Friday, 9 September 2011

From east to west and back again

The hackneyed phrase "X - a country of contrasts" or "Y - city of contrasts" forever crops up travel programmes or in travel magazines when jaded journalists fail to find a more original term. Having said that, Stara Praga, the heart of the left-bank part of Warsaw, contrasts dramatically with the capital's Old Town and modern central business district across the river.

Above: tenement on ul. Wrzesińska, as stereotypically Stara Praga as you can get. Exposed brickwork, prowizorka everywhere (a useful word!); yet only a kilometre or so away from some of Warsaw's swankiest addresses (Krakowskie Przedmieście is just across the river). So let us wander across... past Katedra Praska (Cathedral of St Florian - built 1897-1904, rebuilt 1952-1972); this view is from Sierakowskiego, across the road from the former communist internal security HQ for the Warsaw Voivodship.

And on to the river, along Al. Solidarności (which in communist days was called ul. Świerczewskiego after an unsavoury general, described 'an incompetent drunk').

Above: from the Śląsko-Dąbrowski bridge, which takes the Trasa W-Z (east-west route) from Praga across to the Old Town, you can see how untamed the Vistula is as it flows through Poland's capital. On the west side, you can see on the skyline, looking like an Easter Island statue or grain warehouse.

Above: tourist Warsaw, the Royal Castle, bathed in September evening sunlight. Tourist numbers are thinning, but a multiplicity of foreign voices is still to be heard in the castle's vicinity. Below: the new National Stadium is almost complete. Photographed from the top of the tunnel carrying Trasa W-Z down the Vistula escarpment, the Stadium is shown with the Świętokrzyski bridge in the foreground; the juxtaposition giving the the building a nautical air. The Stadium's location in Praga should do much to revitalise the run-down part of Warsaw between the river and Dw. Wschodni (the eastern railway station).

This time two years ago:
Late summer scenes, Warsaw

This time three years ago:
Commuting - there must be a better way

This time four years ago:
Roadworks and detours around Mysiadło

3 comments:

toyah said...

@Michael
The picture of the stadium is a real masterpiece. Beacause I was there two weeks ago and saw the whole thing with my own eyes, I think you should try and sell the photo to the PR Centre of Platforma Obywatelska, and make just a ton of money. Perhaps they will even appoint you as the leader of their propaganda staff.

Michael Dembinski said...

@Toyah
I know it's a controversial building, but I like the new national stadium. It has very positive associations for me, having watched it emerge over the past year or so from out of the communist-era rubble of Stadion Dziesięciolecia where, in 1991 I was offered 'an accessory' to go with the Kalashnikov bayonet I was looking at...

toyah said...

@Michael
The case is not the stadium. The case is your very fine picture. As fine as the speech that Tusk made today. I strongly believe that had they chosen your photo to illustrate the show, the effect would have been much better.
My post of tomorrow will be on that.