I decide it’s time to explore the neighbourhood instead of whizzing off to places I already know. So I head off west of home. The street is not very inspiring, but it has a pierogi shop, a school, a hospital, a theatre, all within a couple of blocks. As is the case with many Warsaw streets it is tree lined, and there a number of markers of the tragic “Here in 1944 …” kind, or of the more benign “X lived here” kind. Graffiti too, of course.
I walk on in a desultory way, until I see a sign saying Pole Mokotowskie: I know that’s a park and my pace and enthusiasm pick up. I head off gleefully into the shade. A jogger passes me and a young man lies asleep across the track. The area used to be an airfield and it’s quite extensive. I come to a meandering waterway, edged by irises, dandelion, buttercups and ferns. Chunky statues are scattered around the lake, and a monument to the park’s airfield history stands proudly amongst overflowing rubbish bins.
I can’t leave the park without a comment on toilet facilities, a major concern in a city with a monumental lack of public toilets, which seems to place the toi tois (portaloos) in the least discreet places – like on the footpath facing the intersection of two busy main roads. This park boasts a permanent container-like building: 2zł in the slot gets you a clean spacious loo, with 20 minutes to do what needs doing, at which point presumably the doors open to flush you out. Such are the things that rejoice my ageing body.