A blue sky at 5 am makes a walk irresistible. This morning I decide to walk between bus stops for a start, and then view the open air poster gallery on the fence of Łazienki gardens.
Between bus stops
The route I travel on the bus goes along a rather grand street, which invites my walking feet. It’s wide and treelined and not very busy, at least not at 5am! The buildings are varied and the light superb. The architectural centrepiece is the neoclassical building built in the late 1920s, now the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Education, during the war Gestapo headquarters.
There is still an encampment along Belvederska near the Botanic Gardens and Łazienki protesting against the government’s ultra-conservative, anti-democratic stance. An enigmatic (to me anyway) line of upturned wheelbarrows are part of the protest. Each one contains a photo of a person and the words “one way ticket”. The banners read “civic democratic movement” and “down with fascism”.
Open air gallery of the Royal Łazienki
I love this gallery. The posters, a favourite art form here because I have far more skill reading graphics than Polish words, are displayed on the tall railings under an avenue of trees. The exhibition is part of a series showcasing poster artists from different countries, this time Gieliju Escher and Lex Reitsma from the Netherlands.
I am smarting at my failure to capture the sudden luxuriance of lime flowers, light and wind and angle all conspiring against me, when a more dramatic failure occurs. My camera stops operating. It tells me it’s recovering data, and then to switch off switch on, but nothing happens. For the rest of the walk half my mind is strategising my photographic future. However, the other half registers things I may not otherwise have noticed. Sound for a start: the clear trilling of an unknown bird; the soothing coo of a pigeon; the sound of a hefty crow landing on cobblestones.
I’ve walked through Łazienki many times, but never along today’s track. It’s deliciously ungroomed and a waterway reflects a small building with grand columns, and lions along the waterline. It’s backed by a tower inspired with hoeroglyphivs. It strikes me that I will never see exactly the same scene again, so I concentrate on storing it in my memory.
Back home, I transfer photos to my iPad, draw a deep breath, and take the camera over to show J the details of its demise. It functions perfectly.