Warszawa Vs Berlin

Third round in Poland, this time further to the East in the country. A long and full weekend to discover this city, meet my not only Norwegian friends from Oslo and eventually meet locals and/or spotters. It was a good weekend for many reasons putting aside the fact that I was travelling alone. I experienced or entered different layers, networks to get to know this city.

This time I traveled with the Die Welt von Gestern de Stefan Weig which I was reading in French.

I use the public transport, tramways are so cool in Poland.

I made new connections.

I got frustrated to not be able to say more than three words in Polish.

I traveled slow and cheap, train and bus, in total 1000km for a total 82€.

Warsaw - troisième jour

A last full day full of resolution. I crossed the city by tramway, entered its many parks, visited the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews and later in the afternoon met the Oslo team again.

4:00pm we are all waiting for our guide for a scheduled tour of the city. Then he arrives with its old cool mini yellow van. No need to worried about safety belts as there are not safety belts. We just need to relax and grab the red and black fur on the seats to not fall at every turns or bumps on the road.

The path followed by the mini van brought us to many places I have seen the last two days, but the tour guide was entertaining. To conclude our exploration we crossed the river and had a snack in what we can call a witness apartment of old Polish communist time. The vodka was good.

8:08pm despite the aperitif we start looking for a place to have diner and we end up in a kind of semi classic restaurant called Folk Gospoda. To give an image it's all in wood, a bit German style, waiters and waitresses are wearing "traditional" costumes. In comparison to the German version, the waitresses are wearing white socks, semi short skirts revealing her knees but without "décolotté pigeonnant" Bavarian style.

About the food is was way too big, good but way too big, but the beer drinkable. And sadly I could not see the couple making out in the other restaurant room in my back, but at some point two of my friends said "I think the woman on the back is giving an hand job to the guy next to him, noooo" we all said turning synchronously our heads. That was fun.

11.34pm the day isn't over and I left my Norwegian crew at its hotel and continue my city exploration. I have not idea where I'm, but I'm. I met again the Polish and French pair of yesterday with more Polish people. A very nice end of my short trip in Warsaw. I never thought this trip will have ended up with a long and passionate discussion about color imaging and ACES, but life is full a surprises.

I will have to go to bed at some point, my Polskybus is leaving the city in a few hours.


Warsaw - deuxième jour

11:01am early awake but later than yesterday! A short look into my spotted by local app and decide for  an hummus breakfast. Then I aim for the sky, go toward the Palac Kultury, got lost in the building and finally find the elevator. The view once almost on the top of the building is stunning. I can see where I went yesterday and can locate where I had my delicious hummus and halloumi burger some minutes ago in  Beirut.

Back on earth I enter the nearby located Museum of Modern Art. It's squeezed between towers but you don't feel compressed once inside. If you like poster and book shop, that's the place to go.

4:04pm second try for the planetarium, I failed but I successfully acquired some bike accessories in antymateria. At the question from one of the shop crew member "how did you find out about our shop already?", "well" I answer, "I'm coming from Berlin, know some shops there, asked there if they know people in Warsaw, then I talked on the net with shared connection being a frame builder in Warsaw that recommended some addresses and here I'm!"  thanks to the bike messenger communities in the different cities I thought.

8:03pm I meet my Scandinavian crew in a Polish posh restaurant - as will later describe our tour guide the next day. I lost some money on that game but I kept my clothes, so the honor is safe. Being a bit ill at a fancy restaurant is problematic as everything taste the same, color and  texture are changing but still you don't get the full experience. Anyway...

11:33pm a drink at a panorama bar in the city center and we split the group. At that time I thought I already entered a parallel world while having diner in the previous restaurant - the Belevedere - but I was wrong. There are many parallel universes or many ways to explore cities or interact with new spaces, I explain in the following lines.

It's passed midnight and I'm meeting a French journalist - also writer for spotted by locals, not for Warsaw but Budapest. Thanks to the internet I got to know during the day that she was visiting Warsaw and a Polish friend this weekend. Where do we meet she asked? I checked on my foursquare, found out some places recommended by Lithuanian friend - other spotter from Vilnius this time, I met him in Berlin in Amsterdam. So here we are, three people, one true local and two local travelers having a last Saturday drink in Kraken. Funny because at the beginning of my day I had not idea I will conclude my path in the same place I started - the hummus place and this bar share the same address.

3:33am  late again but I got a lift home to my beloved Campanile hotel. Another full day.


Warsaw - premier jour

6:15am  and I'm on the platform at the Berlin Hauptbahnhof. As opposed to the train driver the other travelers and me are in time. Luckily the train  - the Warsaw Express where Express has nothing to do with the speed - being not full means you can seat comfortably and enjoy the long ride to Warsaw.

2:04pm I leave the train station, elevator and bamm I have in front of me the Palac Kultury. I blink my eyes, nooo am I in New-York or what? No, I'm in Poland. 900m further I enter my hotel room located nearby the Warsaw central station. A shower and I'm ready to explore the city. My phone is fully charged, my spotted by local city guide for Warsaw up to date, let's go!

One pass for the public transport in my pocket, I jump in a bus direction the Copernicus Science Center, I heard often about this place during my last job, despite the relative short distance to Berlin I never managed to visit it.

My phone indicates me a 20min bus ride but I left my coach before my final destination, I have seen a bike shop in the street... I meant that one Rowery Bajery. I talk a bit with the owner and manage to leave without buying a bike. A crêpe in Rue de Paris and I finally reach the science center.

4:47pm I pay my entree for the science museum. It's Friday, full of kids from the school running around. I guess the only difference with a weekend day will be more parents in zombie mode with kids running around. But the place is a giant playground for who wants to play with science and get introduction to basic concepts, installations are working, many experiments are doable, friendly staff.

On my way back to my hotel I locate more bike shops - thanks to the local tips I gather before leaving Berlin - but I remain strong and only ask for prices. The street is going up, bike shops, music shops and sometimes bar and bike shop together, an awaken dream this city.

Getting close to a large avenue I spot the palm tree. To me a very good integration of urbanity and modern art. First surprising and then finding it completely in harmony with the roundabout, the cars, the bus, the tramways and buildings.

8:11pm evening is coming and I meet a Morten, a Norwegian scout - but also a friend - here some hours in advance to prepare the field for more Scandinavians. Always nice to meet the friends from other places in other places.

10:11pm the rest of the troop is finally arriving and we all go to the Bazard Klub. The place looks fine, but arriving late together with the staff members we are the only not drunk people.

Then it's time to go sleeping, I'm awake for way to long today. On the way back to our hotels I'm the last leaving the taxi. I continue alone the discussion with the driver, in English - because my Polish sucks - even so it could have been in German. He told me his grand mother used to leave in Berlin not far from where I live.

A full first day in Warsaw.


Berliner Farhrradschau 2015 and sound studies

My third Berliner Farhrradschau in a row. It's growing every year but manages to keep a human size. You will not find the biggest companies, but a panel of all the cool stuffs from kid bikes, electric, downhill, vintage and more. I really like the laid back  atmosphere - maybe different if you are running a stand -  and the gin tonic. In three hours you get some many frames in your face, thinking of your new bike - the one you will never get because once you have it there is no quest for it - and new accessories...

Leaving the place near U Gleisdreieck I met other friends in the same street in what seems to be an abandoned building. On the fourth floor we found sound installations from UDK master students. Here as well pretty cool installations combining sounds, electronic sensors and other captors. Almost a classic when you are familiar with those type of installation, but almost all working.

Some links:
- one cool shop cicli-berlinetta and the review I wrote about it in spotted by locals Berlin.


Eclipse and Splitter Brötchen

One partial eclipse can hide another. This morning took place the eclipse everybody was talking about. If the weather was perfect in Berlin, the event behind the Gross Zeiss planetarium well organised where we were all surrounded by abnormally early awake astronomers - they usually spot stars by night - I was less impressed than the one I observe in Paris in 1999.

Back in the days the eclipse did happen during the summer around lunch time. In 30min the traffic  noise of Paris stopped, the darkness arrived and people were all on the roofs. To observe all of us, on the various roofs, the head toward the sky, and the quietness for a short time in the middle of the  day was a very strong moment.

The other eclipse was the discovery of the biggest splitter brötchen! Not a real discovery as someone told me to check this bakery - the Hacker Bäckerei -  which as a result jumped on the top position of my top 3 bakery in Berlin. Long live the the splitter Brötchen. For the non connoisseur, a splitter is what is the closest as a "brioche" I can find here.


Après la pluie le soleil et autres observations climatiques

Quand les premières pluies d'automne arrivent on peut observer un léger problème d'adaptation de la part des conducteurs. Pour faire court ils conduisent souvent mal, comme si l'eau coulait dans leur voiture, essayant de rentrer vite pour se mettre à l'abris... Etant à vélo je dois redoubler de vigilance.

Aujourd'hui le printemps s'est montré, il a fait beau et presque chaud. J'en ai profité pour faire un petit tour de vélo jusqu'à Muggelturm. En chemin j'y ai croisé des supporteurs allant fièrement, religieusement assister au match de leur équipe Union Berlin à Köpenick. Ce n'est pas qu'ils avaient l'air agressifs, non, mais je pense toujours à "donner du pain et des jeux" et la majorité des gens seront contents, pas faux mais pas très réjouissant non plus. Après le stade et près de l’hôtel de ville de Köpenick en brique rouge j'y ai vu un abruti en voiture qui avait réussi à bloquer la circulation en bloquant l'arrière de sa voiture dans le tramway qui le suivait... Toujours drôle de voir la foule des gens bien qui observe et juge. Je continue, passe  l’hôpital où l'on m'avait réparé mon bras, je pénètre dans la forêt, tourne et monte vers la tour. En haut une mini pause avant le retour.

Repassant par Köpenick j'ai vu d'autres motards du dimanche, trop content de sortir la moto sur un sol sec et de pouvoir faire du bruit les beaux. Ça n'a pas manqué, un groupe de quatre, feu qui passe au vert, accélération, et chute 20m plus loin pour un des pilotes, sans gravité heureusement. Soupire...

La suite en passant par Adlershof et mon ancien chemin du boulot. Arriver à Schlechister Tor puis remonter sans arrêts vers Alexander Platz longeant la East Side Galerie, enfin ce qu'il en reste. La place est noire de monde, rare pour un dimanche, mais pas rare si les magasins sont ouverts. Et comme d'habitude un flot continu de gens sortant d'immeubles avec leur sac primark. Moutons moutons moutons moutons. Du pain, des jeux, du shopping. Acheter plus parce que c'est pas cher, ne pas penser aux gens qui ont produits ces merdes. Ce que je ne vois pas ne me soucie pas. Nos dirigeants peuvent dormir tranquille.

Puis une pause glace en de fin d'après-midi avec ma douce, passer sous le U2 sur la Gleimstrasse attendre au feu et voir passer en courant quelqu'un suivi de deux serveurs du restaurant vietnamien du coin. Il fait soleil et à peine 16 degrés et les gens sont déjà cramés du cerveau. Ce sera quoi quand il fera vraiment chaud?