Christmas is my favorite holiday/festival. No, I don’t believe in Santa Claus. I never did. When my parents would buy me presents saying an old man sneaked through the chimney last night and left those presents there, I had my doubts. What I do believe in is the Christmas spirit. The spirit of selfless giving and celebrating. I like to visit different countries to really understand their way of Christmas Spirit. It might seem like this is just an American tradition, but it’s not. Several countries celebrate Christmas in their own unique ways. When I was little, my favorite story was Christmas Carol. Do you remember it? The one with three ghosts- the ghost of Christmas Past, Christmas present, and Christmas Future. It taught me a great lesson. Sometimes we are so engrossed in our own life, we overlook entirely other people, people whose lives are interlinked with ours. With this thought in mind, I began my trip to Warsaw during Christmas time.
My journey started with the Old Town of Warsaw. The town had its own charm, and some part of it made me think like I have traveled back in time. At the heart of the Old Town, a magnificent sculpture is places known as Warsaw Mermaid Sculpture. It is considered the symbol of Warsaw. Locals treat the statue as their guardian angel guiding and protecting them. The square is transformed into a skating rink during winters. You could easily spot teenagers there skating and having the time of their life. The entire street, including the square, is adorned with beautiful cafes, street vendors asking you to try their stuff, art galleries, fancy and simple restaurants, and museums. Since I was there during Christmas, I visited Christmas Market and bought some souvenirs for my family back home. I was a little worried about my food since I am a vegan and thus don’t have meat or dairy products. I had packed some ready-to-eat packets and thought I will have to survive on biscuits and coffee. But Warsaw surprised me; there were vegetarian and vegan restaurants and cafes.
My next stop was The Barbican. It is assumed at the bridge connecting the Old Town and the New Town. You don’t need any transport to reach there is you are in Old Toen Market Place. It is within walking distance from there. The Barbican had been through a lot in the past. It was partially demolished during the early 18th Century. During World War II, it bore the brunt of it and was utterly ruined. It took several years after the war had ended to build the Brabican brick by brick. The history of the place draws a lot of artists and tourists. The artist sometimes put their paintings up for sale, and the local shops display trinkets and souvenirs. If you are interested in learning about its history, visit the museum dedicated to it. I did and was overwhelmed by all the atrocities innocent people and cities had to endure.
The highlight of my trip was The Royal Route of Warsaw. The route is the thread that connects the three royal residences- Lazienki Park, Wilanow Palace, and the Royal Castle. This is the route you would take to visit most Warsa’r historical sites, embassies, monuments, and parks. The road was decorated with lights for Christmas. It looked like golden-hued stars have descended on Earth and were greeting me in Warsaw. The street is also famous for having the poshest restaurants and shops selling expensive stuff. I am guilty of buying too much stuff from there. I will try to be more discreet about it on my future blogs. One tip I would like to impart here is that don’t forget to tip the tour guides. They are usually students looking for ways to make a few bucks. They are very polite and highly informed about Warsaw’s history. Most of them can speak conversational English, but even if they didn’t try to be patient with them.
We have come to the end of the blog, and it suffices to say that my trip went smoothly from start to end because of the airline I picked. Qatar Airways Manage Booking services made bookings and making changes in the itinerary a piece of cake for me.