Trip Start Apr 05, 2007
Trip End Aug 15, 2007

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Flag of Poland  ,
Thursday, April 26, 2007

Warsaw, the capital city of Poland.  Reminds me a bit of Auckland in that it sprawls over quite a distance.  To use your time effectively in the city you really need to use the public transport to get you from one place to another.  Of course in trying to save money i hoofed it an awful lot and now have some lovely blisters to show for it.

Warsaw is very much like an onion.  When I first arrived I felt dwarfed in the sprawl and pace of the big city after being in small towns for a while and I much prefer small towns anyway.  (why am i living in London i hear you ask - good question)  Once you look beyond the surface there is so much to do and see in Warsaw that i feel like i didn't do it much justice beyond the obvious tourist things.

Went into the Old Town, which like most of the city was reconstructed after WW2 as an almost exact replica.  It is very small in comparison to most but full of life.  The tables and chairs were all out in the square with people enjoying the sunshine.  Went to the Warsaw Museum for 6zl (1 pound) which turned out to be a bargain as it kept going and going and going.  It set out the history of the city from C13 aprx and goes into some detail about the struggle and destruction during WW2.  Followed 3 walks set out in the tourist info book.  Pictures/statues of Pope John Paul everywhere - very religious country.

Perhaps the best museum in Poland is the one whose name I can't remember but deals with the struggle for freedom from communism. Entry was a bargain at 4zl (80p) - you could easily spend 2-3 hours here.  Also worth noting is the Palace of Culture and Science - a gift from the Soviets in early 1950s it is hated by mostly the older people for what it represents.  It actually closely resembles the Empire State Building and you can get a lift to the 30th floor for great panoramic views over the city. 

Like every other city/town so far you can see the clusters of concrete blocks of Soviet housing in the distance.  Market on the east side of the river - sell usual market kind of stuff like clothes, shoes, batteries, food, guns ... oh yes, guns.  I had only been there 2 minutes when someone shouted POLICE.  Guys got on their walkie talkies and were shouting wildly.  I have never seen a market practically empty quite so fast!!  Not quite sure what the story was but it seems like they maybe had to have a permit to sell there and these guys that ran didn't?  Or they were selling illegal stuff/rip offs but i didn't get a chance to look!

Also went for a stroll around the Royal Park - very beautiful with Palace on the Water and outdoor theatre among other buildings.  Got told off for sitting on the grass; berloody Europeans.
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