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Saturday, 21 February 2015

329: Transport to Tegel

I'm at Berlin Tegel airport waiting for a connecting flight back to Blighty. Thought I would just upload some pictures of some of the various forms of transport I've been on in the last week or so. It was quite a surprise to get on a propeller-driven aircraft this morning (a DASH8-Q400). It took just over an hour from Warsaw to Berlin.
Followed by a clip of the old Burt Baccarach number "Trains and boats and planes". No boats recently - but perhaps I'll manage the Woolwich ferry on Tuesday.
Incidentally, in the last blog I showed pictures of two of  Warsaw's bridges. By a strange quirk of fate the bridge two bridges down from where I was was engulfed in flames last Saturday evening. Absolutely nothing to do with me. I've heard rumours it will be repaired by 2017!

Try saying the name of this metro station when you've had a few drinks, or even when you haven't!

Sunday, 15 February 2015

328: Sun day

I wish it were. Sun day I mean. Yesterday was a lovely, bright, sunny day and I used the opportunity to go on a photo shoot of some bridges for the back of my Polish business cards. Which one do you vote for 1,2,3,4,5 or 6? Today the sun has disappeared. Back to Seasonal Affective Disorder.
I also snapped a couple of churches and roadside religious artefacts which reminds me that for the last few days there has been a poster stuck to the entrance door of my flat advising that something was going to happen at 3 p.m. yesterday. Did I need to be present or not? I eventually found out from my landlord that it was to be a pastoral visit from a visiting priest. Anybody that wanted to could buttonhole him for a chat (and was expected to pay money for the privilege of bending his ear). On balance I decided that yesterday I didn't need any pastoral advice so went off on my photo shoot. 1-6 vote now!
To finish, a video clip showing the little red man in the traffic light dancing. Dear municipal authorities of Warsaw - please can you install such a system? It would make the interminable waiting around less tedious.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

327: Fat Thursday

Today is Fat Thursday in Poland. It, together with similar special days in many other countries, is an opportunity to gorge oneself before Lent starts next week and traditionally many people fasted in the run-up to Easter. You can read more about Fat Thursday here. On this day Polish people particularly enjoy doughnuts and faworki (also known as Angel's wings) and for me it was interesting to see the long (-er than usual) queues outside the bakery shops that I passed on my way to work this morning.
Managed a visit to Warsaw's old town on Sunday and here are a few pictures. I'm actually trying to get a decent picture of a bridge over the river Vistula for my Polish business cards but the day was gloomy and overcast with snow falling from time to time. I'll try again this weekend when it is forecast that the sun might show itself.

An organ grinder - don't see many of those nowadays

The great Copernicus. What a star!
And relax! A cup of Descafe?

Friday, 6 February 2015

326: Traffic lights 0: Des 1

Regular readers will remember the recent "incident" where that nice Mr Plod stopped me and deprived me of some of my hard-earned cash as a punishment for crossing the road while the little man was still red. Warsaw traffic lights for pedestrians probably stay red for just a few minutes but it always seems like hours and hours, especially when it's cold and snowing.

I thought I would grow to hate them but I've managed to turn them to my advantage. When I go running they are ideal for making me vary my pace by either sprinting to catch them while they're still showing green or stopping to get my breath back if they are on red.

My current bĂȘte noire is the local Lidl store. It is only a two-minute walk from home and its presence was one of the factors that helped me choose this place over others I had viewed. Well known in UK for being "cheap and cheerful" I thought it would be a big plus. But actually every time I visit it raises my blood pressure. Firstly you always have to have a 1 zlotty coin to hand to release a trolley from the stack. It is an enormous trolley and there are no baskets available. Obviously a psychological ploy to encourage customers to fill it. Inside the store there are narrow aisles. I'm forever barging aside the trolleys of Poles who aren't going as fast as I am - haven't they got lessons to prepare? Perhaps that will be my next transgression of the law - a breach of the peace inside a Polish supermarket. And the queues at the cash desk are unbelievable. Occasionally, when the queues get too long another cashier will deign to open and relieve some of the pressure but it is only occasionally. Usually most of the cash desks remain firmly shut. Uncharitably, and surely it's not just me, I always think that the staff are on extended tea breaks in their rest room. I shall pray for patience both on the way around the shop and at the cash desk.

Rant over, get on with life. A friend has no life left to get on with as he was killed earlier this week when his motorbike crashed into a car on icy roads. Rest in Peace Kevin. We all cling to life by a very thin thread. Puts things back into perspective.

Here is a snow picture from Monday morning, or was it Tuesday? I forget already. There is no snow now but more is promised. It is only February after all. Everybody has been posting snow pictures recently so here is mine. It was the view when I stepped outside my door. Completely unexpected as I had forgotten to either check the weather forecast or look out of the window.