Travel Month: June 2016

Monday, June 27, 2016

Travel

 

The beach in Jurmala, Latvia was stunning!


We took a week-long road trip through the Baltics with stops in Latvia, Estonia, and Finland. This was an awesome road trip with friends who came to visit us, although we had to make an emergency change in plans due to a sick Baby ISO. Over the summer, I'll be posting a lot more about this trip (in case you'd like to go on a similar friend road trip) and sharing several photo diaries.

The family and I just returned to Connecticut to spend a month and a half enjoying time with our families. We'll be doing numerous local adventures around New England and will also be relaxing at the beach -- I can't wait to take Baby ISO swimming!

Personal

 



I was a bit torn leaving Vilnius before travels and our long trip home. Several of our close friends are moving on to new expat homes or returning back to the US. I also felt rushed and sad about missing a summer with friends who are staying in Vilnius. It is really difficult to have your people spread out all over the world -- I keep telling myself that at least I have people that I can visit in so many different countries.
Summer in Connecticut will be awesome though. I'm already loving spending my time at the beach and having some actual summer weather after our frigid and rainy Baltic trip. It is also wonderful that Baby ISO will get to experience so many new things with his extended family and nearby friends!

Freelancing

 

After a crazy last week in Vilnius (loads of prep before travel) and a whirlwind trip through the Baltics, I'm finally catching up on work, blogging, and emails. Summer always feels like it should be a time for relaxation -- I write this as I look out of my window to the beach -- but this summer, I've set myself some steep goals for things I'd like to accomplish. Have you set goals for yourself over the summer, or are you trying to relax?

Here are a few articles that I've written outside of In Search Of:
Two-Day Itinerary for Dali, Yunnan Province, China
5 Fun & Enchanting Things to do in Tallinn, Estonia
Trakai, Lithuania: A Perfect Day Trip from Vilnius

 

Coming next month 

 

Traveling with two babies and 4 adults requires A LOT of stuff

 

  •  Travel posts about Latvia, Estonia, and Helsinki
  • Connecticut travel guides
  • Relaxing in Connecticut
  • Road trip to RVA
  • Vacation on the New Jersey shoreline
  • Lots of family/friend time and good food

How was your June? What are your plans for July? Do you have any fun summer trips planned?

Street Art In Warsaw, Poland

Friday, June 24, 2016

We arrived in the US after our Baltic road trip with friends, so I'm going to share a photo-heavy post today. I'll chat more about our road trip on Monday and will have a ton of other posts coming soon!

In the meantime, let's finish this week out with some street art! I love giant, colorful murals and how the liven up any city. Here are some of the awesome works of art that I saw in Warsaw. Which is your favorite of the bunch below? My favorite is the 5th from the top (the one with two faces made out of words and designs).

















What do you think about street art? Did you see any other cool pieces in Warsaw? Feel free to share below in the comments or via social media!

Where To Eat + Drink in Warsaw, Poland

Monday, June 20, 2016



I really liked visiting Warsaw. Other than it being a very green city with numerous parks and gardens, another highlight was the fabulous food. We didn't even have one bad meal in Warsaw. The food was delicious everywhere we tried and I often wished that we could have eaten out for two meals a day rather than one (we usually did grocery store or simple take-out dinners to accommodate Baby ISO).


Restaurants


 Zapiecek:

If you go to Poland, you have to eat pierogies. It's just as simple as that. Now, Zapiecek is not somewhere that I would have chosen to eat just by looking at it -- it is a very kitschy chain restaurant located in Warsaw's old town. However, this restaurant was suggested by Kami from Kami and the Rest of the World on Spotted by Locals. I trust Kami's travel advice, so we made this our first restaurant stop and I'm seriously glad we did.

J was obsessed with the pierogies filled with blueberries and topped with a slightly sweet cream and I loved the mug of hot borscht. We actually ate at Zapiecek twice and each type of pierogi we tried was delicious. I'd highly recommend eating here.










Thaisty

As usual, J and I craved some Asian cuisine and we were surprised by Thaisty. If you visit Thaisty, go straight ahead and order a filled bun (in the first photo below). It is on the appetizer menu, but easily could be a meal if you ordered two. It was SO good.

 Thaisty's website






Cafe & Bistro Galeria Sztuki

One day, J and I wandered over the bridge to the Praga district of Warsaw. I read several rave reviews of this area, but honestly, I was really underwhelmed. I'd almost go so far as to say that the only highlights from that area were the Galeria Stara Praga restaurant and St. Michael's Cathedral. Here, we both ordered the meal of the day, which was meat, carrot salad, and mashed potatoes. It was very simple and delicious and I really liked the sunny atmosphere of the restaurant.

 Galeria Sztuki's website







Bar Prasowy

Bar Prasowy was one of the most interesting places that we went in Warsaw. It was truly a highlight of the trip and if you visit Warsaw you should absolutely take the time to visit this or another milk bar. It was cool to order from the large, handwritten menu, and feel like we were in a huge cafeteria. There was everyone from students to business people in suits, so it seemed to be a truly local place.

The menu is only in Polish and the cashier only spoke Polish, so I'd suggest looking up a few of the dishes (on their online menu) before-hand. We wrote down a few key words and used this to decide what to order.

We ended up getting two types of pierogies and a cheese-filled pancake.





 

Cafes



Ministerstwo Kawy

Rated as one of the best cafes in Warsaw, the Ministry of Coffee, was high on our visiting list. We stopped here after our filling meal at Bar Prasowy, so we weren't terribly hungry/thirsty, but we wanted to check it out anyways. I had been drinking too much coffee during this trip (working and traveling is difficult -- I don't know how digital nomads do it -- I'll write more on that later), so I opted for tea. J ordered a giant pot of coffee -- he didn't realize it was going to be so giant -- yet he said it was delicious. He had carrot cake (if I remember correctly) and I had a really delicious lemon pie.

Ministry of Coffee's website



Charlotte

We stopped for a small snack at Charlotte because it was really packed -- for me, that is usually a good sign. We only ordered a small sandwich and little cake and both things were pretty good. What we had wasn't the best thing we ate at, but it was great for something light.

Charlotte's website






Przystanek Piekarnia:

This cafe was right next to the remembrance of the bridge connecting the Large and Small Jewish Ghettos, so we popped in for a small bite to eat before exploring this area and subsequently visiting the Warsaw Uprising Museum. The interior of this cafe was really stunning (don't forget to look up)!

I had the delicious ball-shaped pastry below, which I think was made from dates. If you are in the area, this is a great cafe to stop into.




Pompon Cafe:

We arrived in Warsaw at about 6 am (due to the hour time change from Lithuania and our early flight) but couldn't check into our (not great) AirBnB apartment until 4 pm. Because of this, J and I planned ahead on dropping our luggage at the office for the AirBnB (our first clue that it wouldn't be great) and went on to find Pompon Cafe.

Traveling with a baby who crawls = walking for ~1 hour to reach a children's cafe. Oh what parents will do for a happy child (and a coffee). Really though, Pompon Cafe was great! This is a cafe specifically designed for families with babies through elementary school aged children. There was a designated play area for crawling and toddling children and another space for larger kids. There were numerous tables with highchairs and they even had baby food!

Pompon was really crowded the day we visited (a Saturday), so I'd suggest arriving early or you may need to wait for a table to free up.

Pompon's website





Galeria Wypiekow:

Last but certainly not least is this delicious cafe. Ordering here was rather intimidating because neither J nor I speak a lick of Polish and no one at this cafe spoke any English. Anyways, we managed with pointing and charades.

The food at this cafe was stupidly good. See that cake with thicker wafers on the top and cream in the middle? I could have eaten an entire sheet-pan full of it. It was that good.

They also had great donuts (which are a Polish specialty), tasty pizza, a savory snacks. We picked up food from here several times for dinner or dessert as it was very close to our (rather crappy ... I'm not going to write about it) AirBnB apartment.

Galeria Wypiekow's website




I'm currently traveling, but will be back in front of my computer to answer questions and comments on June 25. I love reading and responding to comments/emails and will respond as soon as I can. If you have an urgent question or inquiry regarding editing, please email me at luyoutravel@gmail.com.

What other restaurants and cafes would you suggest visiting in Warsaw?

Not Boring, Ugly, And Grey: Warsaw Travel Guide

Friday, June 17, 2016



When we were planning our trip to Warsaw, we heard from a lot of people that we should go to Krakow instead. Everyone suggested that Krakow was much prettier; hence, much more interesting for tourists. Though I've not been to Krakow, so I can't say how awesome it is, I can say that Warsaw is an awesome city. There was SO much to do and see, tons of green space, and excellent food.

Another thing that everyone said about Poland was that it was cheap, although I didn't think it was that much cheaper than Lithuania. Lithuanian colleagues said that they frequently visit Poland because it is nearby and fun. I can see why it is a popular place to visit and would absolutely like to go back.


Things to do and see in Warsaw:


Green Spaces: Warsaw was probably the greenest city I've visited. Trees lined every street and there were numerous parks. I loved the walking spaces along the rivers and the small parks and courtyards everywhere.

My favorite outdoor space was the rooftop garden at the Warsaw University Library. It was so well-tended and was very unique. I'd definitely recommend visiting on a sunny day when you have a few hours.

Another great outdoor space was the area in the photo below -- a walking path near the Vistula River.

And that isn't even it! There were little parks, courtyards, gardens, and playgrounds everywhere.











Old Town: What an amazing feat of reconstruction -- the Warsaw old town is really impressive, even more so that it was rebuilt from the ground up after it was complete destroyed during WWII. To me, this rebuilding shows the perseverance of Polish people.

Just look at those colorful buildings, cobblestone streets, large squares, and gorgeous churches. When the weather is warm, I bet that sitting out with some perogies and borscht would be a perfect accompaniment to people-watching.








History: Another awesome thing about Warsaw was the history that you could see and feel all around the city. Just walking along on what seems like any other city block, you'll see commemorative pavers and plaques marking where the walls for the Jewish Ghetto used to be. The Warsaw Tourism Board actually has a very informative section of their website with old photos and tons of information.

One of the most interesting things that we stumbled across in Warsaw was a memorial/stark reminder of the bridge that connected the Small Ghetto to the Large Ghetto. In the second and third photos below are permanent photo boxes that show slides of what that area looked like during WWII. You'll find this marker at ul. ChÅ‚odna (E-2). In Your Pocket also has a lot of information about this area on their site.





 Amazing architecture


Just look at the Palace of Culture and Science, which dominates Warsaw's skyline. To me, the top really looks like a Dalek's death ray ... any Doctor Who fans out there? Anyways, you can see the controversial Palace of Culture and Science from pretty much anywhere in the city.

I think my favorite building is the one from the last photo below.









What should I eat in Warsaw?


There was some seriously great food in Warsaw. I have another post planned to talk specifically about the food in Warsaw, but it was so tasty. If you want to read more about the food, check back here on Monday! Just to make your mouth water a bit, there were incredible perogies, borscht, and a plethora of donuts. We had feasts every day!



Shopping for Polish pottery in Warsaw

 

I know that Warsaw isn't the city known for its Polish pottery, but that doesn't mean you can't find it there. Boleslawiec on Ul. Prosta 2/14 had a huge selection of hand-painted pottery at great prices. They also have an online shop -- score!

 


Surprising details

 

All over the old town, I saw these little details. I just thought I'd share them here.








I'm currently traveling, but will be back in front of my computer to answer questions and comments on June 25. I love reading and responding to comments/emails and will respond as soon as I can. If you have an urgent question or inquiry regarding editing, please email me at luyoutravel@gmail.com.


Have you been to Warsaw? What did you think? Where else should I visit in the country?