All those old familiar places

At last everyone is fit, and after accompanying the twinlets to preschool – them tearing along on their bikes with the new addition of a bell (“My bell is vewy vewy loud, Babcia Meg”) – I set off to walk through parkland and reacquaint myself with other bits of now familiar Warsaw. Every step I take is a reminder of past rambles in all seasons except this incipient Spring, and there are ghosts everywhere. The stones of Warsaw may not know me, but they are impregnated with my puny history. I get off the tram at the children’s hospital where Maja spent a week with an infected hand as a tiny baby, and walk above a busy highway where once we ferried bottles of breast milk. The sun is bright. I understand why Maja and Jaś squinched their eyes shut when they finally saw sunlight after four months of winter gloom. Shadows of trees and branches fall on the path and on the walls of old houses. At the busy Plać na Rozdrozu the flowers beds are full of the promise of leaves unfolding from the earth. 


I’m heading for the Botanical Gardens. The plan is to visit them every few weeks and watch the changes. I discover that they don’t open till the end of March, but I walk in anyway, as far as the entrance kiosk, and take photos of dried grasses tied in bundles, the insect hotel, buddings and more promise of leaves.

Along the main road there are police and tents. I struggle with the Polish and take a few photos for translation at home. KOD turns out to be Committee for the defence of democracy which is fighting draconian laws just passed by the new mega-right parliament, reducing democratic rights by interfering with the media and the justice system. I read about this right-turn in an Australian newspaper before I left.

I’m lucky: KOD has an official Facebook page in English, so I can find out more, although the signs defeat me. I manage to translate “We invite you to join in action 200 eggs without the declared judgement” is not very enlightening.

At least I can read background information here and here.


I turn through the gates into Łazienki gardens and hear Chopin music coming from one of the musical benches that mark significant sites in his Warsaw life. The Chopin monument towers against bare trees and I remember summer concerts of his music when the roses were in fading bloom. Today the benches around the pool in front of the monument contain a scattering of worshippers sprawled with their heads thrown back and their faces drawing in the glorious sun. I suspect the sun is a greater attraction than Chopin.


I move beyond the statue of Chopin under a willow tree, down into Łazienki parklands, passing the Orangery and the White House and bypassing the palace on the lake and the Chinese garden. Squirrels and mandarin ducks are eating out of hands on the pathways.



I emerge from the park on a busy road and head back up to the apartment, past the hill we bum-slid down last visit and up the stairs beside the clay pit that swallowed the pram. 


Beside the stairs is a simple memorial, a reminder of the ever-present horrors of Warsaw history.

Here at the time of the Warsaw Uprising from 1st August to 5th October, 100 innocent men died a martyr’s death. Eternal reverence and praise to them. The residents of Mokotów


About morselsandscraps

A retired Australian who spends a lot of time in Warsaw, and blogs as a way of life.
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13 Responses to All those old familiar places

  1. Sue says:

    Ah, wonderful wanderings, Meg! I’m looking forward to seeing Warsaw for the first time… say nothing of meeting you Have a lovely Easter 🌾🐇

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lucid Gypsy says:

    The memorial is unusual, what the glass bottle type things? I love the calligraphic branches in the first shot, absolutely perfect!


    • They hold candles, and don’t seem to be vandalised. On our first visit we were here for All Saints Day: people were getting on the bus with bags full of clanking glass. I thought “What a lot of alcoholics!” But they were in fact taking candles to put on the graves of family members. Apparently the cemeteries look wonderful at night illuminated by these offerings – didn’t get to see because I had a cold!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: 7-Day Nature Photo, day two | Lucid Gypsy

  4. Pingback: 7-Day Nature Photo, day two | Lucid Gypsy

  5. quollgirl says:

    I am looking forward to watching the seasons change in Lazienki on your blog. A European spring (or ‘Spring’) is impressive.


    • I’m looking forward to watching the seasons change – in Łazienki. I need to read up on Spring v spring. I’m inclined to lower case, but maybe as a temporary northern hemispherean I will opt for upper case.


  6. restlessjo says:

    I agree with Gilly about that first shot, Meg. It really captures the imagination. I love Lazienki, though I’ve only spent a couple of hours there. Looking forward to seeing it full of tulipani. 🙂 🙂
    Wesołych Świąt Wielkanocnych!


  7. desleyjane says:

    Love that translation! Thanks for taking us on your walk and sharing your beautiful photos. It’s interesting going back to a place you’ve spent some time before – everything is so familiar and yet so many things change.


  8. Heyjude says:

    It is definitely spring (lower case) as it is a common noun and I am looking forward to seeing how your year in Warsaw progresses. I wonder what you will see that passed you by before. And where your wanderlust will take you. Is it easy to take a train somewhere for a day trip? Or a bus?


  9. pommepal says:

    Such a pleasant walk in the spring sunshine. I’m even remembering things from your previous visit, the White House, Chopin and that traumatic trip of the pram into the clay pits. Gilly describes those bare branches so well as calligraphy against the sky. I wonder why they do not open the Botanic Gardens till end of March?


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