As I left the Gromada hotel early in the morning on my way to the Lazienkowski Park I made it briefly into the Nowy Swiat street which had been closed to traffic because of the Fashion Street venue that would occur during the day. I slightly deviated to the left so as to photograph a building whose architecture and façade decorations caught my attention, despite the fact of not knowing what it was (even formerly).
I had often gone across the Charles de Gaulle square but had never realised that the palm tree that stood in its central part was a modern Art project by Joanna Rajkowska titled " Greetings from Jerusalem", which is in fact a steel column covered with natural bark and leaves made from polyethylene. Though looking dislocated from the typical surroundings it should be seen at I found the idea rather innovatory.
A little bit farther along the Church of St. Alexander, a classicist church built in 1818-1825 as a tribute to Tsar Alexander I in the spirit of a Roman Pantheon.
The statue of St. John Nepomucen raised in 1752 to commemorate the paving of Warsaw's streets, street lighting and the completion of a sewage canal system could be seen at the end of the alley. The Saint could be seen holding a cross, one of three which the square is named after - Square Trzech Krzyzy. According to the legend he died by "drowning" in the Veltava River following his refusal to reveal the confessional secrets of Queen Sophia.
Across the street one could see the Giants'House said to have been built between 1904 and 1907 by Wladyslaw Marconi in an early modernist style. The house belonged to the painter and collector Strzalecki who kept several valuable artefacts and paintings, which were later transferred to the National Museum.
I soon entered the area of the Embassies and the first ones that caught my attention were the American, the Swiss and the Bulgarian because of the street placards placed in front of their gates providing passers by with relevant information regarding their countries. I felt the idea was fairly interesting and rather appealing.
The statue of former USA President Ronald Reagan could be seen across the street. He is highly respected in Poland for having helped hasten the fall of the Iron Curtain. In the words of Lech Walesa "let us bow before Ronald Reagan for the fact that our generation was able to bring an end to the great divisions and conflicts of the world".
Before reaching the Lazienki Park I came across a smaller one, the Ujadowski park, which I fell for, not only was it very well looked after but also a cosy sort of place with fairly romantic corners amidst bronze statues spread all around, a place I'd certainly like to spend time at for endless hours.
As we walked through its gates we came across the majestic statue of Ignacy Jan Pederewski, one of post-War Poland's founders, renowned poet , composer and pianist. It is said to have had a rather tempestuous story, once it was buried underground during World War II, so as to be protected from the Germans, who were melting them down at the time. It would later be recovered and proudly placed in the middle of such a beautiful place.
(To be continued)