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The Second Coming: Egypt, Israel and the Palestinian Territories
Via Poland and Gemany

Summer 2008Warsaw
Still Watching you ;-)

Paris, August 6 2008.

It was now time to board our Norwegian Airlines plane to Warsaw. Did I say Norwegian? Well yes, this Norwegian low cost airline has a base in Warsaw and connects Poland with low cost flights to many cities in Europe. We arrived with Stéphanie in the middle of the night so we went directly to the hotel.

Warsaw subway

The morning after, we woke up late. Hey, that’s holidays! We did a quick tour in the city centre, had lunch in a great and not really expensive restaurant, and head to the Gwardii Stadium where Iron Maiden delivered a great performance. We met a lot of people during that show, among them a guy from Wroclaw who couldn’t stop telling us how wonderful is his city. Well, a stop in Wroclaw was not on the plan, but I’ll try to get there on my next trip to Poland.

The Modern Złote Tarasy shopping Centre, just beside Warsaw's train station

We spent the next day walking through the old town, which by the way is not that old. As you know Warsaw was almost completely destroyed after World War II, so what we have today are replicas of Warsaw’s old city made just half a century ago.

The Blue Tower, one of the many Skyscrappers of Warsaw. It was built in 1991 and houses offices.

Beside the old town, which is great, Warsaw is not one of the most beautiful cites in Europe. But it has something that a lot of in Europe places miss: space and greenery. Warsaw has large avenues, lots of parks and green areas. Moreover is quite clean, you see little garbage on the streets.

There a lot of planning going on in Warsaw. Everywhere new buildings are being constructed. There are a lot of skyscrappers like this one, which is called the Blue Tower and was completed in 1991.

The Palace Of Culture and Science and the Hard Rock Café of Warsaw

The Palace Of Culture And Science was built between 1952 and 1955 by the Russian stalinist architect Lev Rudnev, whose works also include the Latvian Academy of Sciences and the Moscow State University.
As a gift from the Soviet Union to the people of Poland its former name was "Joseph Stalin Palace of Culture and Science" but his name was removed from the structure and none remembers this edication nowadays.

It is the tallest building in Poland and one of the tallest in Europe.
The polish name of the building is "Palac Kultury i Nauki" (PKiN), so that's where its nickname "Pekin" come from.

The Rolling Stones performed here during their 1967 European Tour, becoming the first rock band to get behind the so-called Iron Curtain.

Today the building houses cinemas, theatres, museums, offices, bookshops, a conference hall and even a University Collegium Civitas.

The Metal Traveller loosing his head in Warsaw

Here I am loosing my head in Warsaw! Just beside the Barbican these folks recall the ancestor of the guillotine in medieval times.

One street, different buildings

This is the kind of sight you have when travelling around countries of the former eastern bloc: run-down soviet-style housing blocks contrast with new houses or traditional houses recently restored.

I have a few friends from Poland and they're often amazed on how Poland has changed in recent years. Well, when you think about it, a lot has been accomplished in so little time: Less than 20 years ago Poland was part of the Eastern Bloc, and countries like Latvia or Lithuania were part of the soviet Union... Nowadays those countries are part of the European Union and members of the Schengen Agreement! That's a great milestone in European history.

The Hala Mirovska in Warsaw Hale Mirowska is a shopping complex open in 1901. It used to be the largest trade center in Warsaw but it was destroyed during the Warsaw Uprising. It was rebuilt in the 60s and still operate as a trade center.

It's a great place to wander around and meet local people.
The War Monument to the Heroes of the Warsaw Uprising This is the War Monument to the Heroes of the Warsaw Uprising. It stands on Krasiński Square, next to the Field Cathedral of the Polish Army and was constructed in 1989. Before this year, no monument to the Home Army could be built in the City.
The Warsaw Uprising began on 1 August 1944 by the Polish Home Army with the aim to liberate the city from the Nazi occupation. Its estimated that more than 200 000 people died and most Warsaw was almost completely destroyed. The Soviet Red Army did not help the Poles despite being 10km from the City; some say the were exhausted and unable to fight the Germans, some say Stalin did not want to Poles to succeed in order to impose a soviet regime afterwards. After the war most soldiers of the Home Army were persecuted by soviet forces or sent to gulags. The People's Republic of Poland censored everything about the Home Army, including films, novels, and even its name until 1956!
Today the soldiers of the Home Army are finally recognised as heroes.