- Arrival, Chopin concert
I arrived late in the afternoon from Gdansk. Instead of hiring an Uber (they're cheap in Poland) or taking a bus like a normal person as I should have done, I walked 40 minutes from the train station to Oki Doki Old Town Hostel. I would highly recommend this hostel if you are a budget traveller staying at hostels like me. The facilities were immaculate and the staff were very kind, even when I had to call their emergency line after-hours because someone else had locked his key in his room and no others were staying in it.
A girl I met at the hostel asked if I wanted to go to a Chopin concert with her, and I accepted. The company was Time for Chopin, and they run daily 1hr recitals of Chopin's music at 18:00 for 45zl (10.19 euro). This company is very highly reviewed, but it wasn't a highlight for me personally. The company has multiple artists, but the one I saw was lacklustre in her playing when compared to the prodigies I was exposed to growing up. Don't get me wrong, she was good, but I didn't feel the atmosphere I perceive when watching particular others play. I'm a music nerd who participated in far more music programs than a typical non-music major in middle and high school, so please take this with a grain of salt.
- Big walk for a city (roughly 12km day), parks and gardens
First things first: you simply MUST visit the University Library Garden. I don't tend to spend much time in cities, but this has to have been my absolute favourite urban environment. I am probably raising your expectations too high, but I simply found it magical (other than a policeman who basically told me to be careful with my phone [which I was simply using to take photos in a normal fashion] because it would break if I dropped it in the water. Thank you, sir). The gardens are small but they extend up on top of the library, and they're a real treat to see.
From here, I walked down past the Mermaid of Warsaw, headed to the massive Lazienki Park. Here, you can take photos of some fancy-looking buildings, such as the Palace on the Isle. I also dropped by the Botanical Gardens (Ogrod Botaniczny Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego) for some flower viewing. The mosquitoes were even worse here than in the rest of Warsaw, and they were BAD, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
Hunt down some dinner as you head back to your accommodation and stop by Good Lood for some ice cream if you're in the mood for something sweet. They have some unique flavours on rotation, and I thoroughly enjoyed what I had.
- Old town walking tour, exploration of Praga district
I signed up for the Walkative! Old Town walking tour. Check the schedule of walking tours on the website, because there are a number of different "free" walking tours running through the company, including Street Art, Alternative, and Warsaw at War.
I returned to the hostel, had lunch at the adjoining restaurant (thanks 10% discount), and wandered over to explore the Praga district, an area known for its street art and "hipster" vibe.
I really wanted to visit the Polish Vodka Museum, but it was a Monday, the sole day of closure per week for this museum, and I had an early flight out of Warsaw the next morning, so I missed my chance. Hopefully, you'll be luckier than I was ;)
Early morning departure.