So at the weekend we decided to escape the city a little, and ventured south on the bus to the Park Kultury, a bit of forest and fields and holiday ‘huts’. The sun was shining hard as it has been for the last week or two, but the bus was nicely air-conditioned (apparently if the drivers don’t have it switched on they are getting fined). We arrived at it was as though the whole of Warsaw had descended on the place. There were men, women and children everywhere, all fairly scantily clad burning nicely in the midday sun.
We arrived and took a little walk through the park, then to the forest area where there were far less people. However it soon became apparent why people might not be populating the more covered areas, MOSQUITOS! The Polish ones are MASSIVE!!! And they are incessant! You’d think living in Scotland for the past 6 years would of hardened me against midges and all thing Vampiric, but these guys are a whole different class! And, what was worse, the so-called ‘repellant’ we had bought with us (thinking ourselves to be very clever) actually seemed to be ATTRACTING the bloomin’ things! They buzzed around my head like some sort of tiny version of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre! We escaped as quickly as we could, Mosquitos in hot pursuit. We finally made it out the other side and fended off the last few brave enough to head out into the heat of the daylight.
Walking trying hard to resist the urge to scratch the various parts of our bodies, we were treated to some lovely views of long strips of land, all planted up with different crops, from Cabbages and Wheat to a lovely field of Potatoes. We managed to ‘liberate’ a few from the edges of the field to take home and cook, just to see what they were like. Then we headed back to the main part of the park, where the number of bodies to mosquitos lowered our chances of being bitten. We sat in the sunshine for a while, watching people of all shapes and sizes stroll around the park, playing volleyball, chess or cards and drinking over priced beer. We stayed until the temperature lowered enough to bring the Mosquitos back out, and then we headed back to the bus and homewards.
After a day spent indoors avoiding the extreme 35’C heat we headed out in the evening, when the sun was getting low and the temperature a bit more reasonable. Most days all you have to do is walk out of the door and you are soaking in sweat, sorry to be so graphic! This evening, the same one as the Tram evening in the previous post, we headed vaguely North West out of the flat, past the Tram depot and some lovely allotment gardens, then ended up alongside the train track and eventually stumbled upon what must have been allotments in the past. We discovered beautiful pink Sweet Pea flowers growing wild as well as a few old cherry trees that were offering up some lovely ripe fruits, which we gobbled with smiles on our faces. They were juicy and sweet, with just the right amount of sourness in them. We walked a little more, then the Mosquitoes woke up and seemed hungry, so we did an about turn and headed home.
Another roasting hot day was met with gusto as we headed out into the city centre. We had arranged to meet up with two couchsurfers who were visiting Warsaw for a few days and were looking for good, vegan food. I recommended the brilliant Lovin’ Hut on Jana Pawla II, and they kindly invited us to join then for a spot of lunch. The food has never disappointed me there, and it still hasn’t, though I did have to have a second choice because the first was sold out (quick tip, get there early if you want to a chance to sample something from the whole menu). This time I had ‘Teriyaki Island”, and it was very very good as usual, the soy dressing is really well done, and their little rice piles perfect for the size of dish. I would recommend this place to absolutely anyone, no matter what your diet or eating preference, even the strictest carnivore can’t fail to be impressed or satisfied here!
After lunch we went our separate ways and Marta and I headed to the Jewish Graveyard, to see it in the sunlight, and hopefully to cool down. The place was really beautiful in the sunshine and the trees made the light dappled and beautiful, as well as making the temperature bearable. The biggest problem however was the abundance of hungry mosquitos, baying for our blood. But we just about survived, though the next day my legs looked like someone had filled them with pink ping pong balls! (toothpaste and lemon seem to be doing the trick at keeping the itching down a bit though)
We jumped on a tram, intending to head straight home, but stopped off in the city centre and ended up inside the old children’s hospital on Jerozolimskie, ‘Szpital Omega’. This is slowly being turned into artist’s studios and there is access to the building thanks to a tiny boutique that has opened up on the 3rd floor. The whole building is pretty accessible if you don’t mind the piles of rubble lying around and we had a good old snoop throughout the place, which has got some creepy stuff still kicking about. The picture above is of the old oxygen cabinet, and there are some more photos below, which gives you a bit of an idea of how cool it is to explore this place, before it all gets neatened up.
Tired and sleepy we headed back home to enjoy the cool flat and some nice cups of tea. I have, at long last, got myself a bag of normal green Mate, which is very very welcome at all times of the day and a good change from the roasted one that I have been drinking lately. I do wish I had brought my Bombilla from home though, the ones in Warsaw are all rather expensive. That’s exoticism in Poland for you!
A really amazing tombstone, possibly my favorite!