Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Syrenki in Warsaw

The sixteen footballing syrenki or mermaids - one for each nation participating in the Euro 2012 championships (remember the championships, dear readers? How time flies) have been rounded up and placed in front of the Palace of Culture. For those of you not in the know, the mermaid is the symbol of Warsaw.

Though I'd question the way they've been positioned (two rows of four, behind them two rows of three; Poland and Ukraine out on the flanks in front as the two host countries), it's good to see them all together. During the championships, the 16 mermaids were located all over Warsaw, and I'd only manage to spot two (Spain and Sweden).

Below: another type of Syrenka - the FSM Syrena 105, one of the great indigenous triumphs of the Polish automotive industry of the communist period. This is a particularly lovely example, the whitewall tyres might not be strictly authentic, but they add so much to the period feel.

Below: just look at the styling cues inherent in the bodywork; I can see a Volvo 122, a Hillman Minx, a Morris Oxford, a Fiat 1100; for its time (the first Syrenki rolled off the production lines in 1957) a modern, spacious and capable small car. Had Poland not been under the yoke of Moscow, Syrenki could have been exported to the UK and Western Europe.

Half a million were made, the last ones being produced in 1983 - over a quarter of a century in production. Because of its smoky two-stroke engine, the Syrenka has been taken off the road in large numbers in the early 1990s, there a few survivors, and certainly few as nice as this example.

This time last year:
What's the Polish for 'impostor'?

This time two years ago:
Running with the storm on the road to Mamrotowo

This time four years ago:
St Pancras Station - new gateway to London

This time five years ago:
Mountains or sea? North Wales has them both

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