Friday, 13 June 2014

Half a mile underground through the heart of Warsaw

Returning to the office after speaking at a conference on ul. Sienna (nothing to do with the Italian town - it's pronounced She-EN-nah) - it started to rain. Hard.

Left: looking up at Rondo ONZ One, with dark clouds threatening a downpour - which began shortly after I took this photo. But no need to worry -  I took advantage of central Warsaw's many underground passages to stay dry by covering most of the distance back to my office under cover.

From just a few paces further south along Al. Jana Pawła II, I dived into the western-most passage that linking W-wa Centralna's four platforms (the only passage not to be renovated ahead of the Euro2012 football championships). This drab and dingy thoroughfare, with low-rent clothing and food booths on either side, takes you to the passages under the roundabout recently named Rondo Czterdziestolatka (lit. 'Forty year-old's Roundabout').

Turn right here for the platform for the WKD light-rail line running out to Grodzisk Maz and Milanówek. While not entirely underground, as the tracks are exposed to the sky, the platform of W-wa Śródmieście (WKD) itself is covered and sheltered from the elements.

But I'm heading towards my office, so I turn left. Past the Scottish Restaurant and up a few steps and I'm in one of the renovated passages running above and in parallel to the platforms of W-wa Centralna, Warsaw's main inter-city railway station. Walking past coffee shops, bookshops and newsagents, I get to the end then turn left then right and down a gently sloping escalator walkway to the eastern end of Platform 1. This is where the east-bound trains, for Białystok and Lublin and exotic destinations like Kiev and Moscow stop.

Get to the end of the platform, down a short flight of steps and turn left into a short passageway connecting W-wa Centralna and W-wa Śródmieście (PKP). Turn right, up some steps (below) and you enter Warsaw's suburban station and its central (island) platform.

Walk right along the full length of this, Platform 2, to the end, up another flight of steps and you will surface here 52°13'47.19"N, 21° 0'34.14"E. Right by the Metro station. Across the Patelnia (lit. 'frying pan') - the concourse outside the Metro - which is in the open air - and back into the next underground passage, under Rondo Dmowskiego. Select the right exit - Marszałkowska south - and I'm just one block away from my office. Brilliant. Half a mile of walking in the dry along railway platforms and underground passages.

This time last year:
Dzienniki Kołymskie reviewed

This time two years ago
Russia-Poland in Warsaw: the worst day of Euro 2012

This time three years ago:
Thirty-one and sixty-three - a short story

This time five years ago:
Warsaw rail circumnavigation

This time six years ago:
Classic Polish vehicles

This time seven years ago:
South Warsaw sunsets

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