A Mistake Rules the Day in Warsaw: June 17, 2019


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I decided to head over to go to the sprawling Łazienki Park. I had walked there before, and realized that if I walked round trip, I wouldn’t have any energy left to walk about the park. I checked out Google maps and saw that I could take the 17 tram, connecting to the 10 tram, and that it would take four 20 minute tickets to go there and to come home. Then I thought, that if I got on the 17 tram and then walked the rest of the way, I could get a good walk in without it being too long of a walk.

I headed to the tram stop and bought four tickets, just in case I changed my mind and rode the whole way. I knew that I could use the extra tickets in the next weeks before I head back to the US. The Youtube video about using the ticket machine, showed an option to put the screen into english. The one I was at didn’t have that option. Despite that I was able to guess well enough to buy the tickets with my credit card. The four tickets cost 17zt or 4.47 USD.

As soon as I got my tickets from the automatic ticket machine, and crossed traffic back over to the tram stop in the center of the road, I saw the 17 tram just coming to a stop. I jumped on. Validating my ticket, I found a seat and pulled my phone out to follow the tram on maps so that I wouldn’t miss my stop.

One stop after another went by. At first I didn’t realize that my tram was edging away from the path on the map. When I did notice it I wrote it off to the difference between Google maps and my GPS location. I had been having trouble having my position being as much as block away from where the map said I was. I reminded myself to update my offline maps to see if that would fix the problem. (Actually didn’t get around to doing that until this morning, so I have no idea if it worked.)

Suddenly the tram made a definite right hand turn away from the line I needed to get to the park. That was when I noticed that there was a route map on the wall of the tram, with a big number 27 on its corner. Yep, I was on the wrong line. The bright sunlight must have caused the illuminated 27 to look like a 17. I considered getting off and walking all the way to the park. Then I considered why I was going to the park in the first place.

I wasn’t meeting anyone, and I could go to the park on any other day. I checked my ticket and saw that the timestamp indicated that I needed to get off the bus at 41 minutes past the hour. I figured that I would take the tram as far as my ticket would take me, and look around that area. It reminded me of when mother moved to Boston to live with me. She got a monthly transit pass, and when she wasn’t out looking for a job, she rode the MTA around getting of at each stop and learning the city.

When I got off of the 27 tram, I found myself in the Wola district of Warsaw. I had just seen what looked like a park, and a cemetery behind a church. Later at home I noticed that if I had gone further there were more parks, cemeteries, and churches. I walked back to the cemetery which the tram had passed and saw that though St. John Climacus Orthodox Church was undergoing renovations, the cemetery was open to visitors. There is a nice slide show of the building on the church’s website.

I didn’t bother to get a photo of the upper part of the church because it was wrapped in fabric covered scaffolding.
The free standing bell tower

As I was wandering around I had no idea the name of the church or the cemetery. I must have missed the sign if there is one, as I came in. As soon as I was inside I noticed the orthodox crosses. As I walked through the shaded lanes I saw far more Russian names than Polish ones. When I got home and studied the map I found it was Cmentarz Wolski Prawosławny. The cemetery website is very interesting and a wealth of information on the cemetery history.

I broke down and took a photo of the upper part of the church (above). I ended up taking dozens of photo, but have winnowed them down to the most interesting ones (in my opinion.)

I found the above monument to be very interesting and very well carved. I wonder how long ago the protective pavilion was erected over the whole structure.

The lanes in the cemetery were wide and shady. It was nice to be walking here in a place where the tourist don’t go. I suspect that since the Russians are buried here, it isn’t really high on the list for vacationing poles. Most of the people I saw were workers attending to the renovation of the church and maintaining the cemetery.

As I walked through the cemetery I noticed more than a few new and newish graves. I guess they mound the dirt up like this so that there will not be a depression when things settle.

The bell tower above has its bell lowered and resting on wooden planks. The structure below seems to be a chapple. I examined it all around and found no indication that it was a mausoleum.

Near the back of the cemetery, which is said to be about 13 hectares or 32 acres, were some utilitarian areas. (That sounded too be to large to me, until I calculated out that a plot of land 13 hectares would be about four football fields by four.) Above is a yard with various bits of vaults and headstones. They were all new, so I suspect they are for sale.

I thought that this gave marker was in very bad repair, until I ascertained that it had been originally built to look like a greek ruin.

These vaults look as if they are awaiting purchasers.

Above was a really elaborate mausoleum. In the foreground to the left; that is a lantern, not a beer bottle.

On the other side of the cemetery fence was a children’s playground.

Having walked all around the cemetery, I made my way to the park I had seen from the bus window. It was the Park Józefa Sowińskiego. The park was rather stark. Not much there besides the monument to General Józef Sowiński (above) a concert venue (below). General Józef Sowiński was a hero in the November Uprising against Russia in 1830. The concert venue was an interesting tent-like pavilion.

I pulled out my phone and checked maps to see how to get home from there. I considered walking back to the tram line and taking a tram back, but I hadn’t had long enough of a walk. I saw that there were two more parks leading off in the general direction of where I needed to go, so I exited the park, which I was in through the side and crossed the road to the next one. It was the Park Edwarda Szymanskiego. Named for the leftist poet and journalist Edward Szymański, It is a sports and recreational park.

Above, what looks like construction zone barriers is actually a brightly colored fence which was installed to keep people out of the water feature. Its fence-like nature was more apparent when I got closer (below.)

The fence didn’t do much good. Teenagers were just climbing over it to swim. It makes me wonder if some had drowned in the pond, or if they are just trying to protect the environment from too many swimmers. I thought I had taken a photo of the swimmers, but I guess not.

The park paths had special lanes for rollerblading. Rollerblading is very popular here. So not only do you have to dodge bikes and electric scooters on the sidewalk you have to look out for rollerbladers too.

I have seen the constructions above in several Warsaw parks. They are free libraries. The ones I have seen only seem to have a few magazines in them. I guess with ebooks and ezines, this will go the way of the dodo.

On the other side of this park was the Moczydło Park. It was less sports oriented and more of a green-space park, where one would hang out reading, picnicking or taking lots of pretty photos. I learned that the area was once a brickworks. Where the ponds are now was were the clay for the bricks was dug up.

Above, in Moczydło Park, are outdoor wash basins, which are grouped to be near the porta potties, below.

It was hard to believe that so much peace and solitude could be found right in the middle of such a large city.

As I went through one park after another, I found myself further and further from the 27 tram stops. Consulting my map I decided just to keep going and walk all the way home. As I was exiting the last park I saw a high hill where children were running up toward the top. Above; the tiny dots are the children. I considered climbing up myself, but realized that if I did, walking home wouldn’t be possible.

On my way home I saw the building above. Wondering what it was, I stopped and use to Google translate to interpret the sign. It is police headquarters. Behind it was a compound that looked like a small prison. I later found that it was the Headquarters of the Military Police, so the compound could have just been a military compound.

Across the street from the police headquarters, I saw an open gate in the wall. I stepped through and found myself in another cemetery, the Cmentarz Powązkowski I walked through without taking any photos, strangely enough. The detour cut some distance off my walk home. Examining the map later, I saw that I cut across a very small part of the cemetery. It is huge.

Stopping at the package store, near my place, I picked up a treat. I hate to say it, but while I have been here I’ve gone crazy for chips and beer. I don’t normally care for chips.

Categories: Beer, Europe, Nomad's Food, Poland, Travel, WarsawTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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