A Gastronomic Stroll through Warsaw, Poland Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

A Gastronomic Stroll through Warsaw, Poland

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The following is a daytime stroll through Warsaw, Poland, which is best taken on a weekend as it focuses on parks and street cafés.

Imagine the scene, it is late morning and after a night of dancing and drinking, you are hungry and you are looking for a good breakfast. Take a bus or taxi to Plac Trzy Krzysy (Square of the Three Crosses) and take a look at the ministry building, the classic round church and the post-modern ING Building. Go into the Szpilka Café on the north side of the square, take a seat on the gallery and shamelessly watch the in-crowd of Warsaw. This crowd consists of models, actors, students, yuppies and so on. While here, order panini and three different bread-spreads (for example Italian with tomato, olives and salami), have a cappuccino and let the sun shine all over you.

Strengthened by your breakfast, move southwards towards Aleja Ujazdowskie (on Plac Trzy Krzysy, you pass the Modulor Café in the ING Building which is another good place for breakfast). The Ujazdowskie is lined by 19th Century buildings and a little park, all of which are pleasant to look at. If you walk further up, cross the city highway and then turn left into the park, you come to the castle Zamek Ujazdowskie. This also doubles up as the Warsaw museum for contemporary art.

The museum has frequently changing exhibitions of really modern international art, which can be funny, interesting, shocking or amazing. The museum also has a good alternative bookshop where you can find books on the exhibits and get inspiration for interior design. The museum closes at 5.00pm. Behind the museum, also in the castle, is the restaurant Kuchnia Artystyczna (Artists' Kitchen). The restaurant has a modernistic interior, great floral arrangements, affordable nouvelle cuisine, intellectual chic, slow service, and strange drinks - try the Snowball.

After a few refreshments, head back to Aleja Ujazdowskie and move further south, along the side of the Layzienki Park (one of the greatest green open spaces in Warsaw). On the way, you pass an old observatory and come to the statue of Chopin, the great Polish composer. The statue is weird and expresses a lot of tragedy. On Sundays in summer, there are free piano concerts as well as other music events at this site. Just sit on the grass and enjoy.

Having taken in the statue, move deeper into the park and just explore. You can easily spend two hours there; the park has baths built by the Polish kings in the 18th Century and is full of Baroque architectural treasures. A particular jewel is Diana's Temple which overlooks a small, overgrown lake and the orangerie.

By now, it should be late afternoon and your feet should hurt. Now is the time to head back to Chopin's statue, leave the park and go to Café Brama on Ulica Marszalkowska No 8. Brama is a true Café in the Berlin tradition with a very mixed but young crowd. The food is well worth a try and the menu offers such delights as chicken curry pasta, avocado sesame salad, ciabatta sandwiches and the best hot cheesecake in town. The prices have recently been drastically reduced.

Your walk is now finished, and the only thing left for you to do is stroll to your hotel, pick up a copy of the Warsaw Business Journal, and check out where you are going to go in the evening.

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