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Mike's Adventure to Poland - 2002

Part 17: Park Lazienkowski

The weekend following our trip to Krakow, we began by going to the Russian market.  The Russian market is across the Wisla River in Praga, and it is like any other huge open air flea market.  Most vendors were selling pirated CDs and DVDs, homemade vodka (some of which could literally make you go blind or kill you), cheap Russian cigarettes, and ex-Soviet military gear.  I don't have any pictures of it, because everyone warned us of the pickpockets there, so I didn't even dare bring my camera.  And I could see how pickpockets thrive; there is no way to walk through all the stalls without constantly rubbing up against someone else.  They pack the stalls and shoppers in that tight.

Oh, and did I mention that it was cold?  Like -20 degrees cold?  The BBC made a big deal about how it was warmer in Lapland than in Warsaw!  And there was a cold air mass sitting over Moscow that was blowing into Warsaw from the east.  As one Pole sarcastically put it, "It is one more thing we have to be thankful to the Russians for..."

Anyway, after the market, everyone was pretty tired of freezing outside.  But I really wanted to tour the Park Lazienkowski, so I decided that I would brave the cold to go get pictures.  Why?  Because in Poland, I had about four hours of good sunlight in which to take pictures.  If I went after 2:30, it would be too dark to get any pictures, and since we didn't get home from work until the evening, it would be pitch black by the time I could get pictures.  So, it was now or nothing.

Park Lazienkowski is a must-see on a tour of Warsaw.  It is home to a collection of palaces, museums, and a great park.  I am told that there are many artists here in the summer, but when I went, it was too cold for them.  Still, I was surprised that there were many Polish families out strolling through the park on such a cold day.

Belvedere Palace
Belvedere Palace.  Where the Polish President used to live, it is now used for ceremonies.  Also can be seen on a brand of vodka.  The park is located behind it.

Josef Pilsudski Statue
The statue dedicated to Jozef Pilsudski, the First Marshall of Poland.

Water palace
This is the Water Palace (Palac na Wodzie).  This picture was taken at around 2:00.  Those birds all huddled around the windows are all peacocks.  This palace was the home of King Stanislaw August Poniatiwski, the last King of Poland.

Rear View of Palace on Water
The Water Palace from behind.  There is a beautiful man-made lake surrounding the palace which was frozen over.  It's pretty dark for only being 2 PM!

River Amphitheater
Across the lake in front of the palace is this amphitheater.  The stage is located on a peninsula, so boats are often incorporated into the shows that are staged there.

Duck walking on frozen lake
Here is a dumb duck walking across the frozen lake.  What was funny was when they would sit down and try swimming on the ice.  Hey, ducks, aren't you supposed to fly south for the winter?

Myslewicki Palace
This is the Myslewicki Palace.  It looks like a French chateau.

Sobieski Monument
In the park there is this statue to King Jan III Sobieski, who is the most famous and beloved Polish King.

Copernicus Observatory
The park is also home to the Copernicus Observatory.

Chopin Monument
The park is home to the monument to the most famous Polish composer, Frederic Chopin.  During World War II, the Nazis banned Chopin's music and also destroyed this monument to him (the base still bears the scars).

If I ever get the chance to visit Poland again, I hope to be able to spend some more time in this park when it is warmer.

Continue on to Part 18: Big Food