Written by Amy Aed – Student Writer
The main appeal for this city may appear to be price (flights for less than £25 return during off-peak holidays), but the strange feeling of familiarity in a country presenting such subtle offerings of culture shock is one that will make you fall in love before you even know it. Think nameless museums with German captions and back-street ice-cream sellers with queues all the way down the other side of the Altstat, there’s something unique about this city that you won’t quite be able to put your finger on.
The Rhine-stapled city offers just a breath of British culture, whilst suggesting an ease of vast difference. Featuring a Japanese styled park echoing staple quirks of both Asian and European culture, a Promenade littered with odd-angled trees and Brighton-esque houses, and a wind-whiled marina framed by bright buildings lined with silver and soot – the city is a confusing place that will have you questioning where you are half the time. Enter a beer-soaked pub and an endless supply of alcohol cheaper than water will flood your rounds, rendering a convert, confusing city even more upside-down.
It is unlikely that many people would crave to visit a place so cold and, from the outside, devoid of the adventure and excitement that other European cities scream – and yet there’s something charming about visiting this Polish capital. Approach any of the hood-lined Polish faces surrounding you and you’ll more than likely be met with a clumsy grasp of English followed by a dance of hands and spirited animation, with even a vivid language barrier unable to dull the warm and receptive attitude of the locals to new visitors.
Although there may be a lack of people on the streets (especially during the months where
you can feel the saliva freeze in your mouth), locals tend to huddle together in heated bars and cafes, talking heartily and waving their hands in front of a lukewarm beer. Plates of thick sausage with saucers of vodka to wash down the fat will soon be aflow, with lumps of thick salted butter complementing every snack.
Whilst Warsaw isn’t exactly a party central, the warmth of community in such sub-degree
temperatures will leave you with experiences and stories you will want to share – copying the bubbly zest of the locals.
Perhaps more mainstream than other Northerly cities, Rome is hazed with a dreamy romantic vibe that is hard to find in more industrialised places. When people think of Rome they often just think decaying ruins and tourist shops, but gone are the days where its main visitors would be business men and rich older women. A new crowd has started to move into this deeply under-appreciated city, attracted by the time-turning aspects offered.
Down one road you may find the tourist-heavy Colosseum during peak hours, but should
you turn somewhere else or wait until the sun starts to hang you will easily stumble upon many a gem. The wreckage of a long-ago community hold a mystical appeal, dishing out old forums and hand-carved roads, bleached pale from the sun and crumbling to ash at the bottom. The faint remembrance of days long gone still lingers, and lives on in the cafe owners laying down hot expressos and widowed men strumming on acoustics. Rome is the perfect place to get lost, falling in love with the city and with life itself.