Sunday, January 20, 2019

Europe Trip 2018 - Warsaw, Poland

These photos have been taken just as I was going about my business in Warsaw and vicinity. None are from touristy places. They show that there is still a lot to do to make Warsaw and the surrounding areas beautiful. More trees and flowers in summer, fewer cars and parking, more high quality signage like in German cities, fewer ads, renovated facades - maybe paint the buildings white instead of cream/grey, or just clean or re-paint them more often... there is a lot to do.

Politechnika Square - not bad

The opposite side - paint needed!

Near Plac Konstytucji - grey

Still grey, but at lease there are some trees here

Look how lively the two city buses and a tram in Warsaw's yellow-red livery look compared to the buildings here. The bus in foreground is a hybrid MAN. Warsaw will get 130 all electric buses in the next couple of years. 

This would be a nice little street in the centre of Warsaw if 4 lanes worth of space was not reserved for cars: 2 lanes for the road and 2 lanes for parking, leaving narrow footpaths on both sides.

The silver-blue Police car improves this street's outlook

Finally, this is Ochota - a bit of needed greenery and colour

On the edge of Warsaw and Raszyn. Legia is the main football club in Warsaw. 

Most of Raszyn seen from Al. Krakowska is an eyesore. The peeling off white letters/blue background sign is for a lawyer's office - business must be bad, or is it? Notice the practice of attaching all kinds of ads to lamp posts and never removing them.  

This is an old post inn built in 1790 by Piotr Tepper, known locally as "austeria", which is an old Polish word for an inn. Google maps shows that the building is currently being renovated - great!  

I hope these buildings will be renovated too

IKEA Janki shopping centre - an ugly sea of cars and ads. There is even an underground car park under this one. A tram line extension from Warszawa Okęcie to Janki could help reduce the number of cars.

Another shopping centre, another multi-level car park - this one is in Warsaw - Ochota district. 

Pre-war residential low height (3 stories) apartment buildings in Żoliborz district.

The same Żoliborz area in Google Maps 3D

Pruszków near Warsaw
Also Pruszków
This is Mokotów district - high-rise (11-15 stories) residential buildings and lots of trees in between. 

This is how the above street looks like in Google Maps 3D. High density living, lots of green space.

Falenty village near Raszyn - Legia fans live here too. These are old car garages for local residents.

A big barn - Falenty IMUZ cows live here. They used to walk everyday to a nearby field 15 years ago. I don't see them leaving the barn anymore.

Jewish cemetery in Grodzisk Mazowiecki - about 30 km from Warsaw 

The cemetery gate is locked. Could the tomb plates be restored and this cemetery made accessible during the day like other cemeteries? There is a lot of history here.

Warsaw's low cost airport - Modlin. Can get very crowded and unpleasant.

And Modlin's main customer: Ryanair

The last photo is an ad for fibre internet. Prices start at 49.90 PLN per month and speeds go up to 900 Mb/s. We are far behind Poland here in Australia. Our internet access is much more expensive and much slower because our conservative party, which obviously in Australia is called Liberals (LNP - Liberal National Party), wrecked our National Broadband Network plan.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Europe Trip 2018 - Görlitz/Zgorzelec, Germany/Poland

This was one city until 1945. Then it became two. On the west side of the Lusatian Neisse river, Görlitz is a German city of 56,000 people. On the east side, Zgorzelec is a Polish city of 32,000 people. In 2007 Poland became part of the Schengen Area, which means there are no border checks here - you can freely explore the cities on both sides of the border.

Old map of the city shows that it was situated mainly on the western bank of Lusatian Neisse

Polish side, the white and red border pole.

One of two bridges joining the cities. A view towards the Polish side.

Same bridge, seen from further away

German side, a bit empty at 7:30pm on a Saturday
There is more people near the Old Town Hall. How many clocks does it have?

Reichenbacher Turm, built some time before 1376

Despite small population Görlitz has two tram lines 13.6km long. It had 5 lines at peak in 1939. It uses narrow gauge (1000mm) tracks, 600V power, 17 Czech Tatra KT4D trams.  

Such fruit and vegetable stands can be found in many German cities

The building that lets active traffic through. Active transport is the one where you use your legs to move: walking, riding a bicycle :-)

A shortcut for pedestrians and bicycles. Not all buildings have been renovated yet.

Built 1550. Astronomical diagrams on the wall.

Built in 1528

Europe Trip 2018 - Lubań, Poland

Lubań is a small (23,000 residents) town in Lower Silesia. Before 1945 it was part of Germany and was called Lauban. The city was destroyed towards the end of WW2.

Town square

Not all facades have been renovated

We visited during a minerals festival - Crystal Days

The town square was full of vendor stalls

The regional museum had a precious stone exposition

A little park near the Bracka Tower

The Bracka Tower info

The Bracka Tower built in 1318

View from the tower