Vertical Industrial

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Osiedlowy fryzjer

Nie chcąc odstawać od najnowszych trendów i mód w dziedzinie stylizacji włosów postanowiłem w końcu zajrzeć do fryzjera i skrócić swoje przydługie loki. Przyznam, że w tej sprawie zadziałałem pod wpływem impulsu, a konkretnie treściwego, różowego napisu, który zobaczyłem spacerując po Muranowie: „Fryzjer Damski Męski”. Zaledwie trzy słowa, a ile w nich treści!

Od osiedlowy fryzjer

– Czy zdąży mnie Pani jeszcze ostrzyc? – zapytałem po wejściu do gabinetu. Godzina była co prawda młoda (17:45), ale za to zapięta pod szyję kurtka pani Grażynki sugerowała, że jej dzień pracy już się skończył. Po chwili zastanowienia zgodziła się jednak, czując się pewnie w obowiązku do wypełnienia obietnicy wywieszonej na tabliczce drzwi: „Fryzjer otwarty w godzinach 10-18”.

Zostałem posadzony na niskim fotelu, a pani Grażynka przystąpiła do pracy. Było chłodne październikowe popołudnie, ale atmosfera osiedlowego fryzjera pozwalała o tym zapomnieć. Ze ścian spoglądały twarze słonecznie uśmiechniętych modeli, których falujące fryzury przywoływały lata 90-te. Moją kontemplację żelowych fryzur z portretów przerwał płynący z radia głos Maryli Rodowicz, który tak kwitował to spotkanie na Muranowie:

Są dwa światy i nas jest dwoje, do swych miejsc przypiętych jak rzepy,

Rzepy! Cóż za trafna metafora naszej sytuacji Pani Grażynko!

Ty masz pewnie więcej spokoju, ja mam dzieci.

Z  tym pierwszym pudło, ale fakt – dzieci nie mam.

Są dwa światy i jedno słońce, które u nas słabiej coś grzeje,

Piękne słowa! No i zimno się zrobiło ostatnio.

Ty masz pewnie duże pieniądze, ja nadzieję, ja nadzieję.

Całe dwie dychy mam czyli cennikowe „strzyżenie męskie”, ale pewnie jeszcze tu wrócę…

Od osiedlowy fryzjer

Industrial Warsaw

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About my strange passion for changes

If I were to chose one thing that is the most exciting for me, it would be changes.
I know it’s kind if a broad term, but I think it is the only adequate one.

My favorite time of the day is sunset, and the so-called gray hour, when it is not yet night but the daylight is already gone.

My favorite time of the year is the end of one season and the begging of the new one. You never know what it is going to be like outside and sometimes you can be surprised by a beautiful sunny day in the middle of foggy October.

My favorite weather is the one just before a storm, when everything is quiet but on the horizon you can already see the dark clouds and observe the rain that is falling many kilometers from where you are. I like to wait for the storm will catch up with me, get a little wet and only than look for some shelter. Have you ever noticed what birds do during storms and heavy wind? They throw themselves right in the middle, let the wind carry them up and down and in circles, than fight against it, than surrender again. And only when they are utterly exhausted by the struggle will they give up.

This is kind of a time of changes for me in life as well- new job, new studies, new blog 🙂 I wonder how it will all go…

New industrial discovery

I’ve always liked old industrial architecture. It is so simple in its’ functional forms, and I always found the most simple things the most beautiful. I enjoy going to old abandoned factories, because they seem very appealing to me – lonely and lyrical.

This Thursday I went to the city center for some meeting and to my surprise I found myself in a extraordinary industrial area, full of modernist buildings, strange metal constructions, pipes and all that old rusty technical stuff. The walk was especially enchanting, as the weather was just as I like it. Somewhere between seasons, in bright sunlight but with a cold breeze that foreshadowed a storm. The last sun rays casted shadows of autumn trees over the crumbling buildings.

Above a gallery of photos of buildings from the plant, next time I will share some pictures of details.

Tips for guides (and visitors)

This blog was though as a medium of communication between city guides and travelers on the one hand, and guides and citizens of the city on the other. We want to show tourists a local perspective, but also present a new point of view to the locals, so they can become explorers in their own city.

Anyway, I though it’s a good idea to make a list of things we learn while guiding tours in Warsaw. These tips can be useful both for tourists as for locals who want to take a longer walk in their city.

These are my tips for today:

Stuff you have to take

1. Comfortable shoes that will keep your feet dry.

Seems obvious, but many people assume that since they aren’t going hiking they can wear shoes on heels, fancy sandals, or their old pair of sneakers. While wearing these for a trip in the mountains can be dangerous in the city it might be a bit unpleasant. Your best of with some walking shoes with a thick sole – you will be walking a lot!

2. Umbrella

Fall is often called the golden season in Poland, but I prefer to call it the wet season.

3. A map

I try to always carry one of those free maps with me, because the city can be sneaky 😉 Last time I was guiding a tour I forgot it and although I knew the way I was stressed all the time that I can’t check it to be 100% sure.

4. Hot tea!

It’s the best way to become the most popular person in the group. Take a thermos of tea with honey with you, or vodka, if you want to do it “the polish way”. It’s also a good idea to buy hot beverages in paper cups and take them with you instead of staying in warm cafes to dink them.  I know it feels sooo good when the weather is gloomy, but you will be immediately cold when you go outside.

5. Food!

If you have a nice big breakfast in your hostel or at your hosts’ flat you tend to think you will never get hungry again (or is that just me?) But believe me, if you will be walking around the city all they long you will get hungry sooner than you think. In the places popular with tourists bars are expensive and grocery stores may be hard to find. So: take a sandwich, and if you really need a store, ask a student, they always know where to find cheep food:)

What is your advice for travelers exploring cities?

What are your tips for field-trips in the city? 

Dialogue about architecture / Dialog o architekturze

……..In polish below/ Niżej po polsku…..

Me: On the left you can see Piłsudskiego Square, with the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and the new office building designed by a famous architect, sir Norman Foster. How do you like it?

Tourist 1: Well it is absolutely hideous!

Tourist 2: It wouldn’t be that bad… if it were in a different place! Not next to the Grand Theater, for God’s sake.

Tourist 3: I would say it’s quite nice… Though it’s a pity there are only foreign offices, foreign shops inside. Nothing Polish.

Tourist 4: A foreigner built it, so a foreigner owns it.

I think I am among the few inhabitants of the city who actually really like Metropolitan Building. Anyway, I like listening to the opinions of polish tourists who visit the capital, even if they can be quite critical. If they criticize or get angry it means they are involved, they care about Warsaw, and they feel that as their capital it also belongs to them.

In the photograph a part of the Metropolitan and the back facade of the Theater.

Dialog o architekturze

Ja: Po lewej mijamy plac Piłsudskiego z Grobem Nieznanego Zołnierza i nowy budynek Metropolitan, zaprojektowany przez sir Normana Fostera. Jak się Państwu podoba?

Turystka 1: Okropny! Po prostu fatalny!

Turystka 2: Byłby całkiem dobry, ale przecież nie w tym miejscu! Tak zaraz obok Teatru Wielkiego…

Turystka 3: A mnie się on nawet podoba. Szkoda tylko, że same zagraniczne firmy w nim są, zagraniczne sklepy. Nic polskiego

Turysta 4: Cudzoziemiec wybudował, cudzoziemiec ma.

Czasami odnoszę wrażenie, że jestem jedną z nielicznych osób w Warszawie, które lubią budynek Metropolitan. Podoba mi się jego prosta bryła, granitowe żylety i nieoczywiste nawiązanie do architektury Teatru.

Lubię słuchać opinii osób, które przyjeżdżają zobaczyć Warszawę z innych miast, niezależnie od tego, czy są pochlebne czy nie. Nawet wtedy, gdy turyści coś krytykują, na jakiś element się złoszczą, w jakiś sposób mnie o cieszy. To znaczy się się angażują, że czują się z Warszawą związani. To jest ich stolica i mają prawo być dumni z tych budynków, które im się podobają (vide BUW) i krytykować te, które ich zdaniem są nieudane.

What to do on a rainy day – top 5 activities

So today I was guiding a tour of Polish tourists from another town. As we were climbing the stairway to the roof of the University Library to see the gardens it started raining. Fortunately it stopped quiet quickly but it got me thinking: what are the best activities in rainy Warsaw.

I would recommend one of these:

1. Go to a museum There are three new, modern and really spectacular museums in Warsaw: Centrum Kopernik (museum of science where you can experiment yourself, check out their site, it is as modern as the place itself), Chopin Museum (where you can listen to his music in special cabins, smell his favorite smell of violets, learn about the women of his life and visit a splendid palace-castle while you are there) and The Museum of the Warsaw Uprising (postindustrial space with a modern exposition that brings the viewer back in time, you can also see a 3D reconstruction of pre-war Warsaw). Seems like an obvious choice? Well, I guess it is. Whenever a drop of rain falls in Warsaw, a queue starts forming in front of all of these museums.

2. Go to a different museum – how about Dom Spotkań z Historią (History Meeting House located on the Royal Rout, close to the University, where you can see free interactive expositions about the history of the City? There is also a great cafe and a bookstore). If you like at least 3 of these things: castles, old paintings, marble, teapots, Turkish carpets, jewelry, old coins and medals, velvet, waxed wood you will enjoy the Royal Castle. If you like modern art you will definitely like Centrum Sztuki Współczesnej (Center for Contemporary Art) also placed in a formal royal residence with a park and a wonderful view over the garden, or Zachęta (in the city center). They both have good temporary expositions. There is also the Museum of Contemporary Art, which is waiting for a new building close to the Palace of Culture.

3. Don’t go to a museum Hang out in bars. I think the best place to do this are the pavilions on the back of Nowy Swiat. Close to the palm tree, first gate to the right. Smoke a shisha, drink a beer, have some vodka (not at the same time, please! that would be a drink called UBoot), eat some sushi or a falafel, drink a beer and so on and so on… 🙂 Here’s a map

4. Go shopping Most people go to Zlote Tarasy, the shopping center close to the main train station (Warszawa Centralna). I don’t like being indoors all the time, so I would prefer the shops along Marszałkowska street (H&M, C&A, Pull&Bear and so on). You can go from one to another without getting wet thanks to a roof hanging over the street. In Wars&Sawa shopping center there is also a cafe with a great view on the Palace of Culture.

5. Get wet! Go to the pool. I really recommend Warszawianka Wodny Park (Aqua park which is a bit costly but well worth the money. There is an olimplic swimming pool, recreational pool with slides, a false river, a waterfall, Russian banyas a cold chamber with snow and a spa center.

Anyway, I hope there will be only sunny days, and you won’t need this list.

What would you put on your list of best activities for rainy days?

Tresures from the Basket (Street)

Today I will take you for a walk through Koszykowa street.

The streets’ name originates from a farm/village called Koszyki, which literally means baskets. Where any baskets ever manufactured here? The place is full of willows, Chopin’s’ favorite trees. The raw materials were easily available, so why not?

The street, divided into three parts, is situated in the south part of the city center, an area which gives you idea about how Warsaw looked before the nazi pyromaniacs came. But still, the street didn’t remain intact and, next to tenement houses, you will spot some modernist buildings filling the gaps in the frontage. During the stroll you can also imagine how the communists wanted the City to look like, you will also find out how much some developers “care” about the City and, at the end of the walk, you will discover a hidden treasure.

Let’s go! Follow me, the famous little bear, and remember to read my commentaries under the pictures.