I must confess that it my first visit to Warsaw in August. I used to spend there the whole July, but being there from June to August is something new for me. It is important to say that except three-day trip to Mazury, I am not going to go anywhere until the end of summer, that is why I try hard to make friends with Warsaw, which all the time attacks its residents with rain or the horrible heat. We can say that I am still new in the city, so I point my attention to things, which are ordinary for Warsaw citizens, but they are striking for me. It is even better to assess the city when my parents or friends from my country come here, because everything in Warsaw is new and interesting for them, and together with them I try to pay attention to details which I have already get used to.
I have wrote about the Vistula river in a different essay, but I just want to add that walking along the Vistula river in places where there are bars with the lights in the evening makes us feeling like at the seaside in Bulgaria – you suddenly forget that you are close to the centre of a capital city and that tomorrow you have to go to work.
The next aspect which astonishes people coming to Warsaw is the number of parks or just the city’s greenery. Basically, it is not the fact of nice and well-groomed parks but the way how people spend time there. When my parents came to visit me from Lvov, we go for a walk in the late evening to Pole Mokotowskie (so called Mokotów Field). At first, my beloved man guided us among some trees and bushes and I started to worry that except from few cyclists my parents will not see anything, when we suddenly were in a completely different scenery. At 10 p.m. on an ordinary day (Tuesday) the life among us was flourishing. The booths with pancakes, lemonade, bars, where many people drink beer, were opened. A lot of people were roller skating, or sitting (some even lying) not only on benches but also under trees. One person was at the bank of a lake, some people were having rest here and there, singing, nobody was disturbing anyone. There was something making you feeling calm, because there were not any loud weekend parties, but just having relax after a day full of hard work. You could feel the atmosphere of silence and that it was the best time for evening chats. My parents were delighted and I thought that we should go out more often in the evenings. When we were coming back my father noticed light between the trees – I said that it may be a summer cinema. What shocked my parents was the fact that about 300 people were sitting opposite the screen. I have told my dad that in the summer in Warsaw there are many summer cinemas at different time and in many places and that many people participate in such events. At my place, in Lwow, there are more and more such events, but the Warsaw’s advantage is that there is more space for different cultural events.
When we were walking in Łazienki Park my parents pointed attention to the fact that the citizens of Warsaw do not have any complexes because they sunbathe on the grass, nobody cares about their imperfect figure. It is hot, there is lawn, so they can just lie on it and flirt with the sun.
I would like to point out that Warsaw tries as much as possible to provide its citizens with nice conditions to spend summer there: summer cinemas, deckchairs in different places, fountains, hosepipes. When somebody of my friends comes to Warsaw we immediately go to walk the garden on the roof of BUW (Warsaw University Library) - it is an amazing experience. I think, that Warsaw in summer is a chest with surprises. At first, you see only a city tired with the heat, dry almost like a desert, then it starts to show you its aces up in its sleeve. It is difficult to notice them at first. Not a long time ago my friends visited me because they were coming back from Italy to Lvov by Warsaw. The only places they saw was the Western Railway Station (Dworzec Zachodni), Ochota (where I live) and Arkadia shopping centre. They left the city with an opinion that Warsaw is nothing special and beautiful – I do not judge them. The city has not managed to show them its summer image, flirt with them in its stone and park jungles.
As every city in the summer Warsaw sometime annoys an ordinary citizen with too cold air-conditioning or lack of it, or anything else, but it is worth to be a tourist again, go to the top of the Palace of Culture, look at the city from a bird’s eye view and think that the summer in Warsaw is so much fun…