3 days in Warsaw: My first shot at a self imposed writing retreat
I haven’t traveled as much this year as I was hoping to, unless you count the short trip home to New York to meet my niece. One of my biggest regrets after finishing this PhD would be not traveling more around Europe while I had the chance. To remedy this, I’ve been planning short, 2 night trips. Last month, I went to Warsaw, Poland, with my laptop and some writing targets!
The Nazis destroyed about 80% of Warsaw in World War II. There are only a few areas that were left relatively untouched (~30% destroyed), some of which I saw on a walking tour of Praga:
I took a short break from writing to go on a walking tour of the #Praga district of #Warsaw. This is a bazaar that was established 400 years ago. Only about 20% of this neighborhood was destroyed in World War II, as opposed to about 80% of the main part of Warsaw across the river. Many of the old tenements remain in disrepair, but some people will live in them. In the 70s, you could buy anything here. Nowadays, only some stalls are open, and few people can be found strolling around.
They rebuilt much of the old town according to paintings to try to recreate how it was before.
Surprise! Vegan places all around!
I didn’t spend that much time exploring, but did get to taste a bit of hipster vegan food culture in Warsaw. This was a welcome surprise. I didn’t think about food in Warsaw, even though I do have some dietary restrictions at the moment. I was floored to find all the delicious and hip options for vegan food.
Why a writing retreat?
Sometimes it’s nice to get away for a few days to get a chunk of work done. By dedicating the entire trip to specific targets or goals, it might be easier to focus and you’d literally be taking yourself away from the usual physical distractions that you might have on a daily basis. It can break up the monotony of a routine, and also impose a more real deadline than just an arbitrary date.
I flew at around 8AM from London. I did a some work on the plane, then after I got into town, checked into my Airbnb and went to a nearby cafe to get some work done. I had a great vegan burger for dinner and headed back to plan the next day and get to bed at my usual bedtime at around 11 PM.
I didn’t expect there to be so many wonderful #vegetarian and #vegan options here in #warsaw. I went to the #krowarzywa #veganburger place for dinner, and got the #tofu #glutenfree burger and a banana plus other fruit smoothie. I could choose two sauces, and got the tomato one and the dill one. Super tasty! The roll was surprisingly good even though it was gluten free, and it was crisp and crunchy on the outside when it first came out! I may have to go back…
I got up at 8 and took a nice 30 minute walk to a cafe across the street from a park and near the University of Warsaw. There were great big windows, so all the natural light could come in! Then I went for a 2 hour walking tour through the Praga district across the river.
Went to a cafe after checking out, got some delicious lunch at the bistro next to it, and went back to Cafe Kafka. It was definitely my favorite cafe on this trip! Then I got the bus back to the airport.
Another great #vegan meal in #warsaw. I had some soup for lunch today. Tomato based with some fried tofu, lots of herbs and spices, and some lime. To wash it down, a thick banana smoothie type drink called no egg nog, which was a sweet complement to the soup. Surprised that I finished both! #lokalveganbistro #warszawa
How’d it work out?
I found that the week leading up to the trip was just as important as the trip itself. I had to get things done by the time I left so that I could do the things I was planning to do while on the retreat. As for work, I did get quite a bit done, arguably just as much as I would have if I didn’t leave London. It was nice to have a different rhythm of going to cafes to work. I was so happy that it was working that I immediately wanted to plan my next retreat!
Next stop, Copenhagen!
Tomorrow, I depart for my second writing retreat this year. I’m going to Copenhagen! Unfortunately much more expensive than Warsaw, but I’m very much looking forward to the world’s best coffee and another great city to explore on foot! This time around, I am hoping to finish up the writing for my second data chapter…
This PhD thing is lonely and difficult, but I think I’m getting over a big hump now. Hopefully I can keep chugging along at a good pace!