Pierogi, Mulled Wine and Chopin

The first chemical element that Marie Skłodowska Curie discovered and isolated in 1898 was named polonium after her native country. The first woman to win a Noble Prize and the first person to win 2 Noble Prizes used to say that “a scientist in his laboratory is not a mere technician: he is also a child confronting natural phenomena that impress him as though they were fairy tales”.

On the first day of spring of 1810 a prodigy child was born. His name was Frédéric François Chopin and he left the world with an impressive heritage of over 230 works all involving the piano. A romantic he used to say “Even in winter it shall be green in my heart”.

Tamara de Lempicka was an Art Deco painter and the first woman artist to be a glamour star. She was part of the bohemian life of the Roaring Twenties and friends with Pablo Picasso, Jean Cocteau, and André Gide and said “I live life in the margins of society, and the rules of normal society don’t apply to those who live on the fringe”. Her self-portrait in a Green Bugatti is truly charming.

What do all these people have in common you ask? Well they were all born in different times in the same city…Warsaw. And as you listen to this Spring Waltz – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmzFDEu2RoA imagine being a child and running around the streets of old times Warsaw. Choose your character, it may be a scientist, a pianist, a painter or it may be just any other child on the street. Once the wandering mood is on read away and let us take care of the rest.

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Old City and Novy Swiat

The Old City of Warsaw dates back over 700 years. But its history hasn’t been smooth. Razed through the ground in the World War II, the Old City has been reconstructed from scratch as was the Royal Castle. The Old City is vibrant, with small streets and all sorts of squares, painted walls and restaurants. We visited before Christmas so the Christmas trees and the Christmas markets added even more glamour to the area.

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The Old Town Market square founded in the 13th century was the venue of celebrations and fairs but also executions. Nowadays is surrounded by Gothic and baroque buildings, packed with souvenir shops and restaurants (one of them even exhibiting a Michelin star) and is home of the Warsaw Mermaid.

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Legend says, she became so enchanted with the landscape that she decided to settle here. Local fishermen thought that their fishing nets have been destroyed by some predator. And so, they decided to get rid of the beast but they heard the beautiful voice of the signing Mermaid and fell over heels in love with the creature. One day, a wealthy merchant caught the mermaid but the sons of the fishermen hearing her cries managed to free her. In gratitude, the Mermaid promised the city’s residents to protect them in times of need. And so it stands here, in the Old Town Square, with her sword and shield to guard the city and its people ever since.

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Novy Swiat Street is packed with coffee places, restaurants and shops for all tastes. If you are in for some student vibe don’t miss entering the University Campus and if you are into some music watch out for the multimedia benches which will play a little bit of Chopin.

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Royal Castle

The Royal Castle was a royal residence starting from the 14th century blown up by the Germans in the 1944 and opened again to the public in 1984 it is today a museum and a place for holding state ceremonies.

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Our favorite room was the King’s Bedchamber decorated with yew paneling and a turquoise colored royal bed.

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Stacja Muzeum

Near Ochota there’s a railway related museum which presents the history of railway in the world and Poland in the inside exhibition

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and in the open-air museum in includes a collection of rail vehicles in Poland from different periods of the railway history including the Bierut’s Lounge Car, renovated baggage and postal car wagon electrical and steam locomotives. For more information visit http://www.stacjamuzeum.pl/en.

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Palace of Culture and Science

Somehow similar to the Romanian House of the Free Press the Palace of Culture and Science is an example of socialist-realist architecture which can be seen from every part of the city. The Palace is home to a cinema, 2 orchestras, 2 museums, 2 public libraries and the Warsaw Tourist Information Point.

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You can go up to the rooftop with an elevator for a view from above of Warsaw. Rumor has it that next door Marriott Hotel has a Panorama Bar where you can get for the same money a better view plus a beer.

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Holy Cross Church

Near the Old City and on your way to Novy Swiat you come across the Church of the Holy Cross which in addition to beeing a spacious and impressive Baroque style church it also contains the urn of Chopin’s heart brought from France by his sister and immured in the left pillar of the main nave of the church.

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Where we ate

Warsaw has plenty of options for food and coffee lovers. Our favorite restaurant was Podwale 25 Piwna Kompania and our favorite coffee place was Café Nero.

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For more ideas on where to eat and chill click here.

Where we stayed

We stayed in Apartament Uniwersytecki at Krakowskie Przedmieście 20-22 m16, Sródmiescie. The location of the apartment is right next to the University 10 minutes walking from the Old City on one side and 10 minutes walking to the Central Station on the other side and the kitchen makes it so easy to have breakfast or dinner at home. There is a metro station a couple of minutes away and Nowy Świat is right there as is also a Carrefour Express 1 minute away from the apartment .

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Food & Drinks Warsaw

Podwale 25 Piwna Kompania (http://podwale25.pl)

The restaurant is located near the Old City. Food is typical Polish (similar also to Romanian one), portions are huge and there’s also some live music. Preferably come outside the typical eating hours since the place is crowded you may have to sit in line for lunch but it is all worth it. Mushrooms soup was a delight and the honey ribs are a must try.

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Zapiecek (http://www.zapiecek.eu)

You will find Zapiecek easy in the Old City and also on Krakowskie Przedmieście near the Old City. Traditional Polish food. You can get beetroot soup in a cup or in a soup plate if you want to try the version with pierogi. They have a wide variety of pierogi (some kind of dumplings), boiled or fried with different types of stuffing from cabbage, to meat and cherries. The mulled wine is also a must try with more spicy added by the ever present nutmeg. Mind the cue also for Zapiecek around lunch and dinner time.

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Green Café Nero (http://www.greencaffenero.pl)

This coffee place is everywhere in central Warsaw near the Old City. It has plenty of room to sit, chill, read a book, surf the internet, or just enjoy a big cup of coffee and some sweets. If you are a coffee fun you can find here also Costa Coffee, Starbucks and some small local coffee places.

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Fret a Porter (http://fretaporter.pl)

Freta Street at the end of the Old City is packed with all sorts of restaurants. We stopped in Fret a Porter. We tried the duck with oranges and it was very tasty.

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Croque Madame (https://www.facebook.com/CroqueMadame41/)

If you like cakes than this is the place to be. The apple pie and the meringue and chocolate cake are very good.

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Letters from Myanmar – Yangon

This is Burma and it is unlike any land you know about” Rudyard Kipling, Letters from the East (1898)

Myanmar is referred to as Amarapura, the Land of Immortality, Yadanarbon, the Land of the Gems and Suvanabhomi, the Golden Land. And we are off to discover how each and every of this skilfull names suit Myanmar and breathe from each of its corners. First stop of this ride Yangon.

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What we did

Shwedagon Pagoda

The Golden Pagoda dates back to 588 BC and it is said to be the oldest stupa in Myanmar if not the world. The complex o Shwedagon Pagoda is accessible on four majestic stairways. The stupa is 99m height and is encircled by the sequence of the planetary posts each representing a day of the week along with its associated heavenly body and animal (in Burmese astrology Wednesday is divided in two, thus resulting eight “days” in total). Around the terraces you will find a replica of the Buddha’s Tooth (a copy of the original held in Kandy, Sri Lanka), the Magic Ruby Enshrined Buddha, the Child-clutching Brahma, a reclining Buddha and plenty more.

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Sule Pagoda

Sule Pagoda is right in the centre of the British style organized streets in Downtown Yangon. Local tradition says that the pagoda was built during the lifetime of the Buddha himself. The pagoda is reachable on four staircases located on each cardinal point. Entrance for tourists is 3 USD and the view is especially beautiful in the afternoon when the sun sets.

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Downtown Street Wandering

Downtown is a display of colonial architecture with entire streets and houses all lined up like in the 19th century.  There are shops and street vendors on all the streets between the 19th Street and the Pansodan Street.  In the evening street food stalls and street “restaurants” with plastic tables and chairs are lined up on both sides of Mahabandoola Road and the streets between 32nd Street and 18th Street with all sorts of barbecue, noodles and fruits.

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Bogyoke Market

Foreign-friendly market built in 1926 covering everything from souvenirs, gems, jewellery, clothing this bazaar looks like a must for shopaholics.

Where we stayed

We stayed at Clover City Centre Hotel Plus. Small entrance lobby with reception at the third floor but otherwise a great spot for a short stay in Yangon. Room was big and clean. Air-conditioning working properly; TV with a few channels, water and coffee complimentary and the well needed safe. Location is great on 32nd Street which makes you stay 5 minutes away from Sule Pagoda and walking distance to 19th Street (one one side) and 50th Street (on the other side).

Where we ate

We went to 50th Street for pies, Bar Book for coffee, 19th Kosan Street for beer, the Black Hat for dinner and live music and 999 Shan Noodle Soup for the best noodles soup in town. Click here for more details on our eating & drinking in Yangon experience.

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What we think about Yangon people

We loved the people in Yangon. They seemed nice and honest and did smile a lot. Most of them wear the traditional longyi – the sarong like lower body garment worn by both women and men. Thanka (the bright yellow face paint) is also usual in Yangon. Kids are curious like in all places and do expect people in the pagodas to ask for pictures with you :p.

Click here for some Tips & Tricks of Yangon

Click here for our Top experiences in Yangon

For more photos of Yangon just click here for our Facebook page.

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Food & Drinks Copenhagen

Mormors

Our favourite spot in Copenhagen is definitely Mormors cafe which translates to “Grandma”. It’s a cosy little café with tables inside and outside and usual window stalls that you can find in most of Copenhagen cafes. The décor is a special one reminding you of a dream living room of anyone’s grandma, a place where you can find ancient furniture and old time memories, porcelain, old pictures, not matching chairs.

The staff is really nice and welcoming. They serve homemade sandwiches and Danish cookies, smoothies or all sorts, coffee and amazing warm chocolate to take the edge of any day. They even have two memories book where visitors have signed in from 2008 onwards; take time to read through them we promise it will be a fun ride.

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Geist Restaurant

Giest is a very fancy restaurant in Nyhavn area and rather expensive one. It has a simplistic décor, with diffuse light and candles and with everything just in the right place that you instantly fall in love with the atmosphere. The kitchen area is open so you can see the cooks preparing meals. The star and owner of the restaurant is the cook Bo Bech and the menu includes items like baked celeriac with condensed buttermilk, guail with chanterelles and chili, salted and dried young duck breast; the guy won a Michelin star in his fomer restaurant Paustian.

We enjoyed some wine at the window stalls, at candlelight overlooking the Nyhavn area and Geist definitely goes on our list for the next visit when we promise to try some of Bo Bech specialities.

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Spiserestaurant

Located in the Nyhavn area, good restaurant serving also breakfast and brunch for a fixed price (99DKK). The staff is really nice and the food is amazing.

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Café Norden

Located in the centre of Copenhagen on 2 floors it’s the perfect gateway from the city. It was incredibly crowded with locals enjoying dinner and drinks. We tried their Danish beer and their amazing chocolate cake.

Café Dalle Valle

Located near the Round Tower this is a spacious restaurant more than a café like the name indicates. It serves buffet dinner and lunch and it was thus crowded. We had late lunch for half price with pastas and Danish beer and all was very tasty. Prices are also very affordable.

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Café Sommersko

Fancy restaurant that seems to have also some live bands in certain evenings. We loved their steak and fries all together with some Hoegaarden beer.

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Emmerys Cafe

Organic bakery and coffee, light and elegant decor, the usual window stalls and a couple of tables and couches. They serve great coffee, juices and cookies.

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Yummiest Chinese Treats

We are happy to the sky and back to be sharing with you our first guest post and we send all our love to the amazing Agness from www.eTramping.com who has agreed to share with us some insight views on the Chinese sweets.  So here we go:
Got a sweet tooth and China is next on your bucket list?  I have some good and bad news for your then. The bad news is that Chinese sweets are not very sweet. In fact, they might be a bit tasteless for those who love sugary desserts. The reason being, Chinese try to be healthy and stay slim so they avoid sugar. They prefer spicy food over sweet treats so most of Chinese desserts are savoury and contain red bean filling. The good news is that you can treat yourself with many different goodies here without gaining any weight. Guilty free pleasure! Moreover, you can discover many different flavours of fruits, veggies and a great combination of fresh ingredients.
Chinese locals snack a lot on fresh fruits, jelly, red beans, bread and cakes from time to time. They eat everything in moderation so they stay healthy and slim all year long. The list of all my favourite Chinese desserts is way too long to share it with you here, so I decided to pick up the most delicious ones you should definitely taste when you visit the Land of Dragons:
#1 Street donuts.
Street donuts are obviously sold at the street food vendors, but you can also get them in big supermarkets and most of local restaurants. They are deep fried and look exactly like the Western donuts, but they are filled with red bean jam and honey, thus they are much healthier and not that super sweet. Chinese do not sprinkle them with caster sugar, they use coconut powder instead. Having one is a must when visiting Beijing. In order to make it even more tasty, you can order a local flavoured yogurt served in glass jars. 

Donuts
 
#2 Dumplings filled with fruits.
Fruity baozi are extremely delicious and they can easily satisfy your sugar cravings for all day. They are filled with strawberry, peach, raspberry or blueberry jam and honey and steamed so it’s a light snack to have on the go.
Baozi

Fruity baozi

Chinese dumplings
 #3 Candy fruits.
They are called tanghulu and you can spot them everywhere in Beijing, Shanghai or Guilin. Shiny and long candied fruit served on bamboo skewers can certainly be a yummy dessert. You can choose your fruits from blueberry, pineapple orange to grape and cherry tomato. Healthy, affordable and sweet – what else could you ask for?
tanghulu

tanghulu
 #4 Sweet bread.
Chinese are obsessed with sweet bread and buns. They like it steamed and filled with custard, mung bean paste or jam. My favourite one is sesame bread with pieces of raisins and nuts inside. So delicious!
Sweet bread

Sweet bread
#5 Ice cream.
Chinese ice cream dessert cannot be compared to Western styled goodies – way too watery, but if you feel like having something fruity as a snack and you don’t fancy eating sweet things, you should definitely have one scoop of them – strawberry and banana flavours are the yummiest. 
Ice cream
  #6 Pumpkin cake.
Pumpkin is eaten all year long in China, not only for Halloween. Therefore, some locals come up with various pumpkin cake recipes each year which are healthy, nutritious and yet slightly sweet. Sweet Chinese fried pumpkin glutinous rice cake is definitely my favourite one. It’s soft and it has a jelly texture that melts in your mouth. Surprisingly, it’s sold in the street hot and sprinkled with nuts. 

Pumpkin cake
#7 You tiao.
You tiao are traditional fried breadsticks – one of the best breakfast options on the cheap in China. They have golden brown skin, they are deep fried and taste awesome with some sesame oil or melted chocolate.
You tiao

You tiao
#8 Sticky rice in a leaf.
In China, it’s very common to have glutinous rice filled with chicken, Chinese mushrooms, Chinese sausage, red bean paste and nuts for your dessert. Steamed sticky rice is wrapped in a lotus leaf wrap, it’s soft and extremely delicious!”

Sticky rice in a leaf

 

Sticky rice

 Agness and Cez are best friends and travel companions from Poland. These two are sharing their budget travel tips on how to travel the world with $25 in your pocket. Since 2011, they have been travelling the world while teaching English in different Asian countries such as China, Thailand or Cambodia. They are both photography passionate obsessed with Chinese cuisine and culture. More about them on www.eTramping.com

Agness and Cez of eTramping – Da Lang, Dongguan, China
 
 
More pictures of Chinese treats below:
 
A local rolling a cake
Bakery display
Cake shop
Chinese tea
Chinese teahouse
Jam filled dessert in Beijing
Chinese Herbal Tea
Jelly Cake
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Cookies with nuts, sesame and dried fruits