Time spent with my granddaugter, Alicja. Attractions that she hadn't seen before and a bite to eat at one of her favourite pizzerias.
by Praskipark on October 11, 2013
Having spent the week trailing my granddaughter around the sights of the former ghetto in Warsaw I decided to treat her and her brother to a pizza at the restaurant on Ulica Nowolipki. My grandchildren know this Italian restaurant very well as their parents often pass by and stop in for a pizza or two. Over the years my son and husband have had a few words to say about the restaurant. Usually their recommendations are positive but my son seems to think that recently the restaurant has lost its shine. Pizzeria na Nowolipkach has certainly received some great reviews since it opened its doors and is frequented often by the Warsaw’s media. According to their website Warsaw’s TVN voted the restaurant as one of the three top pizzerias in town. Let’s see what the junior members of the Sandford family had to say about it.One of the reasons we chose to visit this particular restaurant is that it was a very hot day and there is plenty of shade in the form of chestnut trees if you sit outside on the terrace, it is also only around the corner from my son’s home. When we arrived there were a couple of families sat outside with children. We chose the table nearest the entrance as there was more room to negotiate my grandson’s pushchair. We wanted to put it out of the way so people wouldn’t trip over it. The first thing I noticed when we all sat down was that the circular wooden tables were rather small to sit 4 people around. The table was already cluttered with menu and information cards, serviettes, salt and pepper pots. The menu card is easy enough to read split into the following headings: pizza, lasagne, pasta, salads, cold drinks, hot drinks, alcohol, snacks and desserts. Of course we all wanted pizza and we let the children choose the type of pizza which turned out to be a Hawaiian pizza with ham and pineapple on the top. We thought the large size would be enough for all four of us and to accompany this we chose a Nestea each for the children and a Piwo Żywiec(Polish beer) for me and my husband. To order you have to go inside the restaurant and pay and wait until the waitress brings forth the drinks and plates.The waitress who attended our table was civil but not over jolly. She brought knives and forks to the table and then the drinks. Both glasses of beer were iced cold, a little too cold for my liking and the Nestea was also cold and refreshing for the children. My grandson who is only two sat next to his granddad and seemed to enjoy watching people eat and he also had his eye on the small boy who sat on the opposite table who was being naughty. I hoped at this stage that he wouldn’t follow suit.The décor inside the restaurant is minimalistic in a way with only paintings hung on the walls by Warsaw artists. It is pleasant with brown and orange walls, high backed chairs made from wood with square tables to match. Near to the working area of the chef there is a very large pile of wood that has been cut to place inside the pizza oven. The chef is on view when making the pizzas. We didn’t have to wait too long before our large Hawaain pizza arrived on a large white pizza plate. The chef himself brought the pizza out to our table wearing his large traditional chef’s hat. The only problem was as my granddaughter pointed out, there weren’t any plates to put the pizza on and to eat from. We waited a couple of minutes to see if they followed but they didn’t so my husband went with my granddaughter to ask about the plates. The chef came out again with 4 plates smiling, the more he smiled the more is hat waved up and down in the air. I have always thought chefs hats comical and having worn one myself when I cooked in a restaurant in the Algarve I can safely say that I do not like these hats, I always felt very silly when wearing one.The pizza smelt wonderful and it was good to see that the chef hadn’t scrimped on the ham. The pieces of ham were large and thick, very tasty. Pineapple chunks or quarters were in abundance and the amount of Mozzarella cheese used in the topping was perfect. I could taste all the ingredients including a gentle seasoning of oregano and black pepper. The base was about medium, not too thin and not too thick. It was crispy around the edges, not burnt and soft in the centre. My granddaughter tucked into her pieces and I could see that she enjoyed it because she didn’t come up for air. My grandson ate his pizza slices in an exuberant way, made a little mess but he certainly enjoyed it too. I only wished we had ordered two pizzas as my husband was still hungry and so was my granddaughter. I did look at the dessert menu which had apple pie, Tiramisu and a selection of ice creams on offer but as my grandson was getting a bit fidgety we decided to leave and go to the ice cream parlour around the corner to buy the kids an ice cream cone each.The price of one large pizza was 25zloty, 2 beers cost 16zloty and 2 Nesteas cost 14 zloty. Total price came to 55 zloty which is the equivalent of £11.This was my first visit to Pizzeria na Nowolipkach. I enjoyed the pizza, one of the best I have tasted in Warsaw. Our waitress could have been a bit jollier but she was okay, not unhelpful or offensive in any way. The chef was very friendly and I thought it was a nice touch that he actually brought the pizza to the table. I will award 4/5 for this restaurant and do recommend it especially at lunch time. At 4pm the restaurant tends to get very busy and stays that way in the early evening. This is a good pizzeria to visit when looking around the former Warsaw Ghetto and the new Jewish Museum that is situated in the same area.The restaurant also has a pizza delivery service.You can find Pizzeria na Nowolipkach in Muranow, Warsaw on ul. Nowolipki 15Tel: (22) 498-88-77Opening Times: Mon –Thu: 11:00-22:00Fri - Sat: 11:00-23:00Sunday: 13:00-22:00
The Monument of a Polish First Army Soldier is one that is often overlooked in guide books and not viewed by visitors as much as it should be. The solid, granite socialist realist monument can be found in a small gardened square on the street named after General Władysława Andersa in the district of Muranów. I have known about this monument for many years and visited throughout all seasons. The small square it stands in leads on to a much loved park, Krasinski Park which is now undergoing renovations. As a family we often visit both the square and park together. My granddaughter likes the monument as it has three stone steps that she likes to jump on. From here she can stand in front of the soldier that looks like a giant next to her. What is captivating about this soldier is his face; it has the look of a young boy gazing into the distance. His eyes look slightly vacant yet there is a glimpse of fear as he holds his rifle close to his heart. His body is rigid like he is on guard or taking part in a parade. There aren’t many intricate details included in this piece of work; it has been crafted in a rough way. If you look at his hands, they are heavy with thick clumpy fingers, slight dimples show through the material of his trousers where his knees are and his boots are thick and quite ugly, look more like wellingtons than army boots. The helmet he is wearing is plain with one strap underneath his chin, it looks as if it is tightly placed upon his head, it certainly wouldn’t blow off in a strong wind.The plinth that the monument of the soldier is mounted on is grand, a large, flat base featuring three stone steps, and then an oblong section with a circle cut out to house the main circular plinth that the soldier stands on.There is a band of capital letters at the top of the circular plinth stating the year 1943 with the description of what the monument represents. The backdrop is very interesting especially if you are interested in architecture built after the Second World War in Warsaw. The small square is pleasant enough with a selection of chestnut trees, shrubs and small flower beds that are planted in the spring. Residents are often seen in this square sitting on benches, talking and reading while others like to walk their dogs. After looking at the monument we like to sit on the wall at the back of the square to eat ice cream. It is one of my granddaughter’s favourite pastimes. I won't describe the mess she sometimes gets into, I think you can all imagine. I think this is a must see monument especially if visitors are in the area of Muranów. Other attractions in the same area are Krasinski Park, Muranów Cinema and the Archaeological Museum.Address: Andersa WładysławaDistrict: MURANÓW Buses: Number 35
by Praskipark on October 6, 2013
After visiting the Jewish Park and taking my granddaughter to the Anielewicz Mound, I decided to take a short walk to the Monument to the Dead and the Killed on the East. I asked her if she had seen this monument with her Daddy before and she said that she hadn’t. The first thing my granddaughter said when she saw it, was, ‘it looks like a train.’ It does indeed; it is an open rail car loaded with crosses of all different lengths. The rail car sits at the top of a track consisting of railway sleepers that bear the name of towns where tragic crimes were committed against the Poles in the USSR and in the East.When I came to Warsaw to live it was one of the first monuments I saw and one that has always fascinated me. It is situated on the intersection of Ulica. Muranowska and Ulica. Andersa, an area I know as Stawki, not far away from where my son and grandchildren live. The small island where the monument was unveiled in 1995, on the 56th anniversary of the Russian attack on Poland, is in the middle of a built up area with the Hotel Ibis at one side, communist style apartment blocks on Ulica Andersa and the metallic blue/green Intraco building in the distance. The section has been paved with cobbles so visitors can walk at the side of the rail tiles to read the names of the towns and circumnavigate the railway carriage holding all the crosses. My granddaughter struggled to walk on the cobbled track as the cobbles are different sizes and uneven.The composition of this piece of work created by artist, Maximilian Biskupsk, is wonderful. I love how the railway sleepers lead you in and up to the carriage with crosses tangled and strewed at different angles. If you look very carefully you will notice that not all the crosses are Latin crosses, I noticed Orthodox crosses and representations from Jewish and Muslim religions, also how the Cross of Valour and the Polish national emblem, the White Eagle towered above the others. I wouldn’t say I feel depressed when I look at this monument, more like a sense of loss and a feeling of despair at the futility of such tragic crimes. Of course, my granddaughter is too young to understand about what went on all those years ago and how her descendants were sent off to Siberia to the labour camps and others killed at Katyn. This is what the train and the crosses represent as well as the atrocities that were carried out in towns in Belarus, Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. She is looking at the monument through the eyes of a little girl and sees just a train and a track. However she did question why it was there and where was it going to. I always do my best to tell the truth but explain in a way that I think she will understand now, when she is older she will be able to find out more about the history of her city and country herself. Overall, I think my granddaughter was very impressed with this monument as I always am. It must have taken Maximilian Biskupsk a long time to create such a masterpiece. The monument has been beautifully constructed; I admire the way he has managed to make the railway truck look old and used and the way that each cross has something individual about it whether it is a curved edge or a small emblem engraved in the centre. Also, the sheen on the railway sleepers turns form a jade green to a metallic blue depending on how the sun shines on the monument. It is an amazing piece of work and one I recommend looking at when in Warsaw.The Monument to the Dead and the Killed on the East (Pomnik Poległych i Pomordowanych na Wschodzie).Address: Intersection of ul. Muranowska and ul. Andersa. Close to the Stare Miasto and within walking distance of Romuald Traugutt Park, Warsaw.
by Praskipark on September 1, 2013
Walking through the Jewish Park in the area of the former ghetto in Warsaw, has always been a pleasant experience. The small park has been vastly improved since the new Museum of the History of the Polish Jews opened its doors in April of this year. New wooden benches have been added between small garden areas and a new monument, a bench dedicated to Jan Karski has been placed underneath a shady area opposite the front façade of the museum. I didn’t know anything about this man although it was obvious to me that he was famous and had something to do with the holocaust and Jewish history. A new statue or monument always pleases me and usually I can’t wait to find out more information so after taking some photographs, I decided that the first task I would set myself when arriving home, would be to find out more about the man sat on a bench in a thoughtful pose with a book at his side.Firstly, his surname wasn’t Karski, it was Kozielewski. He was born a Catholic in Łodz (1932), grew up in a Jewish area, studied law and diplomacy and later graduated from the Jan Kazimierz University in Lvov, Ukraine. He worked for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1939 and the next year, after escaping from the Germans, he went ‘underground’ in Warsaw.His so-called underground profession in Warsaw was a World War II courier. This meant that Jan had to secretly travel to the West to inform governments about the tragic situation in Poland including the extermination of the Jewish people.Amazingly, in November 1942, Jan arrived in London and was able to appeal to politicians including Winston Churchill and also journalists. He told them of the horrors that the Nazis were afflicting on the Jews in the Ghetto. Unfortunately, the incredible but truthful accounts weren’t believed by the politicians.After the Second World War ended, Jan moved to Washington DC where he wrote a book about the Underground and the Jewish Holocaust in Poland. In 1965 he remarried, this time to a Polish dancer called Pola Nireńską, became an honorary citizen of the State of Israel in 1982 and a year later he was given Poland’s most prestigious award, the Order of the White Eagle.As for the monument itself, it is indeed very charming and has been well designed and constructed. The bench isn’t the only one in Poland or the world. There is one in Łódź and Kielce, two in the United States (New York, Washington DC) and one in Israel.The bench in Warsaw is a little different as it is interactive. You press a small device and you are able to listen to Jan Karski talk about his memories of the Second World War and the times before.Although the seat he is sitting on is called a bench, it is actually a sofa and looks like a very comfortable one at that. The sculpture is in bronze and has a very smooth finish. Jan sits at one end of the sofa with his left elbow leaning on the arm of the seat. At the other end, his book, The Story of the Secret State, is placed. There is room for another person to sit on the sofa if need be. He is very well dressed in a suit and a tie. His face looks thoughtful with his slender fingers from his left hand touching his chin. His hands are fascinating to look at; they look like hands that once played a piano, long, thin and bony. His body looks relaxed and his posture is very good, he has a straight back and perfectly crossed legs that reveal his socks and shoes. His feet size look average, not too big or too small. The pair of shoes he is wearing are smart, have no laces and a small heel. My granddaughter was a little scared of Jan Karski when she first saw him sitting on his sofa, she was afraid to go close to the sculpture. We have visited the monument a few times now and she is getting used to it and I think she is beginning to like the Polish courier. I think it is a fine example of Warsaw’s sculptures and a good way to keep the memory of this brave and intelligent man alive. Address: Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, Anielewicza 6, 00-157 Warsaw
by Praskipark on August 31, 2013
If you didn’t know anything about Polish history you would find walking down Ulica Miła a normal experience, like taking a stroll down any street in a major city. Before the Second World War this street was one of the busiest streets in Warsaw, bustling with Jewish life. It isn’t until you reach the junction of Ulica Miła and the corner of Dubois Street that you come across a granite stone with a marble plaque mounted on the top with the years 1940 – 1945 engraved. The commemorative stone is one of two placed at the opening of the entrance to the Monument to the Anielewicza Bunker.Once inside the entrance you will notice a cobbled path leading up to stone steps. At the top of the steps is a monument in the form of a mound with a headstone, dedicated to the leader of the Ghetto Uprising, Mordechai Anielewicza who lost his life along with over a hundred other Jewish Resistance fighters on May 8, 1943 when the bunker was surrounded by Nazis. Some Jews escaped, the ones that didn’t were gassed. At the foot of the monument is another commemorative stone shaped like a pyramid.This sculpture was unveiled in 2006 after the mound had been cleaned up and restored. Hanna Szmalenberg, an architect from Warsaw was one of the sculptors who created the obelisk with Mark Moderau, a Warsaw sculptor. The obelisk bears fifty one names of Jewish Resistance fighters that were either killed by the Nazis or took their own lives. The names read clearly in Polish, English and Hebrew. The headstone stands on top of a mound that is covered with long, wispy grass. Nothing remains of the bunker that once had electricity and a water supply. The memorial stone which is engraved in Polish, Yiddish and Hebrew is a medium sized clumpy stone with two smaller slabs of stone at the foot. The day my granddaughter and I visited, a small Jewish flag lay on top of one of the smaller stones. To hold the flag down even smaller stones had been placed. These stones are also a marker from visitors who come to pay their respect. Often candles in small tins can be seen on top of the headstone, I saw only one.The view from the memorial is a city scape with apartment blocks behind and at the side of the mound. In the distance the blue reflective glass of the Intraco skyscraper on Ulica Stawki can be seen.I have visited the Monument to the Bunker Anielewicza many times. The first time I was shocked at the lack of flowers or information about the commemorative stone and mound. After living in the city, learning more about Polish and Jewish history, I have learnt that flowers are very rarely placed on Jewish graves, only stones, small and large. There is no pattern to how the stones are placed, a representation of a community being randomly built.Address: Junction of Ulica Miła and the corner of Dubois StreetOpen all the timeNo admission fee.
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