CPCC Contributor Alana de Haan, Toronto blogger, and photographer. A collaborative series of photo-essays. Warsaw explored.
After attending a beautiful wedding in Niepołomice, the next morning my partner and I made our way (hastily and with difficulty) to Krakow’s train station to embark toward our final destination: Warsaw. Poland’s capital is an extraordinary city, and for me, was different from Kraków in ways I didn’t quite expect. Warsaw’s wide expansive streets, Soviet-era architecture, and dominant cityscape ended up displaying a stark contrast to Kraków’s ‘old-European’ charm. It was interesting that you could see Warsaw’s intricate past through the varying stages of architecture throughout the city.
We arrived in Warsaw in the early evening, the controversial Palace of Culture and Science a beacon as we disembarked Warszawa Centralna. Although we only had a little over a day in Warsaw, we made the most of our time by spending almost every minute on our feet exploring. I loved the city’s architecture (such as the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews and the Warsaw Intercontinental), Warsaw’s in-situ art installations (the Palm Tree on Aleje Jerozolimskie), the street art in surprising places, and the beautifully designed restaurants – Palmier and Zorza, in particular.
My favourite characteristic of Warsaw, however, was how much green space was so readily accessible as a pedestrian. From the Saxon Gardens to Pole Mokotowskie, I was astonished at the size and beauty of the city’s parks, and how well integrated they are within the city’s urban fabric. We could have spent hours in these parks: people-watching, feeding ducks, and picnicking – an image of successful urban planning in a major city. We may have accomplished a lot during our short time in Warsaw, but I wish we had more time to explore what this wonderful city has to offer – one day is definitely not enough time.
My past trip to these iconic Polish cities was an unforgettable experience. The architecture, the phenomenal art and culture, the astonishing history, and most importantly, the amazing people – all these pieces have created such a vivid point of inspiration that I can already see inspiring my work.
Poland is an incredible country and one I encourage everyone to make a priority to visit. A trip I am already looking forward to making again.