Saturday, 20 March 2010

Summerhouses near Okęcie

Between the airport end of ul Żwirki i Wigury and ul. Wirażowa lie działki - a hard-to-translate Polish concept; something like an allotment garden with a summerhouse on it - similar to the Russian dacha. Urban Poles living in flats like to have a plot where they can put up a small house and grow fruit and vegetables. Działki vary from a wooden shack on a hundred square metres right through to veritable palaces on large, wooded plots that are hard to distinguish from normal houses.

Large or small, działki are not inhabited the year round, typically during weekends and holidays from late spring through to early autumn. The idea is to get away from the noise and fumes of the city and relax.

Now out here next to the airport, there's no getting away from from noise or fumes. Plus the rumble of the trains. And the construction of the S79, running north-south past these działki will mean additional traffic noise of traffic between the city centre and what will be the Berlin-Moscow motorway.


Before the S79's built, here are some snaps to get the atmosphere of this unique scene - where the railway link between the main line and airport, used to transport aviation fuel, cuts right through the działki. It's unusual to have a front door opening up onto railway tracks!

Turn off Żwirki i Wigury where the railway line swings across the road, and you find yourself walking alongside the tracks, on either side of you small summer houses surrounded by small plots.

With ul. Wirażowa closed for the duration of the roadworks, the owners of these plots can only reach them this way.

These are działki at first sight seem pretty much abandoned by their owners, one would expect them to be elderly and no longer energetic enough to maintain them. And this time of year, waiting from the big spring clean up, these establishments are not looking their best.

Above: brick-built działka, looking more permanent than the rest. Evidently, the owner was better connected than the rest, for whom building materials were limited to whatever planks they could get their hands on.

A view of the line from the Wirażowa end, earlier this winter, here. Below: Taken five days later, a PKN Orlen TEM2 (153) hauls an empty rake of oil cisterns back to the main line by W-wa Okęcie station. It would be glorious to capture the same train from the footpath between the działki, as in the top photo.

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