Warsaw #3

Today I’m blogging a bit from Warsaw again. At this moment still at the busstation of the Polish capital but our bus is departing as I type. Ecolines is kind enough to offer wifi on the vehicle, which provides me with the oppertunity to write. Yay!

Today we started out fresh and fruity early in the morning with a walk to the University library. The cool thing is that it has a rooftop garden, that you basically walk onto from street level up. It’s not a small one, like we have at home. This is the real deal. The library looked empty, but that had the simple reason that it was closed as a security guard (probably) tried to tell us. From here on, we walked across the bridge to another part of Warsaw called Praga (so no, not actually Prague).

Praga, gritty, grimy but full of soul
Praga, gritty, grimy but full of soul

Praga has an industrial and commercial past, which made it important for Warsaw. However, it was also the part of town where you dropped your dissidents, former criminals, homosexuals (I’m not sure about that, but the gay community resides here mainly according to our guide) and artists. Now, I already mentioned a guide, which has a simple reason. We walked to Praga without a clue where we would end up. As it happens, one of the free guided tours showed up right in front of us, so we followed it. The guide Agatha clearly had a soft spot for the ‘bad side’ of Warsaw. Like most things in Warsaw, there are many projects to improve this part of town. Not only by renovating, it, but also social projects aimed at kids and old timers. There is even a 75 year old DJ Wika, who spins records on the radio now thanks to the DJ courses. Pretty wicked huh? There’s so much you can do if you aren’t looking for the money behind it, it shows again.

2 for the price of 1
2 for the price of 1

Also worth mentioning is the two bears living in a bear pit on the street side there. It’s not very nice for those to live this way, but they’ve been there all their lives. When they pass away the pit will be closed. Not sure what I think about this, I have some passion for the animal rights, but that’s not what this story is about. From Praga we took the tram back to the old center to have some lunch at the Browarmia. A restaurant and brewer in one, where they make some nice beers. We missed the fact that you get two beers for the price of one today, which is also something the staff will not mention to you. You just get two beers slapped on the table in front of you.

Ghetto monument, not easy to find
Ghetto monument, not easy to find

After that we dropped by the book shop, had some coffee and chilled out back at the Fest Hostel for a bit, where we got to say goodbye to owner Marcin (again). My darling girlfriend wrote something nice in the guestbook and I drew a peacock with muscular arms in it. We started for the busstation, but first went looking for the last remnant of the Jewish ghetto in Warsaw. We happened to pass a church dedicated to John Paul the pope on the way. Now, the monument was hidden behind a fence on some parking lot. It was small and humble and to me it felt like it did no justice to the history that has unfoled here. I hope that the Jewish history museum can give a bit more info on that in the future.

It took us forever to find the busstop, so no fancy food this evening. Just Burger King, becasue the cues happened to be the shortest. Allez, Kaunas here we come.

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