my obsession with people has officially reached its high in warszawa. when traveling with other people, a problem always arises when someone wants to do something else. i say to hell with it. go your own way and see what you want to see.... that's how i ended up walking back and forth around the main square, mainly because i didn't know where else to go (as you may have remembered i only bought the guide to the city right before i left, because that makes perfect sense (!)) but i loved it anyway. i could have sat at the entrance to the metro all day and stared at the people going in and out. the metro station at city centre is really a testament to how alive the city really is. the people pour out like water. if you say that warszawa is in full bloom, szczecin in comparison, is dying *tear*. i went shopping but nothing new here, the usual suspects for me: zara and h&m (with a much better trend section than calgary may i add) and an amazing media store called empik, north american bookstores have nothing on this chain, they carry everything from books to music and movies, games and office supplies, not entirely in the way you assume office supplies to be (they have nici and diddle here, and only those who have experienced the joys of nici and diddle will know what i'm talking about). what drives me crazy, and i do not understand is that many polish girls wear nude coloured tights under everything (shorts, skirts and even long pants)... what's up with THAT?! by the look of my super sophisticated street style photos you will also see they are into scarves... and sunglasses.... people in warszawa seem to read them fashion magazines. lots of history again. the walls of the warsaw ghetto, together with memorials scattered all over the city in memoriam of those who died during the uprising of 1944. we visited the museum of the warsaw uprising, again two days was just not enough for this visit, the museum itself requires one full day's attention. it is AMAZING! for history buffs (like rob) this place is a gold mine, it's fully interactive, you listen to people over telephone receivers, watch movies and even collect daily calendar pages of the entire 63 days of the uprising, all materials are original and fully accessible. we only had a chance to do a run through (literally) but as i don't even like museums this one really deserves a category of its own. if you are in warsaw you HAVE to go. either way, this place has got me hooked.
some photos just turn out better with a hipstamatic. here are some of my favourites from my trip to warszawa. the belvedere by the way is totally disappointing, both in size and design, it definitely looks better in pictures. maybe that's why the president doesn't want to live there. stay tuned for more hipsta prints.
OMG! OMG! OMG! i was shocked! so surprised! why have i never been here before?! warszawa is one of the most amazing places i have ever been. on par with any european capital. full of life, history and culture. i can hardly say that i even as much as licked the surface of what the city has to offer. two days is not nearly long enough to discover warszawa. at the end of our trip i picked up a guide to the city for my next, already in the process of being planned, visit to poland's capital. i am so proud as a polak to be able to say that we have a city like this to show to the rest of the world. there are so many photos i am spreading them over two posts. these photos were all taken in the old part of town, which by the way takes your breath away, it's so beautiful, if i lived here i would spend every spare moment i had walking the cobble sone roads. none of it is original since warsaw was fully destroyed during the war, but it is all rebuilt so beautifully it doesn't even matter. many people say that krakow is the pearl of poland when it comes to history, and it IS amazing, but warszawa has everything, on top of its vast history connected with world war II it also has great shopping and amazing culture, with it's many live theatres and museums. forget london, paris or rome, warszawa is my new favourite place.
i am fully sentimental when it comes to poland so when the time came to go and visit my grandma's grave i knew it was going to be an emotional couple of days. the town, called rawa mazowiecka is an hour and a half away from warsaw. after spending a night on the train, we got off the west train station in THE CAPITAL and took a bus without even sneaking a peak at the upcoming attractions. we walked around the town, which has grown to a fair size over the past years, it is super clean and everyone is so helpful and pleasant it is impossible to not to fall in love with small town poland (it's a world of difference from the big cities where everyone looks at you funny if you dare to even smile). time slows right down in rawa. i can't imagine anything is ever rushed here. everyone also seems to care about what they wear (+), it maybe doesn't go as far as having unique personal style the way we refer to it today (even though you could argue this), everyone always looks put together and well dressed (there are no lazy sweat pant days here, that's for sure). more people than ever use bikes as a means of transportation, and in a small place like rawa everyone is in on it, including the elderly (+), which is both heart warming and actually physically good for them (insert applause for the polish folk). i have a soft spot for older polish people, i think they all look so sweet, they also all coincidentally look like both of my grandma's, falling into either/or category, i would adopt them all if i could. the saddest part is that in poland they have a very hard life (-), the government does not help as much as they should and many older people scramble to live off what they get. it gets so bad you can sometimes spot them searching through garbage for whatever they can find. it's a sad reality here and i hope it doesn't continue for much longer. additionally to a poor standard of living these people often have to deal with the declining manners of the younger generations (in their desperate, and may i add completely uncenessary feat to become westernized?). i have not seen once on my trip so far someone my age offer their seat on the tram (-), something that used to happen without saying, everyone just knew that's what is expected. they seem to have forgotten how to be compassionate towards one another. maybe when everyone is trying to make ends meet, there is little room left for that (?) shame. that said there are also many positive changes, none of which i am able to name right now, but there are many i promise you (refer to my upcoming warsaw post for examples). one un-airconditioned or ventilated sardine can ride later we were back in warsaw and ready to explore...
p.s. respect your elders, you will be in their place soon and karma's a bitch
with the constant see-saw that is the free wireless around here i am posting this overload of photos. they are quickly adding up and we are off to warszawa tomorrow so there will be loads more coming soon. still trying to figure out how to bottle up the sounds and smells of szczecin. xoxo