As per my instructions, I arrived at Stansted Airport on Saturday morning full of nerves and excitement. I took a look at the departure board, and was still none the wiser- there were no destinations on the list of ‘possibles’ that I wouldn’t have enjoyed. Anxiously, I kept checking the timer on my phone, hoping that time would hurry up and that the surprise would be a good one.
Finally, the clock struck ten. Feverishly, I used a coin to reveal the code that would put me out of my misery. With shaking hands, I typed the code into the website and closed my eyes… my destination was revealed!
I think my first thoughts were along the lines of “Thank God it wasn’t Oslo!” Not that I don’t want to go to Norway, but it is horrendously expensive. My second thoughts were “Crap, I don’t speak Polish!” Brushing these thoughts aside, I went through security, found myself a quietish corner, and started to research how to get to my destination, purchasing a return ticket for the vast sum of £14. For once, the time between entering the airport and boarding the plane passed extremely quickly, and there was no time to spend wandering aimlessly through the airport spending money on things I really didn’t need.
Take-off was delayed due to bad weather, which eventually meant that I missed the transfer I had booked. However, on landing at Modlin airport to the north-west of Warsaw, I rebooked the transfer, and spent 2 hours nursing a cup of strong coffee and indulging in some people watching. Whilst at the airport, a tremendous storm broke out, dumping approximately 3 inches of water in half an hour, turning the carpark into a paddling pool with its own current. The storm was above us, and despite the noise inside the airport, you could clearly hear (and see!) the thunder and lightning outside. As the time to catch the bus drew nearer, I got absolutely soaked seeking a bit of high ground to cross the road to the bus stop. Thankfully, it wasn’t cold outside!
I needn’t have worried about locating my hotel- as soon as the bus entered the city centre, I could see it quite clearly which eased my anxiety some more. It was no more than a 5 minute walk from the bus stop to the hotel, and mainly underground, so I wasn’t too disadvantaged by the ongoing storm around me. Check in was quick and painless, and once installed in my room, I started to plan the next two days.
Despite never having had Warsaw on my list as a destination to visit, I was thrilled because it’s a location that appeals to my main interests: food and history, meaning that I was able to write quite a long list of places I might like to visit whilst there. These included, but were not limited to:
- POLIN, museum of the history of Polish Jews with audioguide (35PLN/£7)
- Museum of the Warsaw Uprising (25PLN/£5)
- Warsaw Zoo (25PLN/£5)
- Warsaw old town (UNESCO listed)
- Łazienki Park