Hi beautiful souls!
Recently I made a detailed post about my trip to Japan, which you can find here, and as many of you may know, straight after the most magical journey through this beautiful land, I moved straight onto wonderful Poland.
Visiting Poland was truly a dream come true.
It still feels so surreal that I travelled to Europe for the first time, and finally got to explore the country of my dad’s roots. From what was once just a picture in my imagination for many, many years, it actually manifested into my physically reality. This whole experience was incredibly special, especially as I got to visit my dad’s hometown Gdansk, and is a memory that like in Japan, my soul will cherish and remember forever.
Something that really captured my heart in Poland were the Old Towns in each city that I visited (Warsaw, Krakow and Gdansk). While the Old Towns in Warsaw and Gdansk are rebuilt, they still represented the original town to very close detail, and I was truly stunned by the architecture and vibrant colours of the buildings. And because of the beautifully clear and blue-skied days that the universe gifted me on all days that I explored the Old Towns, the colours contrasted against the light blue sky looked just like a painting. Words really just can’t express HOW picturesque the views above and around the Old Towns were. I became fully present, and appreciated every single moment that I was breathing, living this incredible life that feels so alive.
Not that I am biased or anything (hehe), but I think that I would have to say I felt a deeper connection with Gdansk out of all of the cities. I enjoyed walking through and exploring the cute little Old Town so much, which lead to a beautiful river running alongside traditional Polish buildings. With the help of beautiful Sara, who was one of the beautiful souls I met during my trip in Poland, I also got to visit the calming Molo Pier in nearby Sopot, which was just a 20-minute train ride from Gdansk main station. I got so excited to see the Baltic Sea for the first time, as well as a European beach!
Something that surprised me the most about Poland, was how vegan friendly it was. In fact, I found it even easier to eat plant-based here than in Japan! I can now understand why Warsaw is listed as one of most vegan-friendly cities in the world. I could find the word ‘Weganskie’ (= vegan) at almost every turn of a corner, whether it be ice-cream, snacks, cafes or restaurants. If you watched my vlogs, you would have seen the incredible vegan food I got to eat and nourish my mind, body and soul with, and all I can say is that it was heavenly. Seriously, heavenly. From curries to lentil ‘meat balls’ to the most divine raw cakes, I am so happy and thankful for all that I got to try. Each city had a vast selection of vegan/vegetarian restaurants, and even in the markets and self-serve food courts, I found it easy to grab a plant-based meal!
My journey in Poland definitely would not have turned out as it did if it weren’t for the beautiful souls who I got to meet during this time. Thank you endlessly for your kindness, for your time, for your generosity. It means incredibly much to me, and my heart is simply full of love and gratitude towards you.
During my trip, I also received a lot of questions from you on Youtube and Instagram about Poland, so I thought that I would make this post outlining the details which can hopefully answer most of your questions 🙂 If you have any other questions that I didn’t get to answer in this post, you are more than welcome to comment them below!
Overall, it is without a doubt that I had an absolutely amazing time in Poland. Despite the few challenges, or divine intervention by the universe, I think that’s what made this trip even more vibrant and exciting. It allowed me to consciously grow and expand as a Being, and learn so much about life.
Thank you wholeheartedly for your kind words and support during my trip, I appreciate it with all of my heart. This entire experience wouldn’t have been possible without your support, so thank you endlessly.
Sending my love,
When: 11th September 2018 to 19th September 2018
Weather: Warm and mostly sunny. Before I went to Poland, I did some research and saw that the average maximum September temperatures are around 16-22 degrees Celsius, depending on the area. Surprisingly during my time there, the warmth seemed to follow me around and for most of the time, the temperatures were in the high twenties and the sun came out almost daily in the blue sky!
Physical Activity: I did around 15,000- 20,000 steps daily as I enjoy walking around and exploring.
Tokyo to Amsterdam: Royal Dutch Airlines
Amsterdam to Warsaw: Royal Dutch Airlines
Warsaw to Paris: Air France
Paris to Singapore: Air France
Singapore to Melbourne: Qantas (my first time on an A380 double decker plane!)
Polish Rail Service: Before arriving in Poland, I had pre-booked the Express Intercity Premium rapid train service tickets online for travelling between Warsaw, Krakow and Gdansk.
Taxi: When I arrived back in Warsaw Central Station after taking the train from Gdansk, I decided to get a taxi to the airport instead of another train for convenience, and it was very affordable too- around $15 AUD.
Casual train/tram tickets: In all cities, I got to use the public transport which I initially didn’t plan on using, but was made possible with the kind and generous help of the beautiful souls I met during my time there. You simply purchase a ticket at the stop/station or inside the tram and insert it into the machine when you get on.
(For all airbnb links, you can first sign up to airbnb here, and receive up to $76 in rewards towards your first trip. When you sign up, you’ll get $55 AUD off your first home booking of $110 AUD or more and $21 AUD towards an experience of $73 AUD or more.)
Warsaw Airbnb: A beautiful room inside a shared apartment on the third floor located in central Warsaw Old Town. Haliku, the host, was very kind, and it was truly a wonderful stay. The view from the apartment was stunning too!
Krakow Airbnb: Located very close to Krakow Station and Old Town, this was an entire and newly built small apartment with a bedroom, living area, kitchen and bathroom. It was super convenient and a lovely place to stay in 🙂
Mosquito Hostel: I stayed one night in this hostel, and decided to cancel the following two nights as my intuition was telling me to do so. All of the amenities were amazing and the location is great too, however sharing a room with male strangers who came back from parties late at night pushed my boundaries rather than creating a healthy push out of my comfort zone.
Gdansk Airbnb: Located next to Gdansk Main Station and a short walk from Old Town, I really enjoyed my stay in this cute little apartment on the second floor inside an apartment complex. It was also right next to a few shopping areas, which is convenient for getting groceries 🙂
Polish złoty: Upon arriving at Warsaw Chopin Airport, I exchanged the leftover Japanese Yen I had and some Australian dollars, totalling around $400, which was more than enough during my stay as I only used money on accommodation, food, experiences, and some little souvenirs.
Airport Pickup: As I had arrived late at night in Poland, I booked a driver to pick me up from Warsaw Airport and drop me to my airbnb. He spoke English, was really kind and lovely, and happened to also live in Melbourne! As we drove, he also pointed out famous landmarks around Warsaw 🙂
Wawel Castle Tour: I had pre-booked a tour of the grand Wawel Castle in Krakow, and it was really amazing to walk inside and admire the stunning interior. At the start, our group met at a certain point nearby, and were lead to the castle by a member of the company that I had booked the service through, who then handed us over to the tour guide. While it was interesting, I left after we toured through the first chamber as I noticed that the rooms were becoming a bit repetitive. Of course, this is totally dependant on personal interest, and the guide was still wonderful herself.
Wieliczka Salt Mine Tour: This was a 2 hour English guided-group-tour of the beautiful underground salt mine in Wieliczka. There were about 40 people in one group, lead by a great tour guide, who gave us a headset each so we could hear his explanations through the microphone as we walked around. Initially it was quite a long and deep climb down the stairs to reach the underground mine, and perhaps the two hours were a little long for my personal preference, but overall I truly enjoyed learning about how this amazing salt mine came about, and because everything was made of salt which repels negative ions, the air inside was wonderfully fresh as well. Through the booking that I made, it also included a van pick up from my accommodation to Wieliczka, which was roughly a 30-minute drive each way.
- Landed: Warsaw Chopin Airport
- Money exchange
- Personal driver from airport to airbnb: I had pre-booked a driver online to take me to my airbnb as I arrived late at night, and he also came to pick me up directly from the arrivals point.
- Accommodation: Warsaw Airbnb
- Old Town
- St Anne’s Tower (lookout)
- Lunch: Vegemiasto
- Presidential Palace
- University of Warsaw & Rooftop Gardens
- Dinner: VegDeli
- National Opera House
- Nowy Swiat Street
- Lunch: Lokal Vegan Bistro
- Fountain at the Saxon Garden
- Łazienki Park
- Palace on the Isle
- Dinner: Wegiguru
Warsaw to Krakow
- Train from Warszawa Centralna to Kraków Główny
- Lunch: Glonojad
- Old Town
- Dinner: Glonojad
- Old Town
- St Mary’s Basilica
- Lunch: Veganic
- Wawel Castle Tour
- Dinner: Food court inside Galeria Krakowska
- Wieliczka Salt Mine Tour
- Lunch: Food court inside Galeria Krakowska
- Dinner: Mihiderka
Krakow to Gdansk
- Train from Kraków Główny to Gdansk Główny
- Dinner: Bioway
- Old Town
- St Mary’s Tower (look out)
- Mariaczka Street
- Lunch: Guga Sweet and Spicy
- Train to Sopot
- Molo Pier
- Train to Gdansk Wrzeszcz
- Dinner: Avocado Vegan Bistro
Gdansk to Warsaw
- Train from Gdansk Główny to Warszawa Centralna
- Lunch: Salad Stop inside Złote Tarasy
- Taxi from Warszawa Centralna to Warsaw Chopin Airport
- Learn some basic Polish:
Most popular tourist attractions in Poland are quite English friendly, with even free English tours of Old Town provided in Krakow, however as English isn’t the main spoken language, it is always best to brush up on some basic phrases such as ‘thank you’, ‘excuse me’, ‘please…’, ‘where is…”, ‘can you help me…?’, etc. It will make your trip much more convenient, especially if you find yourself getting lost or when ordering a meal in a local restaurant.
- Prebook Intercity Rapid Train Service ticket online:
If you would like to travel between main cities such as Warsaw and Krakow via the train, it’s best to book the tickets online and reserve your seat before your trip. This is not only for convenience, but also because the ticket lines in main stations can be quite long depending on the time of day, so with your pre-booked ticket you don’t need to queue in line and can jump straight onto your designated train.
During the time I went, which was mid-September, the weather turned out a lot warmer than average, so my light jeans and tops came in very handy. Otherwise, Poland can begin to turn chilly at this time of year, and some mornings were still a bit cool, so I highly recommend that you bring one warm jacket along with other long and short sleeved tops and pants.
- Carry cash:
While many (I would say most) places and restaurants that I went to in Poland accepted card, it’s always handy to carry some cash with you no matter where you travel to in the world to be on the safer side 🙂
- Ask for clear directions:
The addresses can be a bit confusing in Poland if you are not used to it, so whether you have booked a hostel, hotel or airbnb to stay in, if you are not being dropped off straight in front of it, I recommend asking the staff or host for clear directions on how to arrive to the place from a certain point. (e.g. how to walk to the airbnb from the train station).