Tough isn’t it? Everything went well, as you will see in the coming days, but will I try again? Not every year I must say. Maybe once in 2 years or three. We’ll see.

Whoever goes to a cruise will tell you how nice to be able to see so many places without packing and unpacking your luggage. But I am now aware of so many “but” s.

For instance, have you seen the Truman Show? If not, please do. We felt like being in Truman show. In every corner, every elevator, every stairs, there are people waiting to block your passway.  As if people wait for you to get out of your room and start moving when you want to get on the elevator, or relax by the piano or eat some snack. By the end of the week, you feel “that was more than enough of people.”

You can follow me on the next couple of posts for day-to-day details.

Weekly Photo Challange: Curves

DSC01439

This weeks photo challange is the “curves”. Where on earth you can find curves better than Cappadocia? A land where nature is unique, where early Christians lived in the underground cities and caves, where every season has its something to show you and where children will love the adventures of being in a natural wonderland.

Clouds around curves

Clouds around curves

DSC01897

A 3 to 4 day trip to Cappadocia with children will provide you more than you expected. The famous cave hotels to stay, will let you pretend to be living in early history. Each one of the undergound cities will come to life with the imagination of your children.

Autumn leaves of Cappadocia

Autumn leaves of Cappadocia

Do you remember game:
Our son: Do you remember the “Family Chimneys”, the father, mother and son?
Me: Yes, and the grand parents further in the back

Me: Do you remember our hotel “Cappadocia Estates Hotel?
Our son: Yes, it was like a cave and had a lovely breakfast.

DSC01907

Warsaw Culture and Science Palace

View from our hotel room

View from our hotel room

One of the stops in Warsaw was the Culture and Science Palace, which is a landmark building in Warsaw. The building itself did not seem so fancy at all, actually too huge to be nice I can say. A present from Russia to Poland. Even tough our hotel was just accross the building, it took us more than 20 minutes, to cross the street and to find the right entrance.

The "right" entrance

The “right” entrance

It is a cinema, theater, galeries, business and conferance complex, but the main attraction is to go up 30th floor and enjoy the view of the city from every angle. Especially worth visiting in a nice weather with clear sky.

Our son loves to use these wherever he finds. Warsaw was not an exception.

Our son loves to use these wherever he finds. Warsaw was not an exception.

Children love to look at these and find out what they can see beyond city limits and try to find out something interesting. And if this spot is one of your latest stops, he can try to recognise where he had been in the previous days.

Detail from interior ceiling

Detail from interior ceiling

Viewing terrace

Viewing terrace

Unlike many towers we have been (for instance Empire State Building in NY, or Galata Tower in Istanbul or Eifel in Paris or Pisa in Italy or… that’s enough), there were no hassle of ticketing, elevator and viewing. Especially for children it is really annoying to be so up high but not to be able to see freely. The viewing terrace was wide and calm enough for him to enjoy the view of the city from every angle.

Notice the signs of Ghetto walls by the building

Notice the signs of Ghetto walls by the building

Warsaw with our son

DSC01353
This weekend we will be traveling to Warsaw with our son, and we are all wondering how our travel will be.
About three months ago, on a Rotary meeting of our club we had a guest speaker, who was a local writer, Rasel Rakella Asal. After 13 years of traveling to Poland and many other countries as a tourist guide, she decided to be a writer and studied in the University. His novel Cecile was about a 15 year old girl in the World War II, lived in Warsaw getto, been in the camps and wrote diary of her days. Rasel talked about, how she met Cecile, 40 years later and had chance to listen her war experience.
Well, just after the meeting, my husband called and said that we will be going to Warsaw. I was schoked to the coinsidence. I’ve read the book Cecile, since then. I’ve read some other books too, and yesterday evening I came accross to a documentary about a high school student group visiting Warsaw and the camps. They were really effected by the stories and most of them cried a lot, and I started to think of how our son will react to these. Shall we take him to see the camps and tell about what people suffered? Thankfully, my country did not take part in this war, therefore our “History” lessons ends in WWI. Does he need to learn about it? Am I the right person to teach him this war? Yesterday evening in the documentary, a very cute high school girl was crying and asking “Why?” She was at the age of Cecile, and many other who died there. Of course she was not the first one to ask this question, and probably will not be the last. I am sure there was a reason behind it. A reason that inspired thousands of Nazi’s and a reason that seemed to be true back in those days for them. I do not know the answer, I do not need to know. I will not be able to answer when he asks “Why?”.

A New York Travel with a lost luggage

Until our son was 3, we almost did not do any travels abroad. Our traveling with our son history started 7 years ago. And until he was 9 we could not be brave enough to do a long haul flight. That’s why our first time travel to US was last year.

Actually the start of our journey was really dramatic. We arrived to JFK safely, but our luggage did not do so (first time of such an experience). The more dramatic thing was, all three of us did fit in one luggage. The visa control was about 1,5 hours and it took us another 1,5 hours to search for our luggage, find a desk to inform the situation and try to understand how we would get our luggage. Not a nice welcome huh? Especially after a 9 hour flight, especially with a child.

Well, without our luggage, got off the airport, got the first taxi we met (and fooled by the driver, which is another story). Since we were late, the ruch hour started in Manhatten. Arrived to our hotel in New Jersey in another 1,5 hours. Thanks got, our hotel was just by a shopping mall, where we tried to find some underwear, t-shirts, lens solutions, ipad and iphone charges. When I say we, acually, I should say I, because that was when our son started to sleep on a bench at the mall, my husband stayed with him, and I tried to find everything, of course in different levels of Macy’s and by tring to understand the sizes which are totally different than we use and with dreadfully being sleepy.

We wish the story ended in a few days, however it did not. Everyday with hopes and loads of telephone calls, we were starting the day at Macy’s again, buying something to wear very quickly, trowing away the etiquettes, wearing them on and going to Manhattan. After 3 days, we got a phone call that our luggage has arrived and will bring it to our room. We all jumped on beds shouted and shouted. Ant the door rang, I opened very exitedly, and that was it: A WRONG SUITCASE. We could not beleive our eyes

How the story ended: We bought new suitcases in NY, flew to Las Vegas, and than to San Fransisco, than drove to LA and after 15 days of travel, flew back home. Our luggage arrived a month later,and the airline did pay only 1/10 of our expenses, after calling about a hundred times, writing loads of e-mails, which took about 6 months. We tried this adventure not to ruin our travel, since we paid loads of money for it, but we got a lot of lessons. Now we only travel with carry-on luggage and follow www.onebag.com rules.