Monday, February 25, 2008

My first night in Warsaw | Polish dinner + a walk around Old Town

I finally arrived in Warsaw on Sunday at 7:00 PM after 3 hours of delay in Heathrow. The city was very quite , it almost looked like a ghost town... no cars, no people, no nothing except a straight black cat.

This is my first visit to a former communist country and the architectural scene is quite powerful. A strong reminder of the legacy of communist public housing... homogeneous, squared, grey, and some of the buildings, in daunting decay. Few minutes later, I
experienced the "modern" Warsaw. Shopping malls, highrises, and a faster-growing culture of consumption that visually clashes with the soviet fingerprint.

Although young compared to other cities in Poland, Warsaw has a rich and very symbolic history. It was in this city in 1791 where the first constitution in Europe was signed (second in the world after the US). It was in this city where a powerful social resistance movement paved the way for the Ghetto Jewish uprising in 1943 and for the Warsaw Uprising in 1944. It was in this city where many of the historical buildings destroyed during WWII were rebuilt exactly as they looked before using Canalleto's paintings to replicate the design.

My friend and interpreter Pawel took me for tasty Polish dinner and sigh seeing to Old Town. It is hard to believe than 1945, there were only a couple of buildings and a mountain of rubble standing in this very same location. The place is amazingly beautiful with a combo of Renaissance, Gothic and touches of something else making the scene mesmerizing. Polish dinner was very tasty and very meaty and very lemon vodki... thankfully we walked for a long time after this plentiful meal so I was able to burn some calories and sweat must of the lemon vodka.

We talk about the plans for this week's work... a lot of interesting work ahead

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