I’ve just recently been to Warsaw in Poland for a lovely 24 hour layover. I wasn’t overly excited for it and put it on the swaps page to try my luck but no tempting offers were sent so I kept it, as it was a new destination – and I’m so glad I did!! It was the 8am flight out of Dubai landing into Warsaw around 12:15. Upon arriving in the briefing room that morning before the flight, to meet the crew and do our checks etc, I was told it was the annual NATO Summit that weekend and it was being hosted in Poland.
For anyone who knows me, they’ll know I love meeting a good celeb, so I was really holding out for a selfie with Barack Obama as he was staying a few hotels down the road from us! Anyway, upon landing into Warsaw International Airport we drove (is that the correct term?) past Air Force 1 which is Obama’s plane which was parked up on the concourse which was pretty cool! I wish I would have been able to take a picture!
We quickly disembarked passengers and collected our luggage and jumped on the coach over to the hotel. Driving over I have NEVER seen so much police everywhere in my life. Everywhere seemed to be cordoned off, roads were closed and police men and police cars dotted around every corner – all because of the NATO summit.
We pulled into the hotel where we actually struggled to park because of all the security around and we had our passports taken off us to be scanned and checked, all luggage and bags scanned and had to go through the metal detectors all before we were even allowed through the entrance of the hotel! However there was a pretty plush red carpet rolled out so it wasn’t all too bad I guess…. Haha.
We checked in and myself and a few others had arranged to meet back downstairs in 45 minutes to go and explore the town of Warsaw! Yet when I get onto my floor there was an additional three security guards just sat watching everyone coming and going on each floor, and this wasn’t even where Obama was staying! So you can imagine the security there!!
The weather was gorgeous in Warsaw, a nice sunny 24 degrees so I changed and met the crew downstairs. We decided to walk towards the Old Town as we’d been told it would be closed later for the NATO Summit Dinner.
Wandering into the Old Town we saw a viewing platform which one of the business crew members had suggested we do for good views. We paid our 5 Polish Zloty but was told that the platform would be closing in 10 minutes, so we quickly dashed up the spiral of stairs to see the views of the city.
After our ten minutes was up a US Army Official came up and asked us to leave as they had a job to do which I believe was as a sniper seeing the large gun.
We headed back down and strolled across the Old Town Square which was quite busy and filled with camera crew following around what I assume we’re important political and national officials, however still no sign of Obama at this point.
One of the crew had recommended a cool bar to visit along the river front where we sat for an hour or so soaking up the glorious sunshine and trying some of the local beers!
Stomachs were beginning to rumble so we decided to go in search of some food. Our Cabin Supervisor’s husband had recently visited Warsaw and had recommended a restaurant that did traditional polish cuisine which he said was really good so we went in search of the restaurant with the directions of “It’s left of the wall and there’s a car in the entrance” after about 15 minutes of walking we finally found it and all filed into a table for 6!
We ordered litre steins of polish beer and some local polish dumplings to share. One with cheese and potato, the other with minced meat, bacon and mushrooms as the Polish girls on the flight wouldn’t stop telling us that we just HAD to try them. And I’m so glad they did as they were amazing!! They were brought out with some gherkins, sauerkraut and sour cream and they were so so delicious. I will definitely be heading back to Poland just for the dumplings!
I’d ordered the ribs for main which was served with rice and purple cabbage. The portion size that came was absolutely ridiculous and could have easily served a family of four and upon tucking into my ribs, I then found out there was also sauerkraut and fried potatoes under there as well!
The food was all amazing but far too much and I’m disappointed to say this is all I could manage…
One of the girls had ordered a traditional beetroot soup, but does anyone else not think it looks just like Tubby Custard from the Teletubbies?
Litre steins finished and polished off with a local cherry liquor (which was also so nice that I picked up a couple of bottles of it duty free for only £6!!) we decided it was time to head home ready for our beds.
Walking back towards the hotel I noticed that crowds were beginning to form around the hotel that Barack Obama was staying at (I managed to find this info out from one of the passengers on board!) so myself and a boy Douglas decided to hold back to try and see Obama. We managed to get a pretty good spot right outside the entrance of the hotel so I was thinking when Obama gets out here I’m hoping I have a pretty good chance of a selfie with the man himself?
Anyway, all hopes of a selfie were shattered when the incredibly ridiculous procession of cars began and they began to slow down and then finally there was the Presidents car and it decided not to stop outside the entrance of the hotel!!! But instead go round the back and through a side entrance. However was I really surprised with the intense amount of police, procession of cars and high number of snipers on the roofs – and they were the ones I could see…
I got back to the hotel to go through the whole security shenanigans again before finally collapsing into bed. I managed to sleep a whole 10 hours before I woke up ordered some room service in bed and went back to sleep for another 3 hours before the wake up call. I was a very tired Jess!
So all in all, a really wonderful 24 hour layover. Warsaw was such a beautiful city (even more so I expect without all the security and ropes and gates ruining my pictures) and so so cheap! I didn’t even spend a third of my allowance, so really recommend Poland for a weekend away on a budget!