London Stansted to Warsaw Airport
Poland's capital has been undergoing something of a resurgence in recent years, especially with the country's entry into the European Union. However, the recent rebuilding work is nothing new - Warsaw was almost completely destroyed during the Second World War and nearly two thirds of the city's population were killed. Since then many buildings, especially in the Old Town area, have been meticulously and faithfully restored. It is hard to believe that many of these buildings are modern reproductions and the Old Town has now been listed by UNESCO.
Parts of Warsaw, including Praga, Ul Nowy Swiat and Ul Kozia, have been used as the locations for Roman Polanski's recent Oscar-winning film The Pianist, which tells the story of Wladsylaw Szpilman's life in Warsaw's Second World War ghetto.
Flights between London Stansted and Warsaw Frederic Chopin Airport are operated by Sky Europe. The airport is around 10km (6 miles) from the centre of Warsaw. The number 175 bus from the airport to Warsaw city centre runs regularly on weekdays between 4.58am and 10.40pm and from 5.01am until 10.35pm at weekends. Journeys take around 30 minutes and a single ticket costs 2.40 PLN ( 1 is approximately equal to ). At night times the 611 bus runs from the airport to the city's main train station. Taxis are available from outside the arrivals hall, although passengers are warned against using unlicensed carriers. Merc Taxi (telephone +48 (22) 677 7777) is a recommended taxi company.
Places on interest in Warsaw include:
- Royal Castle. Situated in the Stowe Miasto (Old Town) area of Warsaw, the castle dates back to the 14th century and has been home to dukes and kings before becoming the presidential palace. In 1939 it was burned down by the Nazis although many of important works were saved. Since then the castle has been reconstructed aided by the contributions of a number of important people including Pope John Paul II. Inside you can visit the magnigicent throne room, royal apartments and parliament chambers.
- Royal Way. This 4km-long thoroughfare stretches from the Royal Castle to the residences at Lazienki and Wilanow. It is named as it leads towards Poland's former capital of Krakow and is lined with monuments, churches and palaces. Along the Nowy Swiat (New World Street) part is a number of chic shops.
- Palm Tree. A recent and rather unusual addition to Warsaw is the synthetic palm tree situated on Jerusalem Avenue. This 15 metre-tall tree, completed in 2002, is a public work of art designed by Joanna Rajkowska.
- Frederic Chopin Museum. This small but interesting museum dedicated to the Polish-born composer contains a variety of Chopin's personal items including original scores and letters, paintings and his last piano. One oddity on display is the bronze mould of Chopin's left hand. The heart of Chopin rests in Warsaw's Holy Cross Church.
- Warsaw Uprising Museum. This recently opened museum commemorates those involved in the Warsaw uprising of 1944 when a brave group of Polish resistance fighters were slaughtered by the Nazis.