Wednesday, October 22, 2008
As I mentioned in a previous post, I went to Warsaw on Monday to speak at a rail infrastructure conference. I took the night train there and back, so I only had about 12-hours in Warsaw, with 9 spent in the conference. I had been to Warsaw before so I knew my way around a little and the conference was held right downtown which helped.
When the conference was finished I walked to the E. Wedel chocolate shop/cafe, which was beautiful. I bought some chocolate to take home and headed towards the 'Royal Mile' making a note to stop here next time to enjoy a hot chocolate or coffee.
By this time it was dark, but the Nowy Swiat was brightly lit and full of people. The street runs south to Warsaw's reconstructed old town. Along the way are numerous churches, government ministry buildings in the great classical palace style, monuments and businesses. The name changes to Krakowsie Prezedmiescie and the sidewalks become wider (it seems to be a transit mall). The University is also located here so there are lots of students and businesses serving students (also a brew pub called Brou Armia (also a place I need to go next time!).
The old town is surrounded by a brick wall with ramparts on one side, it's interesting to walk here and see how the light and shadows play on the walls. The old town itself is lively, with many of the typical tourist shops, restaurants and street performers. The old town was almost completely destroyed in World War II and it's interesting to compare the photo of the destroyed city in the main square to the current version.
The old town remains a living part of the city. I was not able to walk down one of the streets because the church was having a mass and the street in front was full with people. But it was fun to go around the crowd by walking through one of the small alleys - providing a glimpse on how people really live.
I retraced my steps back to the central train station and caught my train back to Vienna. Here are some photos of Warsaw's most, well I am not sure exactly how to describe it, building. I took the photos throughout the day by stepping out of the hotel where the conference was being held.