En route, I passed through Plac Trzech Krzyzy which was being readied for the ten-kilometer fun run that would take place this afternoon. Above: St Alexander's Church looks particularly splendid in the strong August sunlight.
Warsaw's famous palm tree, in the centre of Rondo de Gaulle'a, on the crossroads of Al. Jerozolimskie and Nowy Swiat. Standing there since 2002, it's become a symbol of the new, open, youthful, creative capital city. Click here for its history.
Arriving on Nowy Swiat early (the giełda fotograficzna being so disappointing - see post below), I sat down at a cafe and watched the morning strollers along Warsaw's most prestigious street. I observed the following. Warsaw's getting cosmopolitan. People who visually I'd took for tourists from Scandinavia, America, France or Italy passed me by speaking perfect Polish. Once you could spot a Polish man a mile off due to his clumsy dress sense - today, in Warsaw at least - this is not the case. Indigenous young couples, old couples, families were walking in the city centre, like they do in Spain (el paseo). Walking, not shopping. This is so un-English! Who'd take their family into central London on a sunny Sunday morning?
Above: the stretch of Nowy Swiat between ul. Smolna and Foksal has been paved with grass for the day, for the Piknik z Klimatem event at which I was speaking. Giant blocks of ice were melting in the summer sun, symbolic of what's happening in the Arctic (the ice cap will have mostly gone by the summer of 2013). I was particularly impressed by the speeches from the Danish ambassador and the Swedish commercial counsellor - those countries are so far ahead of Poland in terms of energy use best practice. Sweden, for instance, gets 48% of its energy from renewable sources. Poland - a mere 5%. Climate change is something we must all address ourselves to. No more ifs or buts.