On Saturday I’m off to see the Moscow ballet at a venue I’m unfamiliar with. So I decide to reconnoitre. After all I have form. Three years ago I failed spectacularly to find the theatre where I’d booked an evening of mime. Not about to miss “Swan Lake”, I hop on a bus that goes directly to No 6 Łazienkowska, or so the trip planner suggests. I’m so glad I did. 400 metres from the bus stop isn’t far, but you have to know which direction to walk and how to get down from the flyover where the bus stops. I prowl around amidst grimy snow and grimy puddles and a strange brick church that tried unsuccessfully to copy some style of church architecture or other, and looks as if it began life dilapidated. I finally find a nondescript building across a nondescript car park which has the number I’m looking for. Not the site for tutus and arabesques that I expected. Returning to the bus top I pass pillars of artwork, a continuation of some I saw on another walk once upon a time when daybreak meant 6 am.
Next it’s a hunt for boots. I’ve noted the Polish for substantial tread, non slip on ice, waterproof, size 39. But this arsenal doesn’t score me boots, just four shops which might actually have what I want if I put my mind to it. But I don’t waste my trip to Złote Tarasy. I catch a glimpse of Stalin’s Gift reduced by a view through bare branches, a new design for Christmas street lights, and all the bling of Christmas in a shopping mall.