Friday, February 04, 2011

After the festival

So after our time over in Praga we decided that it would be nice to pop back into the old town to see how the world was progressing on the West Bank. It does sounds a little like we should be fighting in Gaza when we say the West Bank, but it is a way that people often refer to the Warsaw of the left side of the Vistula (Wisła) River. We jumped on a tram that was relatively empty and got off at the bottom of the Royal Castle, where I took the escalator for the first time in my life to the street level of Krakowskie Przedmieście, the Northern extension of Nowy Swiat. From here we saw some lovely clouds bubbling away over head and a nice afternoon sum warming the Palace's Western flank.
I noticed the nice combination back across the Vistula to the new Stadium with the newest bridge spanning in front of it like some modern take on Warsaw.
I think Warsaw is the most Modern of cities. By that I partly am being a smart arse in saying that it is really only for the most part 60 years old, as it had to be rebuilt after WWII and also that because of the Grey Generation, no not my favoured grannies, but the children of socialism/communism are now opening their eyes, hearts and wallets to a new way of life. Where as in other cities it has been generation upon generation that has enjoyed a free flowing movement of goods from their own countries and further abroad only just now are the Poles really getting into a more continental lifestyle.
That includes using your city centre for people and informing the population of their countries past, good, bad and sometimes just bizarre. I loved this huge photo, let's face it I am a sucker for both black and white photos as well as massive moustaches. If my darling wife didn't worry I would certainly love to get one that I can wax up into some fantastic handle bars. Alas, that shan't occur in the near future.

As we strolled down Krakowskie Przedmieście we walked past the disastrous cross in front of the palace with people trying to lay more flowers and candles which were snatched up the second they let them rest on the ground. As we got into Nowy Swiat, I noticed people with glasses of wine. I looked around for a bar manager or security staff chasing them to ask for the glasses back, but instead of seeing this I saw more and more glasses. People quaffing away, swirling, swilling and willing to ask for more. It for me was an amazing thing for many different reasons.

Firstly, Vodka is the national drink, secondly beer is the most popular as can be seen here in this article, but thirdly and most importantly is that it is actually illegal to drink on the streets. So I was pleasantly surprised when we came across a booth and then another then about a total of 10 where they were selling wine by the bottle and the glass as a "World of Wine" display.
So we decided to treat ourselves to some delightful drops. There really isn't a better end to a day of multiculturalism than to sit in some pleasant weather and drink a few glasses of wine. We tried things from Hungary, Australia, the Czech Republic, and Italy. We even ended up buying a couple of bottles as we do tend to enjoy a good tipple.

After finishing our wines we sauntered off to get to the Metro to go home. We passed many other stands with regional foods, cheese, pickles, hams, sausages and numerous other things. All of a sudden I felt like a beer, but I am not sure why.......... anyone else?
Someone told me it was the breast beer in Poland. Hmmm Freudian slip there?
After having our fill we headed home to have some great beans prepared earlier from our regular Saturday morning shop along with some fresh basil and our ham mans ham. I do need to take a photo of him and his smallgoods one day!

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