Warsaw

After two days of blue skies in the beautiful old town of Kraków it was quite a shock to travel to an overcast and freezing cold (it was December) Warsaw, which sadly had suffered far more during WW2. It seemed a pretty brutal and unappealing place, but I was only there for a day and I suspect things have changed significantly since I visited in 2006.

The Soviet era Palace of Culture and Science, one of the tallest buildings in Europe, dominates the city. The views from the top showed a pretty grey and nondescript city, though sunshine would have improved things no doubt. The top part of the building reminded me of the end of Ghostbusters, when the gates of hell are about to open, atmospheric in it’s own unique way…

The Old and New Town were totally destroyed during WW2, but were rebuilt after the war. The main attraction is the also rebuilt Warsaw Royal Castle, which I think photography wasn’t allowed inside of unfortunately.

The Warsaw Uprising Monument remembers the heroic if unsuccessful actions of the Polish Resistance in 1944 to liberate themselves from the Germans (now by far the largest group of tourists to Poland).

Another reminder of war is the Unknown Soldiers’ Grave in State Park, though this dates from after WW1. The changing of the guard takes place on the hour, every hour, every day of the year.

More war to finish with, at the Polish Army Museum, the second largest museum in the country. Outside was quite a collection of planes, tanks, guns and helicopters.

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