Warsaw 🇵🇱

Earlier this month, Bjørnar and I travelled to Warsaw for the weekend to explore the city and spend some time with our lovely friend Magda.

A return ticket with Wizz Air, from Bergen to Warsaw Chopin (with no luggage) only cost us 680 NOK each! (Around £62) Bargain!

We arrived at around 7pm, so our first evening was a chilled one – catching up whilst enjoying some wine, food and polish beers.

Our love for graphic design meant that we HAD to visit the Neon Museum, located in the Praga district. A small, but nonetheless, visually exciting exhibition of beautifully restored neon signs from the Cold War era. The array of designs, colours and typography were inspiring, and at only 12zł entry (27,50NOK / £2.50), it was worth every penny.

Something I noticed quickly during our trip, was how easily I got tired out. My back muscles would cause intense pain (despite wearing appropriate footwear), which then had an impact on my abdominal muscles. I’m just not cut out for all of this exploring just yet! That, combined with the fact I need to eat very often, meant that we had to take regular breaks. On the plus side, it gave us a great opportunity to enjoy some polish cuisine and drinks!

Our first stop, was a floating bar on the river, where we had a drink whilst soaking up the sun.

Then we headed to Nadwiślański Świt – a restaurant close to the river. I opted for a delicious shrimp appetiser, and managed to scoff most of it! Magda and Bjørnar had Gnocchi with Beef Cheeks. It sounds unusual, but the meat was really tender and delicious. B also sampled a few Belgian beers, from a brewery called “Grimbergen”… Since it rains a lot here in Bergen, we figured this seemed like a more fitting name for the city!

After a walk beside the river and another drink in the sun (and a quick jump on some little trampolines in the kids park 🙈), we made our way to The Heavens of Copernicus Planetarium (Niebo Kopernika) to watch “The Dark Side of the Moon”; a laser show tribute to Pink Floyd. The music combined with the psychedelic visuals and lasers was an incredible experience!

To end our Saturday, we headed into the city centre and made our way to Bar Warszawa, where we enjoyed pierogi – both Russian style and Polish. I’d tried the Russian style pierogi before, but the (Polish) meat ones were to die for! They reminded me of the filling in a Cornish Pasty. 😋 This was washed down with some 8% Polish Porter (I’m a sucker for dark beer, can’t handle too much fizz these days!)

Whilst eating and drinking, we had front row seats to a a live performance; a talented trio called “Ferajna z Baru Warszawa”, that played old “folk” Warsaw music from the 1920s and upwards. If I’d have had a few more porters in me, I would have been up dancing! I loved it!

After a well deserved lie-in on Sunday, we headed to the Chopin Museum. It’s free admission on Sundays, but make sure to book tickets in advance as it gets busy 😉

I don’t know much about classical music, but after visiting the Greig museum in Bergen, I felt inspired to visit the Chopin museum. Both music and art history interest me a lot!

During our visit, we were able to listen to some of his compositions, and learn a lot about Chopin’s life and musical career.

Interesting Fact: Although he only played 30 public concerts in his life, five of these were in Britain during an ill-fated visit there for seven months in 1847. For a sick man with tuberculosis, the wet and windy weather of Scotland and England was hardly going to be good for him. He did, though, play for the new Queen, Victoria and Prince Albert; the Queen, who rarely spoke to anyone, actually spoke to him twice.

https://www.cmuse.org/frederic-chopin-facts/

The museum itself was beautiful! I later found out that it is also known as Ostrogski Castle; a Baroque style mansion, that was destroyed by the Germans during the Warsaw Uprising of 1944, and rebuilt between 1949 and 1954. Rumour has it that the the cellars below the bastion are supposedly home to a Golden Duck, a mythical creature from one of Warsaw’s legends! 😉

Afterwards, we went for a late lunch/early dinner at Oliva Restaurant. Again, I only had appetisers but they were delicious! I had olives and chicken liver pâté on bruschetta. They even had some coffee bean infused olive oil, which was AMAZING! I slightly regretted not having luggage allowance, as I really wanted to buy some to take home with me!

To finish off our day, we took a walk into the thriving city centre, this time before dusk, and headed to the Old Town Square. We went to Bazyliszek Restaurant – a traditional Polish Restaurant. I sampled some Polish Chardonnay from Kraków (who knew that Poland had their own vineyards?!) which was alright! We tried some Żubrówka black vodka (it wasn’t actually black, it’s filtered using charcoal apparently), Soplica cherry and Soplica raspberry. We also enjoyed a delicious cheese platter! Quite possibly my favourite type of platter!

After arriving back at Hotel Tomalska, we enjoyed a little bit more polish vodka – (hazelnut Soplica), before retiring to bed. I definitely wasn’t ready for an 08:30 flight – especially since Wizz Air had decided to sit us over 15 rows apart! (No way was I paying extra fees just to change seats! Cheeky buggers!)

One of the great things about Warsaw is how easy it is to get around. It’s well connected with trams and the underground – but failing that, you can also get an Uber! Thanks to my discount code, the ride to the airport was only 3.59zł / 8NOK / £0.75 😂

Uber share code: x3st6k

It’s safe to say that the trip was a major success! We were both slightly apprehensive about me travelling 6 months after surgery, but I managed it quite well. Warsaw was a beautiful city and has a really good vibe about it. I would love to visit again soon, to do a little bit more sightseeing, learn more about its history and enjoy more delicious food!

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Last but not least, we want to say a huge thank you to Magda for being such a wonderful host! ❤

We had such an amazing time and look forward to seeing you again soon!

Money Money Money

I may have lived overseas for almost 3 years, but one thing I didn’t do before relocating was to close my english bank account. For me, it just seemed easier to keep it open just incase I ever move back. Plus, I use my card whenever I visit home and I also pay my masters degree loan from that account every month.

When I first moved here, I thought the only two options I had to transfer money to my english account were through my Norwegian bank account (which is expensive) or through PayPal (time consuming and difficult). For the first few months, I used PayPal until I came across TransferWise.

I’m not really sure how I discovered it, I think I just stumbled upon it when searching for a more efficient and easier way to do my monthly transfers! Anyway, I did a little bit of research into it first as I’d never heard of it before, and found that it was developed by the same people at PayPal. (So far so good…)

After signing up, another thing that appealed to me was their interface, which is very user-friendly and modern (another great thing to have when transferring money as it makes things so much easier!)

I’ve been using this service since December 2013 and so far, I have transferred £9700 and saved £225 in fees!

It’s easy and free to sign up! If you use the following link, you receive your first transfer up to £500 for free.

transferwise.com/u/95fb

Reasons to use TransferWise:

  • Free to sign up
  • Low fees compared to your bank
  • Fast transfers
  • Supports many different currencies
  • Great customer service (Respond quickly and are very helpful)
  • Easy to use interface
  • Cheaper than PayPal

If you have any questions about how to use this service, I would be happy to try and assist 🙂

My review and opinions expressed here are my own and based on my experience with TransferWise. I am not affiliated with the brand nor do I endorse them and they do not endorse me. I am not paid for my review.