At Gilly’s request for a taste of Warsaw shopping, I’ve started embarrassing J by photographing in supermarkets. We do most of our shopping at Biedronka, a Polish chain where everything is extraordinarily cheap, with a shop conveniently close to the preschool. So every morning after we drop off the twins, we do a quick whizz around to top up on necessities: bread (if you’re lucky just out of the oven), orange juice, soy milk, and vegetables. At the moments Biedronka is featuring Italian food on the vast panels outside the shop. Polish chains have good names – Biedronka means ladybird, and the name of another chain, Żabka, means frog.
Shopping is no longer daunting – when I first came here I’d drip buckets of sweat at the checkout and fumble drobna, the small coins that are much sought after. Now I just hold out a handful without shame and let the checkout person do the sums.
Our other major supermarket is Carrefour over the river at Praga. It’s an international chain with very attractive big bags (although on our last shop hey’d replaced fruit and vegetable images with far less attractive Star Wars ones, and we haven’t seen the variety on offer in 2012 again). There we can buy everything: pyjamas, toasters, wooden spoons, garden pots and soil, coats, and of course a vast array of food: bread, fish, sausages, cheese, frozen pierogis, frozen vegetables, as well as the usual tins and jars and packets and fresh vegetables.
And to finish off the Carrefour experience, there’s this!
Then there are the stalls. Just downstairs is a van selling, at the moment, strawberries, cabbages, radishes, tomatoes and apples. I buy a kilo of strawberries at a time for 7PLN or $2.33AUD. Across the road is another stall selling flowers and one selling shoelaces and shoe inserts, and every morning a man wheels five or six big bags of clothing and sets up his stall near the strawberry man. Yesterday J bought plaits of garlic from an old lady on the footpath selling only garlic.
Again inspired by Gilly, I checked out a list of Warsaw markets, and I’ll be exploring some of them soon.