Saturday, July 19, 2014
Michal and Joanna took me out to see and know more of Warsaw each day.
Today we went by bus rather than dealing with parking as they had a few locations planned for me. The day was warm and beautiful. A perfect day for a bus and a lot of walking to get to know a city.
I love riding public transit wherever I go, so here’s a photo of a Warsaw bus. At the bottom right you can see the ticket validation machine. There is a great strip map above the window.
Their bus was $1.30 US, per ride. Of course, you can get multi-ride tickets or time-based passes.
Views from Warsaw’s tallest building — the Palace of Culture and Science
Our first stop was the Palace of Culture and Science because its observation deck is a great way to become acquainted with some of the diverse architecture of Warsaw.
It was built by the Russians when they occupied Poland, took three years to build and opened July 1955. The land on which is stands, the official plaque inside says, was an area of homes destroyed in WWII. It’s a huge area and is full of theaters, built for all sorts of functions.
After waiting in line to pay our entry fee, we took the elevator up to the “view terrace” as the official plaque inside calls it. The view terrace is an inside area with windows all around to provide many vantage points.
At one window, Michal showed me the home he grew up in.
At each window, he told me about the view, the area, a building or two. We stayed for quite a while.
Here’s a slideshow of 5 views.
- Official Palace of Culture and Science website — in Polish
- Wikipedia article about the Official Palace of Culture and Science
Next they took me to POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, but it wasn’t open. (The website, which Michal had checked, failed to state this.) Apparently, the entire museum closed to open a new “core” exhibit. Yet, the building was open. Very odd. Anyway, they wouldn’t let me see anything. It was due to open shortly, but not while I was in Poland. Actually, my host and hostess are not Jewish, so it meant a lot to me that they thought of this for me and brought me there.
I did get to see this Holocaust Memorial outside, though.
And I am thrilled they have this museum.
The Old City and New Old City
From the not-open museum, we walked to the old city and after that, into the new old city as Michal called it. The best way to share it with you is with 21 photos.
About Warsaw and other parts of Poland: anyone over about 24 remembers waiting on long lines with a ration card to get just one kind of food, having a chicken to have eggs or trading what they could raise farm or otherwise create with neighbors for goods. Freedom and goods are appreciated here.