Penpalling & Letters

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Corners of Warsaw

Hello from Polska! As you can guess, we are in Europe, in the east of this continent, in a country we already travelled to some months ago. Its coastline, in the north, is bathed by the Baltic Sea and, at the south, the Tatra Mountains are the natural border with some of its neighbouring countries. Have you already guessed where we are located today in this new travel around the world?

Hello Agnieszka and welcome to Penpalling & Letters! What a pleasure to have you here today, in Travelling around the World sharing Cultural Heritage, Folklore and Background section! Would you like to share your penpalling experiences with us?

Hello everybody! As you already know my name is Agnieszka and I come from Warsaw, the capital of Poland, which is situated in the central area of my country and it is the biggest city, too.
I have been penpalling since I was fourteen. I met my first penpals during vacation. My Polish penpal and I have neighbouring summer houses by the lake, where we were spending each vacation and wanted to keep in touch during the year through letters. We are friends till today; she lives in Warsaw so we see each other sometimes and still go for vacation to our place. My first foreign penpals I met during summer language courses in England. I was corresponding with two Italian and one Spanish girls but, unfortunatelly, it did not last long. I had a break from penpalling since the Internet interrupted in it. I had never written to anyone who I haven't met personally until two years ago, when I found the "Interpals" website and met new wonderful penpals there! Even if I am not into "Postcrossing", I love getting postcards from my friends and I always send some, too, whenever I go somewhere or from my homecity, indeed. I guess that like everyone in "our small penpalling world" I like colourful stationery. Sometimes I paint the envelopes myself! I am not sure if I can say I collect stationery or stickers, because it is all to be used and I don't buy anything with the intention to keep it for myself. At the moment I am not looking for new penpals, but you can find me at my Blog:

As you already know, I come from Warsaw, the capital of Poland. Warsaw has over 1,700,000 inhabitants nowadays. Its symbol is the Mermaid. She is in the city's coat of arms: "Warsaw's Coat of Arms" and there are two monuments of the Mermaid in Warsaw, as well.
According to the legend, a Mermaid swimming in the sea stopped on the riverbank near to the Old Town to rest. She found the place so admirable that she decided to stay. Local fishermen living nearby noticed that something was creating waves, tangling nets, and releasing their fish. Although their original intention was to trap the offender, they fell in love with the Mermaid upon hearing her singing. Later, a rich merchant trapped the Mermaid and imprisoned her in a wooden hut. A young fisherman heard the Mermaid's cry and with the help of his mates released her, whereupon she declared her readiness to offer fishermen her help whenever it would be needed. Ever since, the Mermaid, armed with sword and shield, has been ready to help as well as protect the city and its residents.

I could write pages about Warsaw because it is a big city, which means that there are many things to see and it has a rich history, too. Therefore, I decided to choose a couple of most important things to show you this time!

The Old Town is the historic centre of the city, and it is listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites List. It was reconstructed after World War II, when it was totally destroyed. In the Old Town you can expect to see the Royal Castle, with a museum inside. In the middle of the square, in front of the Castle, there is Sigmunt's Column. On the top of it stands the King who moved the capital from Cracow to Warsaw. Walking through a narrow street you arrive to another square where one of the monuments of the Mermaid is. There are many cafes, "pierogarnias" (restaurants which specialize in making "pierogi" – our traditional and delicious meal) and a well-known confectionery. Rumours say it has the best ice-cream in the city. At least there is always a queue in front of it!

Łazienki Park is a 76 hectares park within the borders of Warsaw, with some historical monuments inside. One of them is the Palace on the Island, where the last King of Poland, Stanisław August Poniatowski, an art lover, used to organize Thursday Dinners to which he invited poets, painters and famous erudites. There is also a monument of Chopin, where during summer weekends free concerts take place. Not to make this post dry with facts, let me mention that in the park live, unafraid of humans, squirrels, which, if you give them peanuts, will eat from your hand!

The Palace of Culture and Science is the highest building in Poland (230 m), located in the very centre of Warsaw. It was built in the 50s as a "gift of the Soviet people to the Polish nation" by Stalin's initiative. On the 30th floor there is a terrace from where you can view the panorama of Warsaw. In the Palace there is the Congress Hall, a place where artists from all over the world perform, there is a lovely small cinema where you can watch films from different corners of the world, and also, all kinds of cultural events: fairs, exhibitions, conferences... are organized in this space. Each winter, next to the palace, a skating-ring opens. Regarding the architecture of the building, the opinions are divided, but whether it is positive or negative, the Palace is one of the city symbols, together with the Mermaid and Sigmunt's Column.

Thanks for taking part in Penpalling & Letters, Agnieszka! It was very interesting to read and learn about these places in your homecity, Warsaw! Feel free to participate again whenever you feel like it!

If you are interested in reading more articles featuring characteristics of our homelands don't forget to check: Travelling around the World sharing Cultural Heritage, Folklore and Background.

I am always looking for people who would like to take part into this section of the Blog: Travelling around the World. If you would like to write about your homeland don't hesitate to contact me at: penpallingandletters[at]gmail[dot]com and we will work on it!


  1. Although I'm Polish, I've been to Warsaw once (plus several visits to the airport but that doesn't count as a visit, does it?) I don't like big cities but I'm happy that Agnieszka decided to show a bit of our capital to the world - who knows, maybe somebody will be encouraged enough to visit Poland? :-))))

  2. Perhaps the only reason why I'm familiar with Warsaw is because it is the hometown of Pope John Paul II. Blessed John Paul is very close to the hearts of Filipinos. :)