Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Strolling through Powiśle

Powiśle translates roughly as 'by the Vistula', I think I have mentioned that before. Last year when there was plenty of sun a beautiful day we strolled about the area, down to one of our favourite bookstores and cafes Tarabuk (we visited it before see it here). We enjoyed the late Autumn sun and the freedom of being able to sit outside for one of the last times in the year.

On Ulica Sowia (Owl street) Old street lights
Cup it

At Tarabuk. A tweet

Fluffy tweet

Yum crumbs

Duncan... ooops Dunking

Strolling by

Where is my Macchiato?!

What a mug


Someone doesn't like their alfalfa

Calling in a complaint

The Park on Browana opposite Tarabuk: green and gold

On Ulica Oboźna: the wire cages behind are to catch falling plaster, bricks or even statues which ever jumps first.
As we strolled home we decided it would be nice to wander down Nowy Swiat and catch the last of the days sunshine.

The ubiquitous Polish Starbucks competitor that is for quality of coffee as well as market dominance

Colonel Sanders at a cafe

He is her sunshine. She his dark shadow

that is some square shoulders.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Ulica Chłodna/Elektoralna

Ulica Chłodna/Elektoralna (yes it changes name halfway down the street) was renovated last year, the road surface and street design all changed along with many small things that one may not notice at first sight. It was the street that originally separated the ghettos big and small so has a fair amount of foot traffic in tourist form. So, we went to see what it looked like.
Old light holder
This is one of my new favourite photos, the markings you see are not parking bay designations, it is the outline of where the houses reached prior to their WWII destruction.
Continuing the grounding, this is how they defined where the house numbers of the houses pre-war were.
Church of Saint Andrzeja Apostoła

The Arcades along the road side corner of Ulica Chłodna/Elektoralna and Ulica Biała
After Church the Grannies come to sun
The building is called the "house of the clock" it has a clock in the facade and originally had an extra story before the war.
The sun was a shining and the street ripe for a stroll
To cut down on through traffic they added a small park

The plane the plane
A great "what is it" photo, but it is of course.......

A little viewing camera with pictures of the street pre-war and when the ghetto was established. I would love Warsaw to have more of these sorts of things.

Just turn the lever and you will see it all.

One of the prettiest things that you wouldn't really notice are these lovely high street lights, delicate and perfectly spaced.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Moving or not?

Recently I was talking to my students about how life is changed by moving countries. I am often, OK, very often, asked "Why would you leave beautiful warm, happy, rich Australia to come here?" For me I have no real home I am more a citizen of earth. I have felt equally happy in Adelaide, Hobart, Darwin, Auckland, Guatemala City, London or here in Warsaw. Which may make people follow up with "Wow, how do you do it? You must be very brave/crazy/strange." Fact is that all I do is start a routine in another country. I like routine, I like things that I can rely on. Here it is getting up early, making a coffee and breakfast, as well as checking my emails. It is the same thing 7 days a week. If I am away visiting my in-laws, I start a mini routine there. I get up bake bread and make coffee for whoever wants it.

People often say that routine is a scourge on modern life, I think the opposite. To me it is like many photos I love to see, routine in repetition or pattern form. So all of these conversations made me think what would make many people move countries? So I asked my students the following:

Imagine you were moving to a new country. What would be the most important factors to take into consideration? Mark the two most and the one least important. (The most important is in the left column and the least important on the right).

Cinemas/theatres/concert halls

Good flats/houses

Good transport systems
Good schools/hospitals/universities

Presence of family/friends

Safe streets

Parks/green areas

Free press and media

Democratic system/equality

Which of these things would most make you want to leave your home city or country?

Poor housing and services



War/unsafe social situation

No job propects for your skills/qualifications
Government persecution

Geographical location

I found it very interesting that in the first survey, of what are the most important factors to move, that you find language is either very important or not at all. It kind of makes me think about my existence now. I have been doing a Polish language course, I do find it tough. As anyone who knows me well will know I love grand concepts and am not good with detail. While my vocabulary has increased with this course my accuracy has probably actually almost gotten worse. It disappoints me as I am a competitive person and I don't like not being able to communicate perfectly. But, not having Polish as a fluent thing in my life would never make me leave Poland and Warsaw. It was also interesting to see that the most important was a democratic system, interesting when the voter turnout in the last Parliamentary elections (last year) was only 48% (reference).
With the reasons making you leave war was number one, but it did cause a lot of debate, many of my male students actually suggested that they would actually want to stay and fight, but would send their families away if there was a war. However, more surprising was that the least important was Geographical location and climate, when the first thing people question my motives for living in Poland is the climate. I do love surveys and getting an idea of how people of my new homeland think. Sometimes, actually, most of the time, I am surprised.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Ghetto Hala

The old ghetto from WWII when Warsaw was famously, or possibly more accurately infamously, divided into areas of Jewish population and others. There were actually two ghettos, the big and the small. The small was for the richer Jews and had a smaller population and so the conditions were somewhat better than that of the larger ghetto which was more crowded. Overall the ghetto covered which really is quite a large area. You notice it now when you walk in the area how large it actually was. In this area it was estimated to hold about 400,000 people. The area still hasn't been totally rebuilt as there are still land claims in some areas. 

Within the boundaries of the ghetto now stands many of my favourite places in Warsaw, one of which is Hala Mirowska and the newly refurbished Ulica Chłodna. Where we will end up today.
Alone and plain

The Granny is coming

Granny in white shoes





Shadow trees
working it in colour

Find the Homeless or possibly just hungover man.
Hala at me

Now non-Polish people tell me what this sign says?!

A dash o' yellow

Hala Hala


Badged, you can't escape Sawa
Next we will cross the road and head to Ulica Chłodna.

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