Sunday, March 02, 2014


A Sunday in the park. That's what I want. But, Lazienki -- Warsaw's finest (in my mind, Europe's finest) public green space, is a metro ride away and there are still things to attend to at home -- boring things, paper things, bowing to the demands of bureaucracies, things that brought me here in the first place. And things to discuss, plans to review -- all that. So is there a time for the park? Even as I have an afternoon flight to catch?

Yes, sure there is.

I've posted photos of Lazienki before and, as I have nearly always visited Warsaw in the winter since Ocean came to life, the photos have shown an austerity that is so very misleading. My sister would say that Warsaw is at her best in May. Well, Lazienki, too, is at its best in May. So you have to use your special eyes, the ones that can dress the park with leaves of spring, with rosebushes just starting to bud, with lilacs and with willows that truly weep their leaves right into the waters of the park pond.

Or, look at the park as I looked at it today -- as a place where people gather despite the weather (as usual -- cold, misty cold, with a bite that touches the bones, even as the thermometer shows some silly number like 5 C).  Lazienki is beloved and, too, it is for those who are enthralled with love. It is a place to teach children about squirrels and ducks and swans and peacocks. Walk here and lift the weight off your shoulders (because the walk will have hills and so it will not be without exercise and we know that exercise can really do wonders for weighted shoulders). Walk, walk, remember, shape new memories, smile, watch others, think of change, think of what will, for you, never change.

Despite all those children and lovers and groups of visitors, Lazienki is a quiet place. It's like entering a temple, or maybe it's because the trees are so tall that it makes you feel singularly reverent, but in any case, you can be assured of a quiet stroll.

So, I'll be quiet too, for a while. And I'll post my few photos, perhaps too familiar to some of you -- sorry about that: it is a familiar place to me as well, so we're in the same boat! -- but here it is, my hour in Lazienki:

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And now the afternoon is tick-tocking by, rather quickly at that and maybe I should hurry, but there is still that cup of coffee to be had and aren't I close to that block again? That one that my sister and I explored our first day? The one that is just establishing itself in a new way (and soon to be pedestrian, maybe)? With the cafe where the coffee was good and the apple raspberry cake sublime?

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So I pause here. There are two cafe guys now, so it's double the charm and friendliness and delight.
Is the cake all done for today? -- I ask, noting the empty cake stand.
Yes, but you know, our baker, she's about to deliver a fresh one! Hot from the oven!
No no, I have a flight to catch...

It's nearly here, on the way, you'll be eating it in no time!


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Metro ride to my sister's -- so that I can pick up my bag, then a bus ride to the airport -- expertly detailed by my sister who took such good care of me on this trip, then a Wizzair flight to Paris.

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Or, rather to Beauvais, because, well, it's a super discount airline and so Paris is still just a mirage, somewhere there, but not yet quite here.

One more bus ride, a very very long bus ride, and one more metro ride and now, finally, I emerge at Bastille in Paris, or, rather at the metro stop where the canal, the lights, the train are all swimming in my already overcrowded head.

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 And I walk to an apartment just off the Place des Vosges...

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... where, the world is so terribly small, because I can meet up now with my friends, Diane and Ernest, who just happen to be living here for a month and so, how wonderful is this! -- I can end the day in their handsome quarters, with a sip of rose and a shared meal of bread, cheese, ham, quiche and of course, their warm and welcoming smiles...

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We exchange stories from our past days, weeks, or from no particular time at all. Call them eternal stories that we all tell and repeat because -- surely this is true? -- our stories are mere repetitions of other people's stories, joyous, macabre, delightful -- they've been described elsewhere, by others, they are not unique.

Or maybe they are unique. Just a little unique. Seemingly the same, but really, snowflakes, all.