Day 83, Warsaw, April 1st 2012

Tea 83, Hot Chocolate (another tea deviation!), A cafe whose name I can’t remember, Warsaw

Happy April Fool’s day (belated)!

Today was, very sadly, my last day in Warsaw.  It’s very strange to be leaving, I am still really loving the city and the people here.

We decided to go for a wander around the Praga district, to have a proper look around on the other side of the river.  We managed to get one bus all the way from Wilanow to Praga, so that was pretty good.  The day was very cold again, with loads of snow once more, but very sporadic with beautiful sunshine in between, very British style weather (though that would probably be rain instead of snow which is worse I think).  We got off the bus in central Praga and just began to wonder, the streets and back courts are dotted with murals and Madonna’s, some of which are kept in wonderful condition, whilst others have slightly more bizarre surroundings.

We wandered around a little more, our original intention was to visit the Vodka Distillery, but this is shut at the weekends, though we knew that before we set off.  But we got a good look at it from the outside, before heading into an entrance way where I took one photo that then resulted in a slightly fraught conversation with a security guard about the private property aspect and not being allowed to take photos.  Marta managed to hold her ground pretty well though, then we made our escape.  We wandered around the outskirts of this same area of derelict land, coming around the opposite side we could look through a gate and see what all the fuss was about, but it was all just literally piles of rubble and the remains of one last building.  We took some more photos just to spite them!

We then popped to the shopping centre nearby to answer a call of nature.  I managed to enter a situation where a man appeared to have locked himself in one of the cubicles and was possibly doing more than his fair share of drugs, the cleaners were calling for security to come and sort the situation.

Managing to escape another strange situation we headed out of the shopping centre and then found ourselves wandering around some more old, old streets.  We managed to find an open door to one old tenement which we explored a little, with some beautiful old railings and a butchered bike on the top floor.  Then we found a nice little cafe selling lots of cookery books too, and with some great photographic and fashion magazines.  So we sat with a hot chocolate and read whilst we waited, in vane, for the weather to improve.  Back out into the cold we wandered some more, bought some crisps/chips and then got on a tram back to the old town on the other side of the river.

We got off at the first stop in the old town then made for the University Library building.  On it’s roof is a huge garden, which anyone can freely and easily explore.  It is pretty cool, even at this time of year when not too much is growing, though it is great to be able to see the buds on the trees starting to bulge with leafy life.  We then decided we were getting a bit hungry so we had a look in a few of the university cafeterias to see if anything took our fancy.  There didn’t seem to be too much, so we walked for a while along Dobra and in and out of a few shops, a great bookshop/cafe where I managed to convince Marta to buy a copy of Alain De Botton‘s ‘The Art of Travel‘.  I hope she will enjoy it!   This place didn’t have much savoury food on offer though, so we carried on walking.  We eventually made it to a branch of Rue De Paris cafe.  This one was decorated pretty roughly with lots of colourful lampshades and bare brick walls, a nicer atmosphere compared to many.  We had a Goats cheese tart and a Camembert and Walnut tart between us.  These were good, though were a little disappointing when you are literally just presented with a tart on a plate, no salad or garnish even for visual effect!

We ate and people watched for a while then had a slow and relaxed wander back to the city centre and then home.

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