WARSAW - 2009

The funeral of a cardinal in Warsaw

Homeward bound? Well yes, in a way, but yet with many miles to go and with lots of bridges to cross.

Well in Warsaw I was delighted to find this man to carry my burdens for me if only for a while and certainly not along the Dolorosa! Because all the way from Poprad in Slovakia to Warsaw in Poland I had been suffering from a spinal tap which meant my poor Carina (who also has a sore back) had to carry both our backpacks in turns up and down stairs, on to coaches and onboard trains.


The "grave of the unknown soldier" reminding us of the tragic loss of lives from all those young men who struggled against the Nazi invasion during the Second world war as well as commemorating the lives of numerous victims from the Soviet era which subsequently followed.

A szopka, meaning a kind of crib, which  is a very popular  Polish  christmas tradition.

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On approaching the Old town one can only be amazed at the authenticity of this reconstructed part of the city which was blown to smithereens during the Nazi invasion, in fact to no less than approximately 90%!

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Probably the most well known landmark of the city while also being the tallest building throughout the whole of Poland, is the Palace of culture and science, built by the Soviets during the communist era. Although it attracts lots of tourists these days, the Poles themselves hold an ambiguous attitude towards it as it inevitably reminds them of those terrifying years of oppression.

On a merry go round we go round and around! Shot taken through an antique shop window in the heart of Warsaw.

"Please come and eat at our fancy res- taurant!" If you prefer a sword instead of a knife that's perfectly all right!"

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However, our favorite entertainer in this market square was an organ grinder and his tame Ara parrot. As you can see with this image, payment is delivered to the plastic teddy attached to the front of the organ, one of many details helping to fortify the fairy tale like  ambience of this entire place.  

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On that last foggy morning in Warsaw when we had packed our bags and eaten our breakfast at the youth hostel where we were staying, we attempted to walk the few miles to the main railway station but got lost somewhere along the way. So with some assistance from vendors and other pedestrians, we finally managed to get the direction right and scrambled on for the train terminal, arriving there at the very last minute.

Here you can see just how content I am while raising a glass to herald the East and West  European train services. Even though leaving those Eastern parts of Europe wasn't exactly a joyous event to Carina and me meaning we would now have to return to the more costly part of Europe while also losing the vibrant old Polish society behind. Both Slovakia and Poland are part of the EU, but in spite of this there is most definitely a different mentality dominating in these countries where people take care of their old culture almost as one would cuddle a baby! Unfortunately, this would not apply so much to Sweden where everything is vastly about modernization, of throwing out the old to bring in the new.

Once we arrived on the outskirts of Bratislava we immediately managed to lose our way when trying to find a trolley leading to the main railway station. And so after some argumentation we decided to take a cab instead. For who knows? Had we not done so, we might still  have been lost in that dark and rainy city!

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Nonetheless, it was such a thrill for us to finally see what the Polish capital was like with its meticulously recon- structed historic buildings and cobbled squares, but also its contemporary city center with the bustling traffic and its armada of yellow trams running up and down the paved streets.

Here are some of the trolleys which constantly rumble and grind their way along the many tracks laid out in this old, resurrected city.

These are typical hand made Polish eggs which can  be found in shops and souvenir stores.

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Same goes for the "New town" which didn't look a day newer than the Old town, this being a bit mind boggling to the both of us!

One of many ultra modern sky scrapers making up for the modern sky line in central Warsaw.

Typical Polish shop selling all kinds of sausages and  meat, savories and condiments.

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Vendors patiently waiting for the customers to come from somewhere around the bend...if only to purchase some bubble gum!

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Here is the Old town square where numerous inexpensive restaurants tempt ones pallet by serving delicious Polish cuisine and beer to wash it down with while fire performers entertain the crowds in the near vicinity.

This is a young couple which I happened to capture on the lens. I hope they don't mind incase they should ever discover themselves on this web site, but they looked so happy and cute that I just couldn't miss the opportunity!

Well on board our train, we enjoyed every second of this six hour transit to Berlin, the `trainoholics´ that we are, but also for the sheer comfort of this ride and for all the exciting conversation we got into with some of our fellow passengers, both Polish and Swe- dish ones as it occurred.

This is a bit tricky for Swedes since "Tysk" means German in our language whereas this label actually features one of the most common Polish brands of beer!

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