Making friends in Warsaw

While travelling, your eyes are opened afresh every single day. One important thing I’ve learnt while travelling is: people are freaking amazing. They will help you in any way they can, if you just let them. Our society often pushes us to make it on our own, and asking for help might seem like a sign of weakness. But for me, it’s a sign of strength. Of showing you are brave, brave enough to say: Hey, in the end we’re all in this together and today I can’t do it on my own. Shirley MacLaine has been quoted to say: “The more I travelled the more I realized that fear makes strangers of people who should be friends”. She gets it down to a T.

I was originally going to stay in Kraków for one week, but my second Couchsurfing host cancelled my stay. I asked my first host if I can stay for an extra night and he gladly let me. But I needed to figure out where to go after that. I felt like I had already seen Kraków in the four days there, so I wanted to move on.

In my hostel in Zakopane I had met Tomasz, who lives in Warsaw. He had been praising the city so I decided to go there. And how did I find a place to stay on such short notice? I asked for help. Tomasz contacted his friend Rafał, who let me stay in his apartment for three nights. I feel extremely lucky to have met both Tomasz and Rafał who are probably the most fun Polish people you could ever come across! Tomasz also had days off while I was in Warsaw so I had great company every single day and someone to show me around the city!

The Palace of Culture and Science is the highest building in Poland and an important landmark in Warsaw. It was a gift from the Soviet nation and many people still oppose the building as it reminds them of communism.
The Palace of Culture and Science is the highest building in Poland and an important landmark in Warsaw. It was a gift from the Soviet nation and many people still oppose the building as it reminds them of communism.
A line on the ground shows where the wall separating the Jewish ghetto used to stand.
A line on the ground shows where the wall separating the Jewish ghetto used to stand.
Guard change at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Guard change at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
There are many big parks in Warsaw that bring calmness into the capital.
There are many big parks in Warsaw that bring calmness into the capital.
The interior of St. Anne's Church, often also called the Student Church.
The interior of St. Anne’s Church, often also called the Student Church.
The Old Town, which is actually not that old. The entire area was destroyed in World War II and rebuilt after the war. So all the buildings are less than 70 years old!
The Old Town, which is actually not that old. The entire area was destroyed in World War II and rebuilt after the war. So all the buildings are less than 70 years old!
The big rainbow made out of artificial flowers was erected as a symbol of love, peace and hope. As the rainbow can also be associated with homosexuality, it has been burnt down several times by right-wing activists.
The big rainbow made out of artificial flowers was erected as a symbol of love, peace and hope. As the rainbow can also be associated with homosexuality, it has been burnt down several times by right-wing activists.
Rafał took us to Beirut Hummus Bar, which was such a cool place! Great atmosphere and delicious hummus.
Rafał took us to Beirut Hummus Bar, which was such a cool place! Great atmosphere and delicious hummus.
Besides Beirut Hummus Bar, I visited several vegetarian restaurants in Warsaw. The only one worth mentioning though, is Vega. I really recommend going there if you are ever in Warsaw. The food is amazing and very varied. This meal of salads, groats, sauces and kofta cost 14,50 złoty.
Besides Beirut Hummus Bar, I visited several vegetarian restaurants in Warsaw. The only one worth mentioning though, is Vega. I really recommend going there if you are ever in Warsaw. The food is amazing and very varied. This meal of salads, groats, sauces and kofta cost 14,50 złoty.

Another place really worth visiting is the Invisible Exhibition. The exhibition gives a very good insight into everyday lives of blind people. After a short introduction into things like braille, visitors are taken into the exhibition. All the guides are blind, and for an hour, so are you. The exhibition consists of different rooms, such as a home, a park, the store, the street. It is pitch black inside so you can only use your other senses. The exhibition is – pardon the pun – extremely eye-opening.

Entry to the Invisible Exhibition is 24 złoty.
Entry to the Invisible Exhibition is 24 złoty.

I think things happen for a reason. If my Couchsurfing host in Kraków hadn’t cancelled, I probably wouldn’t have visited Warsaw at all. I had a really amazing time in Warsaw and I’m grateful for everything Tomas and Rafał did for me. And all because I had the courage to ask.

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