Lost, but not really lost in Poland.
By Hans Egefalk
We had almost given up hope of finding a hotel in Warsaw and were heading out northeast. Well, we didn’t get into the downtown area, but wanted to find something a bit outside. At the end, heading towards the E67 highway, did we find Hotel Arkadia. Perfect. Two doubles and a single for the five of us, slowly making our way back north from Slovakia and eventually heading back to Sweden.
After an early dinner at the hotel restaurant with real food such as stewed cabbage I thought it was a perfect evening for a run to explore the city. What a tremendous run. This main street heading out north on a muggy late afternoon, almost nothing behind one block along the highway. Old gutters, greenery and dirt lanes, hot, smelly like a highway in Africa I suddenly thought. Then rather rough apartment buildings, cracking bricks, old balconies in rusty steel and cracked concrete. I got myself lost among these, found a way out and headed towards the new soccer stadium, but again I got stuck among houses and fences and had to head north.
Overgrown tracks, some rough garden plots, a road along the Vistula River and I found a huge old statue, looking like the all-time praise for the East Bloc communism that now is gone. Eventually I found a new bridge across the river. The eastern bank of the river was sand and grass, thick greenery and fishing people. You could take a photo and say it was taken along some jungle river far away. I crossed the river and followed the bank on the western side, past a new arts complex and up to the next bridge north. Into a park where it had been a family day and still some older couples dancing on an outdoor stage to folk music played by a trio. Through the park, then more streets, past a cemetery and one again in among tall apartment blocks. People were out, sitting on benches talking, playing. More cracked concrete, a market by some empty land along a small side railtrack.
Eventually I found the hotel. It was about 10 miles, I guess, as I’d been out for an hour and a half, and enjoyed every minute.
– Photos by Hans Egefalk