Europe,  Poland

Love travel and live music? Why not combine the two?

Late last year one of my friends text me to ask if I wanted to see Jessie Ware on her 2018 World Tour ‘Glasshouse’, and as I’ve been a fan of her music for a long time (and I have a massive girl crush on her) I jumped at the chance.

Unfortunately though by the time we’d got ourselves sorted, tickets for all of her UK shows had sold out. “Well”, we thought, “why don’t we just make a trip of it?”. And so we found ourselves looking at the host of European cities she was playing and scouring websites for good deals. Eventually we plumped for Warsaw as none of us had been to Poland before and we’d heard it was a great city to visit for fairly cheap.

As we only had a very short time in Warsaw, when we arrived we got straight to exploring and quickly realised that it was much prettier than any of us were expecting. The higgledy-piggledy, terracotta-topped town houses were colourful and mismatched giving the side streets character and even a very cold and grey day couldn’t dampen their cheerfulness. I loved the decoration on some of the houses – why don’t you see things like this in the UK?

We only had one full day in Warsaw so we tried to see as many of the sights as we could. If you only have a short time here too I’d recommend the Observation Terrace in the Old Town Market Place for great 360 degree views of the city, even on a grey day we still managed to see a fair distance, you also get fantastic views of the Old Town from above.

This is Warsaw’s Royal Castle, which used to serve as the official residency of Polish monarchs but today is a museum with an extensive art collection. Entry costs you the equivalent of about £4, which I have to say is a bargain, and you can meander through the many rooms which have all been painstakingly restored to how they would have been before WW2.

Before we made our way to the venue for the gig we stopped for a bite to eat at a family run restaurant that specialised in pierogi – Polish dumplings that can be stuffed with pretty much anything! I chose ricotta and spinach with a creamy sauce and they were divine – I am seriously contemplating finding a recipe so I can make them myself, but I know they would never be as good! As it was so cold outside we ordered mulled wine to go with our dumplings, which came in a clever contraption that held a cup as well as housing a candle underneath to keep it warm! Genius!

I loved this restaurant because it felt so homely and you could tell everything they served was homemade. I also loved the decor – they’d stuck fake pierogis on the walls (which looked a lot like climbing holds to my untrained eye)!

The gig was at Torwar, an enormous indoor arena that can hold over 6,300 people. Our very lovely landlady for the trip booked us a taxi as it was a little way out of the centre and we headed inside to find more mulled wine! I was surprised at how big it was as I was expecting a smaller music venue, but the crowds continued to pour in until til pretty much every seat was taken.

I am so, so glad we chose a city break to see Jessie Ware live. I normally prefer to go to gigs at more intimate venues, but in that enormous arena her voice and lyrics took my breath away. The crowd joined in with the more well-known songs and the whole place just soared.

We would never have gone to Poland this year if it wasn’t for this reason and where I was annoyed before at all the tickets selling out for the UK dates, I’m now delighted that they did!

If you love a band or artist I would highly recommend seeing if they are playing any dates oversees and if your budget allows, think about incorporating a city break into it. I’ve noted a few of my favourites regularly play the same European festivals and where I would have just discounted them as an option before, I’m now seriously considering trying to get some friends together next summer!

Laura works for a charity as a communications manager and uses as much of her holiday as possible to travel the world. She loves to go on European city breaks as well as longer trips further afield and is keen to see more of the USA and South East Asia...

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