Tuesday, June 22, 2004
organise train tickets to Warsaw and spend a final couple of hours looking
A three hour train journey gets us from Kraków to Warsaw. Reserving seats,
although an extra hassle, does make sense.
is the capital of Poland. During WW2 the city was deliberately
demolished. The post-war decision to retain Warsaw as Poland's capital
resulted in a large-scale reconstruction.
The main railway station at
Warsaw is another fine Quake level, finding the secret staircase to
escape to the upper floor and the outside world. There's a warren of underground
walk ways teeming with shops - but no obvious way out. Fortunately, as soon as you
discover the upper level, all is obvious.
A helpful chap at the Information office
soon finds us a hotel. (Be prepared to queue. You queue to talk to the helpful
chap, queue again to talk to someone about train times, then again when
you buy the tickets.)
The recommended hotel is a 15 minute walk. Warsaw's a modern city, but with a
prominent communist era
"wedding cake" building, "The Palace of Culture". Not so foreboding - it houses
a multiplex cinema.
The modernity of the main part of the city makes a pleasant change from
the other cities we have visited.
We head off towards the River Vistula - there's not a look for the tourist
We're not so keen on the sewerage flowing into the river - although the seagulls were.
We climb up and head towards the old Warsaw that was rebuilt after the WW2 bombing.
We walk past the remains of the original Corinthian column of the statue
of King Zygmunt Waza. (Don't worry - there's a new one.)
We enjoy a fine meal (£28:26) at the "Cafe Design" on the Krokowskie Przedmieście
(part of the Royal Way) near to the Bristol Hotel and the Tomb of the Unknown
We observe the soldiers guarding the memorial. It's contained in a few arches
of a colonnade from the former Saxon Palace destroyed by the Germans in
We watch the guards from the Tomb marching to and from their barracks.
They wait patiently at the pedestrian crossing for a green light, even
though the traffic is waiting for them.
There's a fine studenty bar outside the
Palace of Culture and Science that now houses a large multiplex
Excellent larger - albeit served in plastic glasses.
All images © N G Hubbard June 2004