Warsaw street scene pre-war
One of the classical paintings which served as a blueprint for rebuilding the old town
Many would be familiar with the destruction of Warsaw during WWII. Our first stop today is to the Museum of the Warsaw Uprising. To do this museum justice you should allow at least half a day. By the time we had queued with all the others who were waiting for the ticket office to open, we were left with about ninety minutes. I couldn’t take it all in.
An aerial shot of the destruction of Warsaw
The museum tells the story of the German occupation of Warsaw, and in the background the story of the Polish army and the government in exile. By the time one reaches the second floor, the saga of how Poles in Warsaw came to be encouraged to rise up against the well armed Germans, and how their uprising unfolded, is told in a series of displays each outlining a theme. They were defeated after two months of valiant and desperate struggle, and Hitler was so enraged at their defiance that he ordered the destruction of the city. Our visit concluded with a six minute film of the devastated city, a bird’s eye view taken from a slow flying bomber after the war in Europe ended.
Old Town market square 2013
Another part of the old town by night 2013
The Warsaw heart, the old city, was rebuilt in its original style, sometimes drawing on paintings from the old masters to provide the blueprint. The last time I was here, in 1978, I sat at a restaurant in the market square, listening to classical music from the windows in another building, and marvelling that what looked ancient was really only twenty years old. Bob confirmed the location of the restaurant in my memory, and that there was only one other in the square. Now you cannot see the actual square for want of all the outdoor restaurants and umbrellas. You certainly can’t enjoy the strains of a string quartet.
Warsaw is a very modern city now, with a public transport and ticketing system that would put Sydney to shame. Under Bob’s leadership, we were happily hopping on and off as if we were locals.
By one p.m.
he had happily shepherded us on to our next train – destination Lublin for the next three nights.
Saturday 27th July 2013, Garrulous Gwendoline, Warsaw, Poland