Sunday, February 27, 2011

And the Stroll Home.

After a lovely day of drifting about in fantastic winter sun, then guzzling down coffee and cake, all in the Near Vistula area of Warsaw, it was time to head to the Metro and home. The problem for Marty, no matter how cold, hungry, thirsty, bursting for the bathroom or bored she is, photography still manages to distract me. Especially when the sun is getting low and soft making great long shadows and dragging my eye from one scene to another. I do honestly wonder why she comes out on walks with me sometimes. I know that when on holidays, I am always worried about losing her, as I do put my head down and chase photos regularly or goof around trying to get the image right or just wondering about something I see.

So I got distracted here by the sharp like and sharper shadows.
I love when light plays tricks on your mind. Like here making you think that the light is on while it is just the sunlight.
To make the boss happy, I made her look movie starlike, and she decided to ignore me as any good movie star would.
Then we get to a favourite corner to people watch, Ulice Swietokrzyska and Nowy Swiat. Nice burst of sunlight and some long loping giantesque shadows.
Then when I totter over to the Western side you get to see some nice architecture and I can hide in the dark shadows.
So I can take photos of girls in Grannylike jackets smoking at crossings.
Then I decide to run further up the street and hide in more shadows while people squint into the sunshine and I snap away freely.
Then we see a couple of old friends, Mr Palace and Miss National Bank.
The latter home to the classical Wonky Windows photo from a few years ago. I thought I would have another try.
Then, in a science fiction styled twist, we are attacked by the eye of the Intercontinental, run my children, head for the underground.
Of course on the way to the Metro, I needed to stop at the lights, so why not take a photo of Polish winter fashions.....
Or Just grannies with really strange hats and looking like they are holding hands? Either way, we must run to the Metro to escape! Run!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Tarabuk Cafe, Powisle

Cafe Tarabuk is just near the beautiful Warsaw University Library, a place I am yet to photograph properly, and only a few hundred metres from the Vistula. It is a really cosy little cafe. A great place to relax and read some books. We chose to sit in the window seats, which actually means sitting in the window.
It is really cool, like being a display model for the shop. That, and the fact the sun was streaming in and kept us cosy and warm there, whereas outside, if you weren't facing the sun you could turn into some form of iceperson.
I decided it would be nice to have an apple slice. Yum. The coffee was decent but a little too short on my double espresso and seemed more like an espresso. The girl was a little confused and easily distracted but very nice none the less.
They have some very cool lighting in there. For all I know, they could be stock standard IKEA wear/fare but I thought the attachment of little wildflowers to the lamp shades was very sweet.
Although, I have to admit, at first I thought they were spiders on them.
This lamp looks like a bamboo rice steamer with flowers inside it. Which, when you think about it, is still a nice idea. Although, if it is a rice steamer with flowers in it, then it is a really cool idea!
The crowd is mixed, you get glamour students there. I think this one was doing charity work as she was talking to a redhead.
The sun continued to make great freaky shadows from the plants
And the bright light brought out highlights to confuse the eye. So what is this then smartypants blog readers?
Low bright sunshine is great to take photos in.
It creates some really nice highlighting effects and allows me to be artistic(ish).
So that is Tarabuk cafe. We even bought a book there about walks around Warsaw not the normal Do it in Warsaw book, but one called "Book of Walks: Landmarks of the People's Poland in Warsaw" by Jerzy S. Majewski click on it and you can buy a copy it is dual language in Polish and English and at 34.99 PLN it is a steal! Fantastically interesting.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

From Foksal to Chopin

After strolling about in carparks and looking at huge murals, Marty felt she must see a little of civilisation and headed into something quite the opposite, H&M. So while she was ohhhing and ahhhing over things she would never actually buy, because H&M quality is just poor at best and dreadful at worst, we decided to continue on down Foksal proper.
Before we left the store, I thought I might as well make the most of if and snap up something, instead of using this idiom to purchase I snapped with my camera instead. This is actually looking out onto Foksal albeit with a big blue head in the way.
So we continued to stroll down Foksal and found the front side of Foksal 15 that we had been staring at in awe from behind. I quite happily took a picture of the door as I have a massive obsession with handles, knobs and hinges. Kind of scary don't you think?
I also managed to take a photo of some rather quirky graffiti of cogs over and around the ventilation holes of the building. Gone are the days that ventilation could be an attractive addition to the building. Now modern buildings just put in horrible grates to release hot wet air and gain a decent flow through the complex. Rather boring, if you ask me. That said, in my disgust of the future progression of buildings and contrutction concepts and materials, I forgot to actually take a photo of the front of the building. So instead see the article here for a pic, and if your Polish is better than mine, you can read all about the property. Also, the marvelous Janus Jedrosz has numerous photos of Foksal features, please have a look here. Inside the building they found beautiful fresco paintings and also very ornate fixtures so, thank you Hania and the Town Hall, it won't be knocked down to make another high rise apartment. Instead, it will be renovated and improved to look like......
This. This is the exact other side of the street and shows roughly what will happen to the dwellings at 13 and 15. I love it when something like this happens. People who haven't been to Warsaw, or don't know the history of it, won't realise that a building like Foksal 15 from the 1895 is hard to find. So this is a great move by the city.
Or we end up with more of these, some extravagant boxes which are also on Foksal. Oh also a brief side note for Londonophiles or car heads, Foksal is actually Vauxhall but they didn't really have a great way to spell it in Polish so this is how it ended up.
Anywho, enough of the griping and the complaining and the slapping of the backs of those politicians and off to the park at the end of Szczygla. It was a park that I have been to a few times before, some of my earlier visitors may remember going through it on the way to see the Warsaw University Library.
One of the cool things in this park and also other locations as seen below is that they have little Chopin benches. These are benches that actually play Chopin when you push a button and you can download the song to your mobile phone as a ring tone too. That is pretty darned cool in my eyes.
There are 15 benches in total around Warsaw and each plays a different Chopin tune. Great idea, no? Each bench is placed somewhere that relates to Chopins life. This one is right next to the new Chopin Museum. For a list of benches and songs click here.
Just next to the museum is large mural depicting different important images of things related to the life story of Freddie Chopin.
So then we look to the other side of the road and a blank advertising hoarding, makes you realise how different a blank canvas really is.....

So now enough Chopin and changing, oh great pun Garth, and off to Tarabuk Cafe for a coffee.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Sunnyday - The Day of Rest and Restitution

So, it was a really lovely sunny Sunday. It was glaringly bright sunshine but the temperature was still below 0C in the shade. But there was a plan to go and see the new Polish Design display at the National Museum and so we got up early, showered, fed ourselves, rugged up and hit the road. We strolled from the Metro up to the Museum to, when we entered, be shocked and proud at the same time. The foyer was crammed full of eager people. Probably around 300 Warsawians crammed in to see the things their grandparents still have in the basements and lockups. I was really proud, even though I am not Polish, nor from Warsaw officially, I am always amazed at how the population can be excited by cultural things. This was a classic example.

This all said, we were done. We didn't want to share the tour with so many people. So we decided to head off and run around the area East of Nowy Swiat called Powiśle. This literally translates as near the Vistula. It was originally the poorest people of Warsaw in the past 3 centuries until WWII, when it was destroyed in the uprising, as it was an area of high volume and heavy fighting.

We decided to work our way in from corner of Nowy Swiat and Aleje Jerozolimskie.
Just off Nowy Swiat we found this really nice little courtyard which I never knew you could get into, but Marty found a gate and off we went.
I do just love the simplicity
Travel broadens the mind but a fairytale does it better. Quite apt, Pan Ambrozy.
On that note Marty found someone fairytale like to play with.
So adorable these things.
And so darned big. I think more public spaces should be muralised. I do love the simplicity of some parts of life, yes. However, things like this that celebrate talent and skill. They inspire and are just as important for the happiness of architecture. Do it, Warsaw!
We strolled into a car park because we wanted to look at some of the buildings in the area. Sometimes carparks can actually be interesting.
My father loves bricks as an inside to a house. I hate them. But I do love them outside after they age a little and start to give some nice soft colours.
Back to my simple shadows.
The odd light reflections are things that will always attract me.
There was a little man in this security hut watching tv nice and loud and I just thought this glimpse on his hidden life was too tempting not to snap. So all of these pics and we haven't even got to coffee yet! bbbbbrrrrrrrrrr cold old Warsaw... Next stop coffee time.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Filtry Finale

Ok so we are reaching the finale of the Filtry! Yay! I hear you think! OK I think that is clearly enough exclamation marks for today. So lets continue here, to be honest the filtry finale will be mostly about pictures as I found the end of the tour to be pretty much breathtaking.

So lets take that chain and lock off and away we go.
When people are craning their necks you know it is either going to be something funny, scary or just amazing..... which will it be?
Well it is the later.
This is THE filtry part of Filtry.
I have to admit to have gone a little silly with photos of it.



So there you have it that is what is underground in Warsaw. Please to all Warsawians or people who are visiting in Summer, get there on the weekend and see this it is really amazing and interesting. Also please stop drinking bottled water, the tap is there for free and you don't make waste!
So after a fabulous and sweltering day underground we have to let the sun set and move on. Next we hope to be back to the future so to speak and to be in Warsaw 2011!

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