Palace of Culture and Science. Warsaw's most controversial building
A notable high-rise building in central Warsaw, Poland. With a total height of 237 metres it is the tallest building in Poland, the 6th-tallest building in the European Union and one of the tallest on the European continent.
Rain, rain, rain! from the moment we arrived and at almost every crutial moment. Although maybe I am being a little harsh as we had some thankful breaks in the clouds.
We couldn't check in until 1pm and arrived at 6am, so sat in a cafe at Centralia until 10am and then risked the weather for the 10.30 am old town walk.
Together with the long walk from Centralia we gave up before it finished and made our way towards the airbnb. Warsaw's Old Town has been completely reconstructed from old photos as it was completely bombed by the Nazis as punishment for the Poles in Warsaw trying to protect the Jews. Everywhere you go in Europe there are reminders of the horrors of World War II.
Weronika and her huge dog Peggy greeted us in a modern, comfortable apartment on the 14 th floor. Once settled in we went for a swim and sauna and then stayed in for the evening avoiding the weather apart from a little walk to do some shopping.
Walking, walking walking... Today we walked about 3km each way to the Palace, after a long lie in. Not so nice walk there passing
Warsaw Old Town Square
The Old Town is a tourism hub, with cobblestone alleys and medieval buildings reconstructed after WWII
old, boring, Soviet style architecture, nicer walk back, passing nice cafes and classier houses than we hadn't passed on the way there. It is what we find between where we are getting to and where we come from that I find are the most interesting in getting to know a place.
Areas of Warsaw are modernising so rapidly that you either pass the communist old housing blocks or the modernised versions with all the big companies erecting their new skyscrapers.
The Airbnb we were staying at was a second one I had booked after the first had been cancelled. Our host has said that her landlord was selling the apartment so she had to leave. It was located right on top the central station area. We went to look at it while we were there and it had also been marked for demolition.
The central grounds of the palace were pretty and well maintained and full of tourists. Parklands elsewhere in Warsaw were otherwise pretty much unkept. Areas where the tourist busses rolled up were kept the most pristine.
You would think with all that walking that I should take a rest. Well! That was far from what
happened! I was re energized. The next day I walked 4.5 km to Praga, across the river and did a 2 hour walking tour before walking back and meeting Tomas at a cafe in the old town.
Praga is rapidly being gentrified but on our walk we came across 3 situations. 1: a street man pushed a member of the group off the path as he walked by 2: a drunk man asking members of the group for money 3: two kids fighting in a park as another group did nothing but watch. The tour guide kept appologizing- "this never happens...."
Our walk home we detoured along the swanky cafe and restaurant strips set up for masses of tourists. We didn't stop, thinking it would be nice to just get home and crash in our lovely apartment.
We spent the evening with Peggy, the dog, and our young hostess who told us she had just recently bought the apartment when she listed it on Airbnb. It was very common for people to do this to profit from the extra space they had or to help pay their rent.
We woke at 6am to moderate weather. By
7am the skies opened and there was thunder and lightening. We covered up and walked to the West bus station and were 1hr early for our bus which got us to Krakow 1.30pm. The station was pretty horrible and I was getting fed up with trying to find a smoke free place outdoors to stand and wait for the bus that was under shelter.
Warsaw hadn't really got me overly excited in comparison to the other beautiful cities we has visited. It was big and complicated and had no real identity that I could make out. Maybe I missed something.
Soon it would be like every other modern high rise city in the world.
I was excited to be going somewhere new.
Click below for more photos. ...
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