Friday, 17 September 2010

Cycling through the spirit of place

A bright morning, heavy showers in the afternoon, a bright evening. A day ideally suited for a return trip to the office by bike.

There are places along my regular route to work that spark that involuntary moment of anomalous familiarity, when I catch myself in another memory, triggered by the urban landscape I ride through. Left: the stretch of ul. Puławska between Idzikowskiego and the Królikarnia. Those blocks of flats, separated from the road by greenery. Not their architecture in itself, more the alignment.

Incidentally, the 1.8km of cycle path along Puławska between Domaniewska and Dolna is ideal. A shame it's so short.

Above: ul. Belwederska, opposite the Russian Embassy looking down ul. Lądowa. Another beautiful stretch of cycle path - this one much longer (Pl. Trzech Krzyży all the way out to Powsin). But bombing along this particular part of it - down the skarpa is made more satisfying by the configuration of road, trees and buildings.

Further out of the city centre, turn off ul. Sobieskiego and head west towards Ursynów along the Dolina Służewska. The silver birches lining the road and the road itself have triggered that strange yet entirely familiar feeling of 'I've been here before and yet I haven't' for as long I've lived in Warsaw.

Above: Looking north-westward towards a setting sun shining through the trees. Below:turn back towards Ursynów. Rush hour traffic still looking heavy. Cycling along safe cycle paths is the way to go. On a day like today, even after cycling all the way in to the office and a long working day, I still elect to cycle all the way back home. Well, it makes eminent sense...

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