Saturday, 25 February 2012

Palace of Culture and Science

One of the biggest tourist attractions of Warsaw is the Palace of Culture and Science.

It was built in the 1950s in the socialist realism style.It is a very controversial building. On one hand it became a landmark of the city (though it is not a unique building of this type, in Moscow there are 7 of them). On the other hand, it is a reminder of the dark days when Poland was not fully independent.

The Palace houses theaters, museums, concert halls and offices. It remains one of the tallest buildings in Poland.

Nowadays it is however surrounded by a growing number of sky scrapers.

If you come to visit the Palace, you must start with taking the lift up to the 30th floor. It offers you the unique possibility to see Warsaw in its full beauty.

To see it better you have to look through the grid (but be careful!).

You can see there the Vistula river and its bridges …

… and even spot some more remote districts like Mokotów...

… or the Old Town (the big beige building is the National Theater and Opera House).

Have you noticed the unusual round-shaped structure?

It is the National Football stadium. The red and white stripes represent the Polish flag. The shape is supposed to look like a wicker basket. A strange idea for a football stadium. Anyway, I think the stadium does not look that bad – you can judge by yourself.

You can also have a closer look at the top windows of the sky scrapers that I have shown you from the ground level.

If you would like to check what can be seen right now from the Palace Terrace, click on the link. But the best choice will be to simply come and see it by yourself.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Royal Park of Łazienki (in winter)

Unfortunately, during my last trip to Elbląg I caught a little cold. So this week I decided to stay at home and drink hot tea with raspberry juice. In preparation for future adventures I will tell you about my visit the Royal Park of Łazienki. I was there on the New year's Eve.

The first thing that you will surely notice as you enter is the amazing monument of the famous composer Fryderyk Chopin, sitting under a willow tree.

I love this monument, it is so dynamic.

In 2010, Warsaw celebrated the 200 anniversary of birth of Chopin. One of the initiatives were 14 Chopin's Benches. The benches are located in historical spots associated somehow with Chopin. They are not only nice to look at – when you press the button you can hear an air composed by Chopin. One of the benches is located in Łazienki where you can listen to POLONAISE in A major, Op. 40 No. 1; 39” .

I think it is great, especially in winter time. In summer it is much nicer to come to the monument on a Sunday afternoon when piano recitals are held that are open to the public and free.  For the time being, you may enjoy the music from the benches under this link.

The Łazienki park was designed in the 17th century by Tylman van Gameren, in the baroque style. The park is large enough to house many species of animals and birds, including roes …

… and peacocks.

If you start your visit by the Chopin monument then you have to take a walk down the hill.

The most interesting building there is the Palace on the Water.

It is located on an artificial island surrounded by a lake.

The lake is populated by mane fishes, in particular the royal carps, typical for Poland only. The large variety of fishes attracts obviously lots of birds. At some point I felt like in a Hitchcock movie. 

In front of the palace there is a sundial. Oh God, is it so late? I need to run then. I will surely be back here in Spring – this is when the Park reveals its true beauty.

Saturday, 11 February 2012


It is still freezing in Warsaw. Actually not only in Warsaw. To warm myself up a bit, I decided to visit another friend from Postcrossing, Adam. He took me on a trip around Elbląg. Elbląg is a city in Northern Poland. It was founded by the Teutonic knights in the 13th century.

Elbląg was part of the Hanseatic League so it was primarily a city of merchants. In the old days, you could acess the city through the Market Gate.

It used to be a part of the city walls, now it is a stand alone building.

Next to the Market Gate you can meet a young baker who was a hero of the defence od the city in 1521.

After rubbing the young baker's nose (it is supposed to bring luck and good fortune) I moved on to the Old Town.

The best known building in Elbląg is the St. Nicholas Cathedral.

The cathedral is one of the highest churches in Poland (it has 97 meters) so it is quite difficult to catch it in full on one picture.

Outside the Old Town you can also see some interesting things. Like a rainbow coloured tank.

You can even climb on it!

Unfortunately the snow made it difficult for me to see more of the city. Believe me, when the snow is up to your knees it is not easy to move.

Luckily the major of Elbląg decided to put on the streets braziers. What a great idea! But be careful, they are really hot.

If the braziers do not convince you to go to Elbląg now, you can wait for spring. Or simply have a virtual tour from your couch.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Railroad Museum in Warsaw

The last weeks were freezing in Warsaw – we even had temperatures of -20 centigrade!  I then decided to visit a place that would be indoors. I chose the Museum of Railroad in Warsaw. It has a very interesting collection of models of old trains. Just name a few – a steam locomotive from 1804. 

Express steam locomotive “Lightening”.

Electric wagon EN 80

 There are even armored trains, used by the army.

Suddenly, I have seen somebody who looked a lot like me. I came closer. This was amazing, - my great great great uncle Mike!

I always knew that we horses are the source of all progress!

Inside the museum you can see also some installations with small trains moving on small rails. You can even see the steam.

The museum has also an outdoor exhibition when you can see some real trains. Regardless of the cold, I decided to have a walk there as well.  First I saw the impressive armoured train.

The cannon is huge!

You can see there trains of all shapes and colours. Some are green…

 …  some are black as the night …

 …  while others remind me of sun in the blue sky.

So let’s jump on the stairs and off we go!