Winter comes to Warsaw
Winter is really here now. During the dark, permanently gray-skied days of November and December I kept telling myself that I'd much prefer colder weather with blue skies. As they say, be careful what you wish for... Last weekend in Warsaw was the first really cold weekend we've had. Daytime highs hovered around -12 C / 10 F. For some of you out there I know it's not that bad, but for our recently California-transplanted selves, it was pretty chilly. But hey, you don't move to Poland for the weather right? However, the skies were clear and blue. I felt we had to embrace it, and I convinced the Mrs. to go for a hike (Partly by forbidding her to look at the temperature on her phone. Sometimes it's all in your head, as we both weren't too cold despite it being -14 C).
One of my favorite aspects of Warsaw is how many parks there are in this city. For the day, we chose Bielanksi Forest, because how many cities have an actual forest within city limits (reachable by a 15-minute subway ride no less)? It was nowhere as deep or as wild as Bialowezia (and no Zubr), but it was nice to walk through an actual natural place, as opposed to a manicured city park. Plenty of other Varsovians also thought it was good day to be outdoors, as people were cross-country skiing, mountain-biking, jogging and dragging there kids around in sleds all up in that forest.
One interesting thing I noticed was that all the small streams were frozen solid... fun for faux-ice skating. They did make me wonder if the Wisla river was frozen (which would be very impressive, as it's a big river). Before heading that way, in a classic European move, we first treated ourselves to pastries and coffee for lunch (the only way to possibly be more European would be to have a cigarette afterwards). Sadly, the Wisla was not frozen over (I don't know if that actually ever happens), but there were some very cool mini-icebergs flowing in the current.
I have to say, so far I'm enjoying winter (much more than the last time I lived through an actual winter, which was in Boston way back in 2002). But ask me again in April...
Also, I thought the neon sign on the nearby bridge was pretty cool.