Monday, November 11, 2013


Acclimatize, un-jet lag, settle down: DONE.

Report to the Oxfam Team: DONE.

Get to know how the tram works: DONE.

Register and get my badge: DONE.

Report to the delegation: DONE.

Google Warsaw: DONE.

Now the walking and the shooting. 

"You can actually walk. It's just around 30 minutes from here to the Old Town. Turn left at the palm tree and follow that road," said the blonde Mona Lisa-smiling hotel receptionist to my question on how to get there via tram.

So I did.

Through the Centrum, the two blocks along Aleje Jerozlimskie, to the palm tree amid Rondo de Gaulle which announced the left turn to Nowy Swiat.

A ribbon-ed and forlorn Copernicus sitting in front of Polish Academy of Sciences was the first to greet me.

Click, click, click.

Then what I came for: churches, and lots of it! 

Nowy Swiat hosts a lot beginning with the massive Smaller Basilica of the Holy Cross [circa late 17th century]...

...the rococo grandeur of the smaller Church of St. Joseph the Visitations [circa 1664]...

...the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and of St. Joseph [circa 1661] wrapped in an unholy renovation package where the famous Frederic Chopin was first employed as a pianist...

...and St. Anne's Church [circa 1788] just before the dramatic entrance to the Old Town [Stare Miasto].

I clicked, walked, clicked more, and walked some more --- through a long queue of shivering people trying to get into the Royal Castle, then to Piwna Street where the imposing facade of the Church of St. Martin [circa 1356] cast an eternal shadow on an Indian restaurant on the opposite side.

A right turn took me to the Old Town Square and Warsaw's monument to its mermaid defender.

A U-turn brought me to the defensive walls and the Barbican which links the Old Town to Nowe Misato (New Town], and to the Church of the Holy Spirit [circa 14th century] and the nearby Church of St. Jack [circa 1600s].

That's when the chill and hunger came.

But a unique saw-toothed church facade jutting out of the Old Town skyline beckoned so I went back through the Barbican, Piwna Street, the Old Town Square and the mermaid,  to Swietojariska Street where the Cathedral Basilica of the Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist [circa 14th century] --- Poland's most important church and the Polish royalty's preferred spiritual hangout --- stand side by side with the smaller but more ornate Shrine of Our Lady of Grace Patron of Warsaw [circa 1600s].

On the way back to the hotel, I battled between Indian and Polish cuisine but finally settled for a vegetarian baguette sandwich.

I'm cold, I don't eat meat, and hot noodles is not served in Warsaw...

No comments: