I said my goodbyes to the Baltic states (blogpost: 25.000 km Europe road trip part 8 : Riga (Latvia) and Vilnius (Lithuania)) and after Vilnius the next stop was Warsaw (Poland). The distance was about 460 Km., but the roads were absolutely terrible! Gone are the fancy routes of the Baltic States which consisted of smooth tarmac and a gasstation every 20km.
Welcome to Poland, where my European road trip took me through the beautiful cities of Warsaw and Krakow, I experience my first hollywood celebrity recognition of The Road Trip Guy and where I visited the most humbling and confronting piece of history in the world; The Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps.
This is; 25.000 km Europe road trip part 9 : Warsaw and Krakow (Poland)
Staying in a villa in Warsaw! How cheap is that?
Being on a road trip, you wil encounter a very common problem in almost every big city. Where do I park the car? You want to avoid your baby being on the streets all night, but guarded underground parking can be very expensive in the city center. As the road to Warsaw had already been exhausting (due to all the construction and poor quality) I booked a room at the Villa Victoria in the suburbs of Warsaw.
My experiences staying at the Villa Victoria:
Price : € 26,- per night for two persons
Breakfast : Optional (Did not take)
Rooms: Clean, large, with small flat-screen TV and very good bathroom facilities.
Staff: Very kind and supporting. Spoke good English.
Overal: A very good stay if you wish to have some more relaxing time. The city center is just 20-minutes away and surrounding the area are several restaurants and supermarkets. The area is nice and quiet and easy to find by using your navigation system. The price is really cheap considering you pay just € 13,- per night/per person,
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
Visiting old-town Warsaw during the weekend
Here is one very important tip that I like to share with you road trippers before driving towards old-town Warsaw. Are you ready?
In the weekend, it is free parking in the city center!
How amazing is that? I enjoyed a full day in old-town Warsaw and paid absolutely zero Euro’s for parking. During the weekdays you need to pay from 08.00 AM – 06.00 PM, but after during the night it is also free of charge. What a great way to start my time in the capital of Poland.
Walking route in old-town Warsaw
We parked the car close to the Palace of Culture and Science nearby the central train station. In this area you will find lot’s of parking spaces and it is just a 15-minute walk to Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. This impressive monument shows two soldier guarding a tomb of all the unknown casualties the wars in Poland have cost. With the beautiful park in the background and the flaming torches, this is a perfect spot to get some beautiful photos and learn more about the Polish history in WW2.
There is so much to see that spending the full day in old-town is a great thing to do. In the evening, you can visit the Multimedia Fountain Park that have amazing fountain shows every hour starting from 8.30 PM. The many restaurants offer traditional Polish dishes, and I highly recommend trying some of their delicious soups and meat courses.
My favorite shot of yesterday's visit to Old Town Warsaw. Was lucky we got great weather yesterday as there were some heavy black clouds heading towards the city. In Old town everything is walking distance so you can easily spent the whole day in this area. Tip; Free parking on saturday and sunday! #warsaw #warschau #photooftheday #sunset
You will notice a lot of old-timer vehicles are driving around old-town. Many of them are used for weddings and other celebrated occasions, but this beautiful old Volkswagen Beetle was just resting at the parking lot with no indication that it had been moved in a long time.
There was some advertisement on it, but upon checking the website I saw that the company was no longer operational. Of course, I could not leave without taking a picture with this beauty and little did I know a Hollywood celebrity (and of course adventurous motorcyclist traveller) Ewan McGregor also took the same picture of the same car! And the next morning I got one awesome message on my Instagram!
I am a simple guy, but when you wake up and your road trip hero, role model & movie star @mcgregor_ewan left you a message on Instagram I felt like a million bucks. I got my inspiration for my 25.000 km road trip from the Long Way Round TV Shows. I met @charleyboorman in 2014 in Dubai and now this cool message. Adventure, Cars/Bikes & Wildlife Conservation is what makes me happy. And today, I am very happy and blessed ☺ #adventure #bike #bikelife #longwayround #bikeadventure #celebrities
Charming little Krakow and the castle of the dragon!
Krakow is a charming city with a very interesting history. In the Wawel Castle and Cathedral is a basement which legend has it was home to the Wawel dragon. The cave is an interesting sight and you pay a little fee to go down the stairs and see it. Of course you will see dragon-merchandise everywhere as part of the tourists experience, but other then that it had a real original theme to it. But to be honest, I did not come to Krakow to visit another city again. I was here to visit one of the most recognized locations in Europe during the WW2 period ..
The Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps
Visiting the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps had been on my radar for a long time. As many Europeans, the events of WW2 have left their mark on my grandfathers, fathers and our generation as it has been just 80 years when Adolf Hitler slowly started his uprise to build Nazi-Germany. The concentration camps are a reminder of the inhumane events that took place during the WW2. As it will be too much to write about in this blogpost, I will start writing a guide on how to visit the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps. It truly is a humbling experience and you will be very grateful for all the brave souls and soldiers that fought and died for our freedom.
My grandfather was a Lt. Colonel in the KNIL army in WW2 and was captured by the Japanese and stayed 3 years in a concentration camp nearby Nagasaki (Japan), survived the atomic bomb and flew to The Netherlands in a bomber plane after the war with my grandmother and my oldest aunt on their lap to start a new life. He never ever spoke about the war and after my visit today to Auschwitz Birkenau I am sure I only saw the smallest glimps of what a hell these camps must have been for men, woman and even childeren. Visit if you have the chance.. #auschwitz #poland #birkenau #peace #ww2 #concentrationcamp #auschwitzbirkenau #auschwitzmemorial #history
Today I visited Auschwitz Birkenau after reading (one of the best books out there) "Man's search for meaning" by Victor E. Frankl in 2013. It is a heavy and humbling experience, but such an important part of our history.. My photo shows a sight that must have been a daily view for the inmates of the looking through the barbed wire seeing the trainwagons come in with new prisoners.. 1.1 million people died here. #auschwitz #poland #ww2 #peace #war #humanity #auschwitzbirkenau #auschwitzmemorial #war #history