• Czech Republic,  Travel,  TravelTips

    Czech Republic’s Must-See UNESCO Sites

    sometimes it feels like you may have all but exhausted the travel opportunities in your immediate surroundings. when this feeling strikes, turning to a list of UNESCO heritage sites in your vicinity makes for some great trip (or even day trip) inspirado. i am unofficially trying to see all (or as many possible) of the UNESCO sites in czech republic. here are some that i’ve already checked off my list, and some more that i’m hoping to see in the future… PRAGUE’S HISTORIC CITY CENTER why is it UNESCO? it’s one of the most important and best preserved medieval city centers in europe! in few other places in the world…

  • Summer,  Travel

    I Dyed in Szczecin

    it was my last full day in poland and i was on a (very very full) train from the hel peninsula bound for szczecin, near the german border. i chose to visit szczecin because i’d heard a lot of great things in the travel bloggy world about this gritty polish harbor city and i wanted to see it with my own eyes. naively, when booking the trip i planned a handful of “one-nighters”, and this was one of them, my last hurrah in poland. but little did i know that one nighters aren’t such a great idea when you’re on a long backpacking trip. those days were such whirlwinds and admittedly,…

  • Summer,  Travel

    Glimpse of Malbork Castle, Poland

    one does not travel to northern poland and miss malbork castle, an absolutely beautiful red brick (very characteristic of the area) castle built by the teutonic knights in the middle ages. i am happy to report that i am currently feeling quite cured of being castled out like i was last spring, so a visit to the giant fortress on the vistula river seemed like a fantastic day trip out of gdansk at just over an hour by train. (photo via) besides all of these beautiful ornate interiors and ballrooms, i really found this unfinished chapel quite fascinating. damaged in WWII, the chapel still does not have a roof and the…

  • Summer,  Travel

    Sopot, So Good: Poland’s North Coast Jewel

    a real highlight of the entire three week backpacking trip to poland was getting to the coast, and one of the places i was most excited about was the small beachy resort town of sopot, only about a half-hour train ride from gdansk. but sopot isn’t exactly the sleepy little coastal town you’d think of: this place is happening. sopot’s famous for its history (both marlene dietrich and adolf hitler stayed at the famous resort hotel) and a reputation for a good party. apparently young poles (and others) flock here by the thousands in the summer time to take advantage of the clubbing atmosphere. but that’s not why i was…

  • Summer,  Travel

    Solidarity Movement in Gdansk, Poland

    august is an extremely historic month to be visiting poland. the warsaw uprising, ghetto uprising, and solidarity movement all occurred in this month, and everywhere i went, i felt like i was visiting a sight on the exact anniversary of an important event. besides taking in the beauty of the city center, the solidarity sights were by far the most interesting and powerful of my stay in poland’s most northern metropolis. there is so much to see and lots of information to soak-up about this historic movement that got it’s start here in gdańsk. while walking away from the city center towards the harbor, you eventually come across the solidarity…

  • Summer,  Travel

    Gdánsk Magic Gdánsk

    i deeply enjoyed my time in the most northern polish metropolis on the baltic sea, gdánsk. the photo above really says more than i could: we were just getting ready to head out to catch a boat when i deeply felt that i needed a raspberry-laden gofry (waffle), like right now. so my last couple of minutes in the city was spent gazing out at the harbor and scarfing down deliciousness. gdánsk certainly has some fascinating history, which i could go on about for pages. but i won’t, and i will leave you instead with just a select few facts: it was a major hanseatic league city, was designated a “free city” after…

  • Summer,  Travel

    Whimsical Toruń

    toruń, poland (a UNESCO heritage designated city) was just a hop and a skip away from warsaw on polski bus (which was actually early. what?!) and we arrived to this cute little town with the whole afternoon ahead of us! toruń is sort of a smaller kraków. the česky krumlov of poland, if you will. it’s incredibly tourist friendly and is the kind of place that invites lingering with an ice cream cone on a bench and people watching. there is ample signage all over and a couple of museums dedicated to the two things toruń is famous for: its gingerbread (piernika) and its famous scientist, copernicus, who was born here. but if you’re…

  • Summer,  Travel

    A Bit of Wroclaw & Bus Madness

    and now, for the continuing saga of cynthia’s polish odyssey. after pulling  ourselves away from the wonderful tatras region, it was time to move on to bigger and busier places. and the best way to do this: polski bus. i’d heard a bit about the quality of poland’s roads and was eager to find out for myself first hand. polish rail is pretty affordable, but polski bus tickets are half the price of the train, sometimes lower. with comfortable seats, a toilet and free wifi on board, the decision was made. what i didn’t expect was the mad rush that occurred when the bus pulled up to the station in…

  • Eats,  Recipe,  Summer,  Travel

    Sunday Cookin’: Borscht Soup

    this week was full of downtime compared to the weeks that are to come, so i wanted to make sure to cook a lot of healthy and delicious meals. and man, did i ever. i picked up a couple of beets at the farmers’ market last weekend specifically with the intention of making a huge pot of borscht for the coming week. you know, that funny pink eastern european soup that nobody really seems to like. well, after eating my way through poland last month, i vowed that i would make my own after i got home. i found polish barszcz to be a bit sweeter and more brothy than i…

  • Eats,  Summer,  Travel

    How to Treat Yourself in Warsaw

    a friend yesterday told me, “i looked through your poland photos. every other one was of food, though!” yeah……so…… (shifty look) where my foodies at? i was really looking forward to warsaw for many reasons, but in particular, for the opportunity to treat myself with all of the hard to find food and dishes that i haven’t had a chance to enjoy since i moved to the czech republic almost two years ago. i knew because of the cosmopolitan nature of the city that it was time to really go for it. (disclaimer: this post was written in september 2014 – please double-check to confirm the locations and existence of the…