This is another one of my irrelevant series of posts, but I didn’t have anywhere specific to go in Warsaw today so I thought that I’d make it random by using GeoGuessr to come up with some locations. The process also gives me an opportunity to ramble on about Warsaw life in a way that doesn’t fit in anywhere else on the blog, so that seems like another bonus.
There we go, the first location randomly served up by GeoGuessr. It’s fair to say that I didn’t recognise it or have a clue where it was.
It transpired that it was located in a part of the city that I haven’t been to before, which is frankly why I quite like this process, as it does bring about new experiences. I’m not claiming that this is a big and exciting adventure akin to climbing Mount Everest or Beeston Bump, but it brings a little entertainment to my day.
The location could only be reached by bus, or a long walk, which meant finding the nearest bus stop which was near to the Poniatowski Bridge.
There wasn’t a wide range of buses to choose from, so the 185 it was.
Standing at the bus stop, looking back at the start of the Poniatowski Bridge which goes over the River Vistula. This bridge hasn’t had the happiest of times, with working starting in 1904 and being completed in 1914. The Russians then blew it up in 1915, the Germans rebuilt it and then it got destroyed by fire. The Poles repaired it after the end of the First World War and the bridge did fine for quite a while, until the Germans destroyed it in 1944. Trying to make a quick fix after the end of the Second World War, a temporary structure was put up which promptly then fell down. The bridge was then restored in 1946 and it has remained standing, and been beautified a bit, since then.
After a ten-minute wait at the bus stop, here we are (well, here I am, along with a small number of other passengers and the driver) on the bus. I like the USB connectors incidentally (the orange thing) which is handy if very low on power. Buses here are like the rest of the public transport system in Warsaw, it’s possible to buy a ticket at machines all around the city and then just get on and validate the ticket once. It’s useful that a 24-hour ticket actually lasts for 24 hours, and not until the day as it does in places such as London. Mask wearing at the moment in Warsaw is high, although a fair number of people don’t cover their nose. A 24-hour ticket costs around £2.80 and can be used on trams, trains, buses and the underground (with a few limitations).
And after a journey of around ten minutes, safely off the bus…..
I wasn’t too bothered about finding the exact spot that the GeoGuessr photo was taken as it was in the middle of a road which was as wide as a motorway. I did though instead walk over the nearby pedestrian bridge to get a photo of the general area from both sides. It’s very clear that these are some Soviet style housing blocks, and there are no shortage of them. There’s an interesting statistic in the Museum of Warsaw which notes that the city’s population was 1,335,000 in 1941 (and had been around 1.2 million at the outbreak of the war) and it took until 1970 for the Warsaw’s population to return to that number. Even today, the city’s population is only 1.75 million.
Anyway, that had brought me to the location of the GeoGuessr photo, so I thought I’d have a look to see what else was nearby.
A Mini on top of the car dealership.
Located very near to the GeoGuessr location, I found this strangely fascinating, it’s the oldest surviving shopping mall in Warsaw, the Centrum Handlowe Panorama or the Panorama Shopping Centre. This was once the height of decadence in post-communist Poland, with a Pizza Hut moving in and numerous on-trend shops from around the world. It’s fair to say that the glory days are well behind it.
Opened in the early 1990s, the shopping mall still looks quite glamorous internally, although it needs some repair and some of the escalators don’t work.
Perhaps the biggest issue here is that the shops were either closed or not particularly notable brands to drag customers in. There were very few customers about and this appears to be something of a niche operation. It seems that it has been featured in the local press over the last few years, as the building is owned by the retailers and they seemingly can’t agree on anything important. Some wanted it turned into offices, some want modernisation and some don’t want to do much at all. I can’t imagine that this shopping centre has got a long life ahead of it in its current form, but I rather liked seeing a building that was part of the transition to a western culture.
With that excitement, I thought I’d go and find a local restaurant and I went to the Bianco e Verde which was nearby, but more about that in another post. And then I did one more GeoGuessr location…..