I recently went to Warsaw for the weekend with a very good friend of mine, Michael Pieracci. We had never travelled together, but we'd spent enough time in each other's company that we knew we'd have a nice time. And indeed we did. We didn't get on each other's nerves, and we had similar ideas of how to spend our time and money, so everything worked out well!
One thing that travelling with Michael gave me was a new appreciation for things which we may otherwise overlook on our travels: the nuts and bolts of the everyday world that make things work, or the things which we take so much for granted in the natural world that we simply overlook them. Michael is not interested in looking at sights, going on tours or visiting museums as such, instead he's fascinated by taking pictures of and appreciating the variety of the world around us. These are some observations I made about Warsaw, partly influenced by his viewpoint.
Warsaw has an interesting mixture of old-fashioned and very modern transport.
Some of the trams are clearly several decades old, while the metro is slick and new, with shining surfaces and illuminated floors in the stations. I found the logo for the metro rather ugly, but the tram, though it has the same colours, rather lovely.
It was also nice to see people using bicycles in the city, and that bike sharing is alive and well. Indeed, Warsaw is very flat, and many of the main streets are very wide and have clearly marked designated cycle paths, which is encouraging to see.
This weekend we visited, although in spring, had weather more typical of central European summer, so spending some of our time outside, surrounded by green was exactly what we wanted.
Small city parks we stumbled upon, just a few hundred metres wide, as well as large forested areas and the botanical gardens were all perfect for this.
There are many small details to a city that we routinely ignore, or which simply aren't meant to be seen. Some of these can provide a source of beauty in their variety and surprisingly carefully thought out design.
Some examples of such things may include gas metre boxes, post receptacles, ventilation cones, fountain statues or other street architecture.
Everything is art
From the right perspective, almost anything can be art: the smallest detail of something mundane and quotidian can contain beauty if you look for it.
Next time you take a trip, try looking beyond the street art, famous architecture and beautiful castles and observe the small things around you that make daily life possible. What you see might surprise you.
P.S. As this trip was only a weekend, I just took a small day bag, but for a longer trip you might want to consider checking out this article about what to pack for a European summer trip!