A couple of weeks ago, I travelled east to the Polish capital of Warsaw. The city centre is a mixture of reconstructed pre-war buildings, socialist grey architecture of tower blocks and the imposing Stalinist style, neon signs and brightly coloured advertising, and post 1989 contemporary architecture of shiny office blocks and the football stadium. The typical Coca Cola/McDonalds signs of capitalism are smacked across building facades, and the city has a number of ‘modern’ coffee chains, which I feel is a lot more evident here than in Germany (especially in Berlin).
Although I bought a Polish phrasebook, the language is not the easiest to pronounce, and so even though I read through the book a lot, I left Poland only being able to speak about four words! This language barrier proved a slight challenge when in a small convenience shop where the customer must tell the shop assisant what they would like. I can’t count to 5 in Polish, and the number 1 has three different genders!!! Pointing at beers and counting with fingers, whilst speaking words in English to a woman who spoke to me in Polish was the way to go. Fortunately, all the younger generations can speak English!
The dividing river of Germany and Poland as seen from the Berlin-Warsaw Express train.
The first thing I wanted to try out when I arrived in Warsaw was a visit to one of the city’s milk bars (in Polish, bar mleczny). So for lunch, I had vegetable pancakes & a red cabbage salad at Bar Bambino for only 2 euros!!
A patchwork of tumbling wilderness and pre- and post- iron wall concrete create this assault course of a city to walk across. Its an adventure in itself to reach the river, which feels like one is on the rugged outskirts of a city, when in fact it is its centre.
Sand dunes at the River Vistula (Wisła)
One of the many neon signs.
The old town
The old town market place (Rynek Starego Miasta)
The Saxon Garden (Ogród Saski) faces Piłsudski Square. Open since 1727, it is the oldest public park in Warsaw and one of the world’s first.
Old & new style builds sit together
The ‘PW’ (standing for Polska Walczaca) that can be seen on the top of this building is the Warsaw resistance symbol of the Warsaw Uprising in WWII.
The view from the observation deck at the top of the Palace of Culture & Science.