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Warsaw in May, Auschwitz, Kantor in Old Town


Reeko
30 Mar 2017  #1
Hi, my wife and I will be traveling to Warsaw the end of May. We will spend 9 days in Warsaw, and we would like to visit Auschwitz. What would be the best way to accomplish this keeping in mind, cost/safety, etc? Also, does anyone know of a Kantor with a good exchange rate near Mariensztat Square in Old Town? I also plan on proposing to my wife a 2nd time while in Poland. Our first proposal was way less than ideal, so I want to do something nice. Any suggestions on a good spot in Warsaw? Thank you very much for any help
Atch 17 | 2,843
30 Mar 2017  #2
You could take her to the Royal park of Łazienki in central Warsaw. There are lots of beautiful spots there including the 'Palace on the Isle' with a lovely waterside location. If you go on a Sunday there are open air Chopin concerts. They have afternoon and evening ones. You can hear the music for some distance around the park so you could propose in an historic Royal location, to the strains of Chopin on a summer's evening, what could be nicer? :))
spiritus 67 | 663
30 Mar 2017  #3
I would advise against trying to travel to Auschwitz from Warsaw and back again in one day. Why not book a hotel in Krakow for two nights and you then have more options for a marriage re-proposal.

Łazienki is beautiful especially in May. Find some restaurants or venues and contact them about your idea. They may help to create a romantic moment for you.
Lyzko 22 | 6,534
30 Mar 2017  #4
I would advise against traveling to Auschwitz aka Oświęcim period unless you intend to devote the bulk of your stay to such a wrenching pilgrimage!

A KZ-site ISN'T just another tourist stop, you know. At least show some respect for the murdered dead, if not for the suffering living.
gregy741 4 | 1,204
30 Mar 2017  #5
dont propose in Auschwitz lol
WhirlwindTobias - | 88
30 Mar 2017  #6
^^^

"Honey look at all these people who died before they could lead fulfilling, wholesome lives together. Let's not have the same experience, will you marry me and spend our lives together?"

As added bonus you will have all the British tourists already with their phones out so you can have the memory uploaded to YouTube:

"Went To Auschwitz And Saw Proposal! (SUPER CUTE) (WATCH TIL THE END)"

Seriously though you can come and see a concentration camp another time, make an engagement holiday purely happy. Ignorant somewhat but weddings aren't exactly the height of reflection and intellectualism.

I can't help but wonder though; why a second proposal? What can happen to a first one that a second proposal is still viable?
Reeko - | 7
30 Mar 2017  #7
Hi thank you for the suggestion, Lazienki Park sounds like a great spot with the music playing, would be perfect!

Regarding auschwitz, we know this is not a tourist stop and is not taken lightly. I have found a company who has us board a 520am express train, arrive 830 krakow. Then tour until 430pm. At 730pm train back to Warsaw arriving 1010pm where they will then take us back to our stay. So it will be one very long day, but it can be done. Regarding staying in krakow, I already paid for all the nights in Warsaw, and do not want to pay again for Krakow. Also, I have so much family to visit while in Warsaw etc.
Reeko - | 7
30 Mar 2017  #8
@WhirlwindTobias
I do not often get to Poland, my last trip was 1995 and before that 1984, while this is her first time in Europe. I am not sure when we will ever make the journey again to Poland, so this is why she wanted to visit the historical site. She has been set on visiting there, so it will be scheduled at the end of our trip. She is huge on history, so it will be difficult to dissuade her from this. I understand that the two activities clash dramatically with one another, but it is what it is unfortunately.

Regarding 1st proposal. When people ask her how we got engaged, she doesn't have a great story. It was bad timing, during a long talk about being together for 8 years with no proposal. I had the ring for almost a year, but all my engagement ideas never panned out, so I did it during that conversation. Long story short, I would just like to make the event more memorable then just during a conversation. We are not getting remarried or having problems, but it has always bothered me that I never properly proposed to my wife. Lazienki with Chopin playing sounds wonderfully beautiful! The other thought I had was the top of the palace of cultural arts overlooking the city but the park seems more ideal.
spiritus 67 | 663
30 Mar 2017  #9
@Reeko
My friend. Do not fall into the trap of thinking you have to answer all questions about your personal life on forums like these. We know all we need to know to help with your question :)

As for the proposal.........it depends on your personality and your knowledge of your partner.

Perhaps try to contact the organisers of the piano recitals at Łazienki and with their permission propose under the statue of Chopin right next to the piano with the pianist then playing a romantic piece from Chopin just for you two ?

I haven't been for a few years but the view from the Palace of Culture is not what many people anticipate-it can be quite dull.

There is a nice restaurant within the grounds of Łazienki park so that could be combined with the Chopin recitals.

Another idea is the "Love heart bridge" karolinapatryk.com/warsaw-romantic-guide-couples/. A little cheesy but what the hell ?
Reeko - | 7
30 Mar 2017  #10
@spiritus

Thank you very much for your help, I really appreciate your suggestions and advice. I am so excited for our time in Poland. I have so many family members I have not seen for 20+ years that I miss so much.

Quick question for you regarding Kantors in Poland. I know they vary greatly from location to location. Is there a website or something else that can list the rates for the day etc depending on location? Thanks again
Lyzko 22 | 6,534
30 Mar 2017  #11
With the gentle suggestion to defer a "visit" to Auschwitz, I can only concur:-)

Any memorial site trip of this nature cannot humanely, nor should it for purposes of conscience, ever be undertaken lightly, people!
I made the tactical error of trying to combine a stop over at Dachau while visiting Munich once and it turned out to be a mistake.

After the visit, I wasn't the same for days, I was distracted and out of sorts, plus, having been lodging with an older German family who might well have been a part of the whole ghastly business didn't make things any easier.

Vsiting Warszawa? Stick with Warszawa; you'll get a lot more out of the whole experience.
Reeko - | 7
30 Mar 2017  #12
Perfect. Thanks guys. Last question is regarding Kantors. Are they essentially close to one another or can they very dramatically? Thanks
Paulina 9 | 1,448
30 Mar 2017  #13
Perhaps try to contact the organisers of the piano recitals at Łazienki and with their permission propose under the statue of Chopin right next to the piano with the pianist then playing a romantic piece from Chopin just for you two ?

Reeko, in case it wouldn't be possible or if you prefer a more private option then maybe you could do it during a gondola cruise? I think those cruises are pretty short but maybe if you payed extra then the guy steering it could take his time (and take only the two of you), for example when swimming near the Palace on the Isle (the Łazienki Palace) and then you could propose to her in the middle of the lake. Those gondoles look a bit kitschy but it could be pretty scenic (and romantic), I think :):

gondola cruise

Either way, in my mind's eye I can already see tears of happiness in your wife's eyes :)))

I am not sure when we will ever make the journey again to Poland

Then, to be honest, if I were you I would probably not listen to people here and visit Auschwitz, especially considering that it's scheduled at the end of your trip and it's important for your wife. What is a "good time" to visit such a place anyway...

Is there a website or something else that can list the rates for the day etc depending on location?

quantor.pl/kantory/warszawa.html
gregy741 4 | 1,204
31 Mar 2017  #14
Either way, in my mind's eye I can already see tears of happiness in your wife's eyes :)))

sure and then reality comes:
70% chance,she will divorce him within first 4 years of marriage.take your kids, home ,and possessions. and he will have to pay for this for another 20 years.just saying. :))))))))
Reeko - | 7
31 Mar 2017  #15
@Paulina
Thank you very much for all of your help.

If I can also ask, what is the best way to use my cell phone from the US which is unlocked, while in Poland. ATT wants to charge me 10 dollars a day for Day Pass. I am hoping to be able to make calls, text and use the internet. I have seen some Polish Sim Cards that have 10GB data for 25-30zl but I do not know how I would be able to call/text family members where we are etc.
Atch 17 | 2,843
31 Mar 2017  #16
Perhaps try to contact the organisers of the piano recitals at Łazienki and with their permission propose under the statue of Chopin right next to the piano with the pianist then playing a romantic piece from Chopin just for you two ?

I'm not sure about that for two reasons Spiritus. Firstly these recitals are culture not cabaret and the pianists are all dedicated classical musicians who might be just a wee bit offended by such a suggestion. Also the statue of Chopin is in a very prominent position and would be surrounded by a sea of curious onlookers. Personally as a woman, I would feel uncomfortable in that situation. There are lots of lovely leafy, secluded spots nearby and some benches where you can sit. Paulina's suggestion is lovely but again you'd need the boat to yourself, I wouldn't want a couple of strangers practically sitting on my lap!

@Reeko, have you thought about a ring to mark the occasion? There are lots of beautiful jewellery shops in Warsaw and a good range of prices, you don't have to pay a fortune. You could perhaps go the Stare Miasto next day and get an amber ring as it's a traditional souvenir to bring from Poland and they have some fabulous designs. If you're religious you could keep the Chopin theme going and go the church where his heart is kept, the Baylika Świętego Krzyźa, and light some candles in thanks for the happy years you've shared and the hope of many more to come :))

I wouldn't go for the Pałac Kultury as it would be full of tourists and quite possibly gangs of kids on school trips.
WhirlwindTobias - | 88
31 Mar 2017  #17
Thank you for elaborating on the proposal situation. For the record when an English person says "I can't help but wonder", it's usually rhetorical.

I see that it's quite simple; she is a romantic type and wants a memorable engagement as opposed to a "logical" one.

At least you are still keeping it a personal affair - no doubt you have seen engagements that are far too impersonal (Americans are notorious for making engagements super public). The idea of by the Chopin statue, being a tourist spot is still a tad much for me however (not proposed by you, I know) so perhaps go with something like Paulina's option

I have had many female friends of the intellectual or humble variety, and all of them abhorred the idea of being the center of attention during a proposal. You know your wife better than though.

I take back what I said about the CCamp, if it's her who is emotionally invested in such a place then by all means do it. I think most people here had a different impression.
Reeko - | 7
31 Mar 2017  #18
@Atch
I was thinking of buying a Pandora ring. I do not think I would be able to get away alone long enough to buy a ring. Unless you know of an online Polish store etc. Thanks. We are more private people, so I will probably do it in a semi secluded area while on a walk etc. Thanks again!
WhirlwindTobias - | 88
31 Mar 2017  #19
Reeko, I implore you not to buy from Pandora. The products are extremely overpriced and their entire business model is based on establishing a trend. Not to mention that you pay for a tiny piece and have to keep adding to it in order to make it "more whole"

Essentially women want Pandora because other women have Pandora, and when you have it you want to have more. I refuse to advocate such a concept.

Support a more independent company that invests in quality, not marketing or selling their product in pieces :)
Reeko - | 7
31 Mar 2017  #20
@WhirlwindTobias
Open to suggestions. If you link me some attractive silver /amber Polish rings, I am open to suggestions. I thought of pandora because most the rings are around 60-80 dollars. She isn't a big jewelry person, so it's more of a symbol. She would rather spend money for a bike ride than get jewelry.
WhirlwindTobias - | 88
31 Mar 2017  #21
Unfortunately I am not so well versed on jewellery in general, so I couldn't help you make any informed decisions. In my opinion an Onion ring would be more conducive to the market than a Pandora :D

But on a serious note, you mentioned Amber. I've heard that any amber purchases are a waste outside of Gdansk, due to extreme overpricing or it being not genuine.
DominicB - | 2,672
31 Mar 2017  #22
@WhirlwindTobias

Actually, the whole engagement ring thing is all a scam to take advantage of clueless and gullible suckers at a point in their life when emotions overcrowd reason. It was all invented as a marketing campaign by De Beers.
Atch 17 | 2,843
31 Mar 2017  #23
She would rather spend money for a bike ride than get jewelry.

Well then don't bother with the jewellery. You could take a bike ride along the Wisła quite easily and take lots of photos.

@Dominic, now you're showing your American perspective on the world Dom! Not everything originates in America :)) The giving of a 'bethrothal ring' is a very old custom though it wasn't always a ring, sometimes other jewellery. De Beers didn't invent it, they merely developed and gave new life to an an existing theme, good old R&D.

not genuine.

There are shops in the Stare Miasto in Warsaw that give certificates of authenticity with your purchase, though of course the certs may not be genuine!
WhirlwindTobias - | 88
31 Mar 2017  #24
It was all invented as a marketing campaign by De Beers.

Diamond rings as an essential engagement ring was invented by DeBeers.

Either that, or that you must spend x amount of money on it (4 months salary?).
DominicB - | 2,672
31 Mar 2017  #25
you must spend x amount of money on it (4 months salary?

Of course, you don't have to spend anything at all. It's sickening how people fall for this marketing BS. Four months of salary for a thirty year old is almost two years of retirement at 67. More depending on your pension. Or it's a good chunk of your kids college costs. Even if you stuff it in your mattress, you'll both eventually enjoy it a lot more than if you had bought a silly ring.

And I agree that Pandora is an overpriced scam. My SIL bought some when she came to visit me in Poland, and I was thinking that it is just an expensive version of beanie babies.
Harry
31 Mar 2017  #26
She has been set on visiting there, so it will be scheduled at the end of our trip. She is huge on history, so it will be difficult to dissuade her from this.

Honestly it's not worth the effort. Auschwitz these days is verging on holocaust Disneyland. If you're in Warsaw anyway, I'd strongly recommend a trip to Treblinka, it's not much more than an hour's drive from Warsaw, 90 minutes at the most. Or if you want to travel, Sobibor is by far the most un-developed of the AR camps and about a three-hour drive from Warsaw. Belzec is the most moving of the AR camps, with a small but excellent museum, and about a four-hour drive from Warsaw. If you really want to have a day of history, you could leave Warsaw at 05.30, be at Belzec at 10.00 (with a stop at Izbica on the way) for 90 minutes there, then a two-hour drive to Sobibor, getting there at 13.30, 90 minutes there and then drive to Majdanek to get there at 16.00. Two hours at Majdanek and you'd be back in Warsaw about 20.30.

Regarding staying in krakow, I already paid for all the nights in Warsaw, and do not want to pay again for Krakow.

You can get a perfectly acceptable hotel in Lublin (the Mercure) for 160zl a night including breakfast. So you could do a night there (I'd suggest doing Belzec and Sobibor on one day, then overnight in Lublin, Majdanek the next morning and then back to Warsaw).
DominicB - | 2,672
31 Mar 2017  #27
Honestly it's not worth the effort. Auschwitz these days is verging on holocaust Disneyland.

I agree. I found it cringeworthy, and not in a good way. There are some things that just should not be tourist destinations, and this is number one on the list.

If she is into history, then a daytrip to Malbork would be a lot more enjoyable and informative, and more impressive. There are frequent trains throughout the day.
Ziemowit 12 | 3,474
31 Mar 2017  #28
leave Warsaw at 05.30, be at Belzec at 10.00 (with a stop at Izbica on the way) for 90 minutes there, then a two-hour drive to Sobibor, getting there at 13.30, 90 minutes there and then drive to Majdanek to get there at 16.00. Two hours at Majdanek

Honestly, visiting three concentration camps on one day doesn't make sense at all. It can easily transform itself into an American-style trip 'if it's Tuesday, then we're in Belgium'. Visiting one at a slow pace and and with due reflection is all that can be advised to a tourist, even a history-minded tourist. Anyway, a former concentration camp isn't just 'history', but still a sad reality that some people still experience all over the world.

Last question is regarding Kantors.

All kantors in central Warsaw are good (posibly those beyond as well). There is one (called "777", I think) in the underground passage alongside the Marriott hotel, and also one in the underground passage under the Dmowski round-about which always quote the best foreign-exchange rates.
Harry
31 Mar 2017  #29
Honestly, visiting three concentration camps on one day doesn't make sense at all.

It's certainly not something I'd want to do myself, but I know people do do it. For one thing Belzec is now quite small and so only takes 90 minutes. Sobibor is bigger and there's far more detail to take in (still bits of camp wire in the trees, if you go there in early spring you will see bone fragments, etc) but even then two and a half hours would be close to the maximum, and the museum there was just embarrassing. A good plan might be to hire a car in Warsaw at 09.00, drive to Belzec, then overnight in Zamosc (which is utterly stunning), then Sobibor the next day and back to Warsaw to get the car dropped off in the evening.
WhirlwindTobias - | 88
31 Mar 2017  #30
Honestly it's not worth the effort. Auschwitz these days is verging on holocaust Disneyland.

I went there in Oct '14 with newly acquired Polish friends, so fortunately during a small tourist respite and my company were not tourists. I cannot imagine it in Spring/Summer and with a gaggle of Brits. I was rather ignorant myself, but I am not an "avid photographer" (if you get my drift) and I wanted to be an upstanding example in front of my new friends so I didn't do anything out of line.

Much later, while spending time with my then-GF, one enthusiast of history which we got to talking to recommended one which has a huge dome filled with the ashes of the victims, and that it's extremely quiet in terms of visitation. Both of these concepts sounded more appealing than what Auschwitz and Berkanau were. I trust it is one of these two recently mentioned.


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