A perfect sunny day after a week of dismal rain. Chilly after a light morning frost. Far too delicious to stay inside. Łazienki’s orangery with its collection of sculptures and light pouring in looks like a good compromise between outside and in. So I dawdle down towards the parkland, feet cosy in my alpaca socks, no need to do my jacket up. I pass a white wall, red ivy and its shadows amongst the graffiti. To my surprise there are flowers still blooming, colour to counter the gold and russet of the leaves.
There are squirrels everywhere. I watch a tiny child coax one to eat from her hand. Another one, inquisitive, runs up my trouser leg, but I am empty handed. The sun is warm enough to encourage sitting on benches, even lounging on deck chairs amongst a flock of hopeful pigeons. Two old men in caps chat amiably in a circle enclosed by formal pathways.
I approach the White Pavilion from behind: it was once intended as the main palace for the king, but it’s much less grand than the Palcae on the Isle. I spot a sundial I haven’t noticed before, a circle of Carrara marble supported by a kneeling satyr carved from sandstone. I note that the pavilion contains a collection of prints, a treat for another day. In front of it there are late flowers blooming around the fountain.
The Orangery is a tale for another post. Beyond it I walk up a cobblestone path towards the botanical gardens and behind the statue of Chopin. I make a quick foray into the gardens, and decide to leave them for another day.
The encampment of protesters is still outside the fence. Posters name politicians who have voted for measures in breach of the constitution: I photograph the template with its convenient English, and note the photographs glued over the blank face in a lineup of offenders.