Warsaw, Poland: Vodka and Chopin – Rick Steves’ Europe Travel Guide – Travel Bite

Warsaw, Poland: Vodka and Chopin – Rick Steves’ Europe Travel Guide – Travel Bite


The Old Town’s
many restaurants provide a good introduction
to Polish cuisine, and central to that
is vodka. Vodka, after it’s chilled
properly, pours thickly
into the glass. We’re having some
traditional polish dishes that go well with vodka: Herring, cold cuts, Polish
pickles and steak tartare. So vodka has long been
part of Polish culture? Yes, it’s a traditional
Polish drink. And actually it makes
a lot of sense. In the old days, when the winters were
long and very cold, we needed it. It was our warm-up. It was essential to
survive this harsh climate. [ Chuckling ] Do you know how
to drink vodka? Show me. Okay. First of all,
na zdrowie. Na zdrowie. Na zdrowie. And please
don’t sip it. We don’t sip
vodka. It’s bottoms up. Okay? Are you ready? I’m ready. Okay, let’s
do it. Na zdrowie. Na zdrowie. Na zdrowie. Oooo! Strong? Yeah. Now what? We can chase it. Chase it. Oh, my. [ Laughing ] Why don’t you
sip it? I mean, it’s just
like…Wow! What’s the question? So it hurts only once. It hurt only once,
that’s for sure. Warsaw’s huge idyllic
Lazienki Park is sprinkled with neoclassical
buildings, peacocks and young Poles in love. It was built
in the 18th century by Poland’s very last king,
King Poniatowski, who wanted it both for his
own summer residence, his striking palace
on the water, and as a place
for his citizens to relax. A monument to
Frederick Chopin, Poland’s great
romantic composer, graces the park’s
rose garden. Chopin sits under a
wind-blown willow tree. He spent his last years
in Paris, where he wrote most
of his greatest music. But locals cherish the
thought that Chopin’s
inspiration came from memories of wind blowing
through the willow trees of his native
land: Poland. The resilience
of Poland’s culture and the warmth of its people
inspire me. And learning from this
country’s recent past, I’m reminded
we have much to be thankful for and much to be vigilant against. Travel engages me with our world
and helps me feel fully alive. That’s why I like it. Thanks for joining us. I’m Rick Steves. Until next time,
keep on travelin’.

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