What to expect?

Warsaw Travel Blog

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What do you expect from a country for whom communism isn't such a distant memory? From a country where 20% of the population were killed in World War 2?
I'm not a historian by any means, I didn't go to Auschwitz or any museums, but in Warsaw, history is just there.
I speak a little German and I thought I might make that useful here - but I was advised not to even try because although a lot of young people speak it, the older population is still frightened of the sound.
Warsaw is very segregated. In the business district you may as well be in Zurich or London. High rise skyscrapers and neon lights (although the Christmas tree was a beautiful sight to behold).
Move a little further and the weight of history lies on you like a communist-era breezeblock.
The 'old town' isn't that old - reconstructed to its Prague-like beauty in the 1950s because it was raized in WWII. The facades of the buildings have been lovingly reconstructed to their original glory- and the old town square is as beautiful as Prague or Munich, no question- but the soul is not there. It's been reconstructed and somehow you can tell. If it has been rebuilt for the tourists it hasn't worked- when we went there were none.
Nova Huta is a true testament to Communism-era architecture, and a telling reminder of the ideals of the time. A panopticon of tenement blocks, the modern-day residents (many of them suffered under communism) have painted their balconies in bright colours as a defiance of the greyness and conformity of the regime. A little-visited site and well worth the twenty minute bus journey out of town.

travelman727 says:
Thanks for the enlightening review!
Posted on: Aug 25, 2006
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photo by: EmyG