Highlights: Poland

Warszawa Warszawa Uprising Museum: An overwhelming amount of information with impeccable and interactive presentation throughout including the listening wall - a wall that is meant to look like it has been littered with bullet holes, each one embedded with a speak playing sounds of the time such as war noises, radio broadcasts and songs. There's also a room where they do live printing press demonstrations of fliers and newspapers from the time. The story of the Uprising, when Warszawa went to war against Germany while Russia and the allies stood by in August and Septemer of 1944, is a huge point of pride for the city and we were lucky to be there right during the first week of the 67th anniversary.

Warszawa University Library Green Roof: An amazing green roof that is extremely well maintained both by a small team as well as naturally. Winding paths snake through the entire thing with 360° views around the city and over the Wisła river, a water runoff system carries it beautifully down the side, and you can see down through the skylights into the library...which you can't actually get to otherwise without a card.

Use-It Map: We found this off of a hot tip from our Couchsurfing host. It's actually a network of maps around Europe created by locals, but we found this one particularly helpful. Downloadable or printable. And free!

Sen Pszczoły: Awesome bar in Praga district hiding down an alley behind a photography gallery, complete with great outdoor barbecue, nice beer selection, weird video projection, and butterflies painted all over the inside.

Critical Mass: For those not familiar, Critical Mass is a bike ride that happens in a lot of cities. Usually once a month, tens, hundreds or, in the case of the one in Warszawa during the Uprising anniversary, thousands, of people turn out and take over a specific route through the city in the effort of raising bicycle awareness. In Warszawa, the organization effort behind the ride, including police escort, was incredible, as well as the feeling surrounding it. At the front of the pack was a truck with loudspeakers telling the story of the Uprising throughout the ride.

Grycan Ice Cream: Think Haagen Dazs but Polish and, depending who you ask, better.

Toan Pho: Warszawa has a large Vietnamese population which means excellent Pho noodle soup.

Białowieza (The strictly protected area of) The Białowieza Forest: We already posted about this, but it was certainly a highlight. Just don't get fooled by the sad "bison reserve" which is little more than a game park. It's worth the trek to see the forest, though.

Ostoja guesthouse: A great little family run guesthouse with more amenities than the hostel in town, at the same price. Their restaurant also featured some more-than-delicious blackberry pierogi with creme fresh.

Storks: We weren't expecting to find these in Białowieza but they were everywhere; huge and beautiful, perched with their nests on the corners of buildings. Apparently, one in every four storks comes from Poland and they serve as a sort of national symbol. In the winters, they migrate to Africa.

Kraków Nowa Huta: A former soviet planned community started in 1949, it's now a place to see the communist building style - grey apartment blocks all built with inner courtyards for safety - laid out in the shape of a star radiating from the central square. It was never completed so there is only the streets on the top half of the star reveal the intentions. Also home to a hole-in-the-wall waffle shop that is just ridiculously good.

Massolit Books: An amazing English language bookshop that snakes through the rooms of a house. The selection is curated perfectly with a little of everything, they buy books back, and there's a built in cafe. The perfect atmosphere for camping out and reading for a bit.

Cafe Culca: A cafe built for children but with a menu catering to the adults that take them there. We went on the recommendation of our Couchsurfing hosts for a smoothie and it was one of the best: cherry, banana, vanilla ice cream, honey and mint.

Alma: Simply put, Alma is one of, if not the best grocery store we've seen on this trip yet. Well organized and well kept.

Wódka Cafe-Bar: A wee vodka bar just a couple blocks off the main square in Kraków. It just wouldn't be a visit to Poland without sampling one of the many flavored vodkas they have. We found the wormwood vodka and the quince vodka to be particularly stellar. The wormwood was disgestive-like and herbal while the quince had just enough sweet and herbal, not too syrupy like some other traditional options.

Herbaciana: An amazing (and completely hidden) tea shop tucked in a back courtyard basement right on one of the main tourist streets. Once again, our Couchsurfing host brought this to light or we would've never found it, or the perfect oolong they had there.

Kazimierz: Nothing specific, this is just a cool area to explore. It's historically the Jewish quarter of Kraków so there is a lot to see connected with that, but there also seem to be a ton of nooks and crannies, many filled with interesting looking cafes, shops, etc. There's also a flea market in the square, as well as the undisputed best place to get the most delicious Zapiekanka:

Location:Černovice, Czech Republic