Poland in December | Our First Time to Eastern Europe Together

If we’re honest here, before heading to Poland in December 2016 for a long weekend trip, we had never even heard of the country – or at least anything about it. But when we found tickets for 8 USD straight from Aberdeen, we had to jump on the opportunity for adventure.

 

Way back in December 2016, (man we’re playing some serious catch-up), Jason got done with lecture early on a Friday and didn’t have to be back to class until the following Wednesday. If you know anything about our time in Scotland, you know that we take advantage of every. single. long. weekend. Jason gets. So I started looking for flights, and low and behold, there was a flight going out Friday night to Warsaw, Poland and a return flight from Gdansk, Poland late Tuesday night. It was the perfect set-up for a short time away.

I texted my friend Erin to see if she and her husband wanted to join us. We both text the boys to see if they would be down with a bit of travel. And about thirty minutes later, we bought tickets to Poland.

{Traveler’s TipWizzAir is a budget airline from Hungary. They fly relatively cheaply to many Eastern European countries. Definitely, check them out if planning a trip to Poland! 

 

Now, like I said, we had never seen a single picture of Poland, hadn’t ever heard travel stories of this Eastern European country and literally had NO idea what to expect heading there. I had to even look at a map to see where in the world we were flying!

And, not going to lie here… after trying to find information about Poland and coming up quite empty-handed, we were even more excited to go. For our first time over in Scotland, we were traveling out of the country to a place fairly unknown.

 

OUR FIRST LUXURIOUS STAY   


When Friday, December 2nd came around, we packed our backpacks with a few essentials, threw on our heaviest winter coats, and bundled up in our warmest scarves and beanies to head to the airport.

{Traveler’s Tip… If you’re planning on visiting Poland in December, be sure to bring extra warm clothes!! It’s freezing there!} 

After landing in Poland around midnight, getting lost at the airport trying to find the bus, and chasing down not one but two buses we had missed, we finally made it to our hotel at two in the morning!

Jay and I were working with the Westin Warsaw for two nights, and we could not be more excited walking into the doors of the hotel. We had worked with other companies in the past, but nothing quite like the Westin.

 

When we travel, we usually stay at AirBnBs, Couchsurf, camp, or find bed and breakfasts or villas with local charm. But Poland is a place for splurging. It’s a country that’s not yet on many people’s radars, so extremely nice hotels are still relatively cheap. And… we had never traveled in luxury before – and wanted to experience it for ourselves and our readers, so we had to stay at the Westin!

 

READ MORE : Staying in Luxury at the Westin, Warsaw

 

If you want to read more about our stay at the Westin and find loads of photos of that place.. click on the link just above. For now, we’ll say our stay was nothing short of amazing and move on to the rest of our time in Poland ;).

 

WARSAW | A City of Old and New


The bellman at the Westin had told us all there is to know about Warsaw. He told us what things to see in the city, where the nicer parts of town were, and all about the Christmas events going on throughout the surrounding area.

 

READ MORE : 10 Ways to Spend Your Time in Warsaw

 

The first thing on our agenda for the day was going back to the really cool building we had seen the night before. Just a short walk from the hotel was The Palace of Culture and Science. I kid you not, we spent hours photographing this building and the parks around it.

 

With the newly melted snow, we had so much fun finding the best reflections and even playing in the puddles a bit!

 

We eventually made our way down to Old Town Warsaw. This was where the main part of Warsaw used to be, but during World War II the entire city was basically demolished. However, Old Town Warsaw has been completely rebuilt to mimic what it once looked like. Honestly, we weren’t too thrilled with this part of Warsaw and instead found the places that weren’t rebuilt much more interesting.

 

Here’s the kicker… The really nice thing about Warsaw is the contrast between the new and the old. While “Old Town Warsaw” is quite a Disneyland-like feeling place, the rest of the city is not. Around the area we stayed we found ourselves getting lost within the skyscrapers. Everywhere we looked we found a mixture of new architecture and extremely old buildings, making it really fun to just walk around. We even ran into some sort of parade/celebration while walking around!

 

The history surrounding us was entrancing, and while some of the city seemed run down and dirty, the history built in made the ruggedness feel more real. The remnants of the war put off an eerie feeling we’ve never felt anywhere else.

 

GDANSK | That European Vibe without Those European Tourists


After two full days in Warsaw, we jumped on a train and went north to Gdansk. The only driving factor to heading to Gdansk was that it meant we got one extra day in Poland. The return flight out of Warsaw was leaving Monday afternoon, but if we went up to Gdansk, we could leave Tuesday night. And obviously, we couldn’t pass up an extra day in the country!

From the information we had gathered about Gdansk, we understood it to be just some random town in the north of Poland that was having a Christmas market while we were there. We were pleasantly surprised to find Gdansk way more than just a random Christmas market location!

 

READ MORE : 12 Things to do in Gdansk (the most visited post on the blog right now)

 

Gdansk is truly a hidden gem of Europe. This town was like every postcard picture you see of European towns, but without all the tourist! It was amazing! The buildings, the food, the canals… Ahh.. just think about it makes us want to go back.

 

We spent two days just wandering around this cute place. Knowing nothing at all about the town was the best part. It was like we were kids again getting so excited about every little thing we stumbled upon.. especially when we stumbled upon Amber street! Can you imagine walking around the side of a church and finding this street…

 

One of our favorite parts of Gdansk was visiting the Christmas market. Jason had been to a few Christmas markets before, but Heather’s only experience was at the Edinburgh Christmas Market a few weekends before. The Gdansk Christmas Market was so low key it actually felt really romantic, just the kind of Christmas market we were looking for! We wandered through the Christmas stalls, tried all kinds of food, and settled on a Polish delicacy for our main meal.

{Traveler’s Tip… If you’re visiting Poland in December, make sure to look into Christmas markets and events in the cities you’re traveling to. They’re smaller and more romantic than the big cities throughout Europe!}

 

POLISH FOOD | Absolutely to Die for Indulgences


Speaking of the food.. Polish food is amazing! There’s this dish called Pierogi, and oh my gosh… my mouth’s watering thinking about it. We had our first Pierogi in Warsaw with Erin and Travis at a place called Folk Gospoda, and I don’t think our lives would be complete without eating there.

 

And the Milk Bars… you really can’t eat on a budget better than at them. They are cafeteria style restaurants invented during the war so people could eat good food at cheap prices. They serve traditional Polish food, in our experience the workers only speak Polish, and man, it’s the best thing. Just think… you point at food that looks good, the workers add their own twist to it, and then you walk away spending less than 3 USD on a full tray of food!

 

Now, nearly a year after getting back from Poland, we still check flights every now and then to see if we can find a deal just as cheap as before just so we can go back to eat some Pierogi and experience another Milk Bar. – We’re telling you, the food’s really that good! Who knows, maybe we’ll end up in Poland again this December!

 


 

Our Polish weekend getaway was really one for the books. It’s been such a blessing to work remotely and be in a program where we can do quick getaways like this one. We’ll always remember being bundled up on the cold streets of Poland walking hand in hand just pinching ourselves with how blessed we are to live the life we do.

 


 

Is Poland in December for you?? Pin this post for your trip there! 

Poland in December, canva, Christmas Market, Gdansk, arboursabroad

 

Poland in December, Palace of Culture and Science, Poland Travel Tips, arboursabroad

 


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