Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Muddy feet

It's hard to maintain any semblance of sartorial elegance in a city which at this time of year provides many opportunity for a mudbath. This morning I walked from a bus stop unhelpfully called 'PKP Okęcie" (it should rather be '350m from PKP Okęcie') to the station itself. Across the work-in-progress S79 expressway (the footbridge visible on the Google Earth image taken eleven and half months ago is still not complete), along a path of cracked concrete slabs sinking into the mud and driven over by construction vehicles with muddy tyres. (Footbridge here: 52°10'3.57"N, 20°59'8.54"E).

I board the Warsaw-bound train with shoes caked in mud. Around me, other passengers with equally filthy footwear. Some make an attempt to remove the mud with paper handkerchiefs, a futile exercise. Jak się wysuszy to się wykruszy, a Polish saying that mud should be left to dry off so that it will crumble away naturally, suggests a passive approach to the problem of outwear cleanliness.

The sad thing is that the roadbuilders think that getting rail passengers across their roadworks is PKP's problem, and PKP believe it's the roadbuilders' problem. And look at the footbridge on the map. It does not even reach the station. It crosses the S79 - and that's it. No budget to stretch the thing across to the platforms.

Above: looking south from the path leading from the road to the station. No country for well-dressed men.

This time last year:
Cycling and recycling

This time two years ago:
Winter clings on to the forest

This time three years ago:
Toyota launches the iQ
[Can't say I've seen many on Poland's roads since!]

This time four years ago:
Old school Łódź


Unknown said...

I get no pleasure from looking at your muddied shoes, but love your suggested renaming of the PKP station.

Have you ever seen rubber overshoes in Poland? I know, of course they would be incredibly unstylish not to mention hot. I have childhood memories of seeing them on floor mats and shoe racks in building entrances of offices, schools, etc. Helpful to keep the road salt and mud like thiss off in the worst weather. You could pack a pair if you plan to go mud bogging again soon :)

All the best,


Michael Dembinski said...

@ Kolin

You never know when you'll be confronted by acres of mud. Of course, crossing a building site at this time of year is bound to be messy, but leaving home yesterday morning I didn't count on going this way :)

Anonymous said...

Always carry about your person some stout hessian bags - you can then insert your feet complete with those smart shoes and tie up the ends and then walk with confidence about your business. Remember to remove said bags when you arrive at the office or when you are undertaking important presentation work in front of key business audiences, who will not tolerate the sight of mud-besmirched hessian!

Frater Utilitarius Sunt

Anonymous said...

Michael - I have determined that the way to increase revenue to the government coffers would be to use what I believe is Poland's best export opportunity - Mud. In all of my travels I have determined that Poland is indeed the source of mud worldwide.

If we could find the appropriate export markets we could make a mint!


Sigismundo said...

In 16th/17th-century London, which was almost as muddy as Warsaw today, ladies and gents in their finery wore pattens - that is wooden platform clogs. These fit over normal shoes and kept the pedestrian's elegant footwear several inches above the mud.

I must say, 80% of the year I wouldn't dream of walking over the bye-ways and crooked pavements of Warsaw in anything but stout hiking boots. You can always change into smarts at the office.

Unknown said...

One last thing . . . Michael, don't you have room in your 'tornister' for a pair of gumo filce (sp?)? Or maybe these:

Stylish, and practical. You'd be the envy of all the gals in the office! I can also recommend you a good fishing shop near Rondo Wiatraczna - I know he has hip waders in stock this time of year!

I've made the mistake a few times around here in the spring, running for a bus over what looked like solid terrain. Big mistake!

Have a good weekend.