The real Warsaw is not what I expected.
The taxi driver played classical music as we drove in from the airport. Wandering the streets that evening we discovered Warsaw's cafe culture. We listened to buskers playing violins and walked down wide sidewalks. We ate gourmet dinners featuring new and unusual twists on classic dishes. Saw pastel buildings ranging from the medieval to the baroque in Warsaw's old town. Used a fully modernized public transit system with brand new bullet trains from one city to the next.
Chopin is from Warsaw. So is Marie Curie. Copernicus and Peter Gzowski were Polish.
The spirit of Warsaw impressed me. Although I knew of the Warsaw Uprising, I did not know that 200,000 civilians died. I did not know the Old Town had been pummelled to near oblivion by the Germans afterwards. Himmler said "This city must be obliterated from the face of the earth."
There is so much I didn't know about Warsaw. It's a surprising place-a world class city. It's alive and full of hope. Put it on your bucket list!