The cafe on top of the Traffic bookstore in the center of Warsaw is many things to me. It is a classroom (where I meet my Polish tutor), an office (free wi-fi and plenty of space), a meeting place and, most importantly, a place to relax and let time stand still.
Since I check out Traffic for new magazines and the latest books almost once a week, the Traffic Cafe has become almost an extension of my living room. I can sit on one of the big comfortable couches with a large latte, or at a private table to ponder some Polish homework, and find myself struggling from taking my shoes off and putting my feet up. Besides the homey feel, there is also another comfort gained from being on the top floor of a huge building of books: it’s like I’m back at university.
As a regular, I have become very chatty (in Polish, but mostly in English) with the pleasant servers at the cafe. They pleasantly try to force Polish from me since they know I take classes there. I find this to be a welcoming change to all the despondent servers at chain cafes that seem to have a new server every week.
While reading the latest news online I sometimes need a snack to keep my attention at bay. My two recommendations for this are tosty which, although not an epicurean masterpiece, will remind you of something mom would make using a George Foreman-style triangle sandwich maker. The other is the ciepło-ziemno desserts of ice cream and warm berries. If these don’t sound like much, the zł. 3 espresso coffee, zł. 5 teapot of Dilmah, and large assortment of beer might be a better recommendation to pass along. But be warned if, after a large book heist at Traffic, the cafe bathroom is closed you need to get a token from the server to use the bathroom on the ground floor. To me, that’s never a problem, since a stroll past the magazine racks is a favorite thing of mine to do. (KD)