Warsaw: Travellers’ Cafe

Posted by in Culture, Travel

NOT WHAT IT SEEMS

Serendipity, now there’s a word. Have you ever been looking for something and stumbled on something else by accident. A few days’ into Warsaw I came across the Travellers’ Cafe. I have to wait til 2pm for it to open which seems odd given the normal hours for a cafe is 7 or 8 in the morning.

But then the Travellers’ Cafe is not your average cafe, no this feels like the Reform club in London where Philieas Fogg meets before setting off on his 80 day world adventure. I could also see Marco Polo here. A row of Tibetan or Nepalese multi-coloured prayer flags crosses the threshold of the front room like an exotic washing line.

Wooden masks (like those you might associate with Voodoo), and old maps of Australia’s Van Diemen’s Land and of the World itself decorate the walls. In the room behind, rows of books and National Geographic magazines sit waiting for intrepid fingers on a dusty bookcase. Just as it should be.

LOVE AN ADVENTURE

The place must take a while to get going because beside myself and the tattooed bar girl (tattoos are really popular in Poland) there are only a couple of other guys who witter away incessantly without paying much attention to their MacBooks; perhaps they are planning their next adventure.

Oh and a guy who looks like a student who hangs around with a backpack much like my own, with a Swiss badge on it, queuing for a tea. Somehow I resisted the pancakes 😉

There is something strange about this place which is both unnerving and oddly amusing. The most noticeable books or maps that catch my eye are London, Finland, Budapest, Cambodia and Nepal. Places I have either been or those which lie on my immediate horizon. This is not the only oddity, the music is also at a 180 degree tilt considering the decor. If you’re an old time hippy you’ll no doubt love the place.

Forget atmospheric offerings from Ryuichi Sakamoto and the like, here the playlist is old school classic rock. I mean Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Stones, The Doors. The only thing missing is Marrakesh Express and as I leave Nick Drake’s Black Eyed Dog comes over which is another weird factor as I am tired and want to go home or at least back to the hotel, what kind of traveller has a home!?

PLAYLIST AND CREDITS

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CAFE PLAYLIST:
Houses of the Holy – Led Zeppelin
Tumbling Dice – The Rolling Stones
The End – The Doors
Here Comes the Sun – The Beatles
Black Eyed Dog – Nick Drake
Day is Done – Nick Drake

Travellers’ Cafe on Wilcza Street, opening times may deviate from those on the door.