Editor’s Notes: Poland- Just the beginning…

We value featuring content from all over the world here Pedestrian Space but our home base (and places visited) tend to take center stage as we focus on our own experience walking and engaging with the city. 

Which is why our upcoming move to Poland is big news for content here.

Soon after deciding on this move, we began to reach out to our network of existing contacts in Poland (as well as newly developed ones).  We have been intrigued to begin learning about many aspects of different Polish cities.

We’ve been learning about the beauty of seaside Gdańsk (one of the oldest cities in Poland), its historical significance for social movements as well as the dynamism of the entire Tri-City area, including the cities of Gdynia and Sopot. 

We have learned that Warsaw can be fast-paced and hectic but is also extremely green and rich with parks. We have been getting detailed and very interesting local perspectives about the capital city’s different neighborhoods, learning about the northern green neighborhood of Żoliborz, southern popular neighborhoods of Mokotów and Wilanów, the buzzing city life of Śródmieście as well as Powiśle.  We’ve been hearing about the modern character of Wola, the beauty and soul of the older district of Ochota, the neighborhood of Praga Południe and many examples of revitalization in formerly marginalized Praga Północ.

We have learned that the term ‘Varsovian’ implies deep generational heritage in Warsaw (or at least being born there- as well as relating to studies about Warsaw) and that locals self refer as “Warszawiak/Warszawiacy”.  We have also heard a bit about the legend of why the capital was moved from Kraków to Warsaw (look forward to hearing more….) and of course about the city’s convenient central location.

Poland Base Map, Source: Creative Commons

We have been getting great perspectives about transportation and mobility in various cities in Poland, with a focus on mobility in Warsaw and Kraków – from commute times, public transit options and efficiency as well as walkability of neighborhoods.

We’ve been learning about Kraków (our next city of residence), its history-rich environment, beloved Old Town and Market Square, historic Jewish quarter, and prime location near the Tatra mountains.  We have heard numerous references to Wawel castle and of course the Vistula river in people’s reflections on the city. We have enjoyed hearing about Kraków’s more “romantic and charming” side, where “life goes slower”, is permeated with a rich artistic atmosphere with great cafe life, restaurants and cellar bars. 

We have also been hearing about the city’s smog problem, improved over the years but still present and particularly critical in Wintertime.

We have also learned that there is a bit of a “city battle” between Warsaw and Kraków between locals of each and interestingly this was reflected early on in our own home- with my husband angling for relocation to Kraków and me to Warsaw (though we are both happy to be moving to the former….to begin with!)

We have heard about Wrocław’s lively spirit, a bit about Poznań, Katowice as well as multiple perspectives on Łódź- a city which seems to elicit a truly broad spectrum of opinions and reflections as well as noted for contemporary, ongoing revitalisation and central location. 

And this has just been the very beginning!  We are truly fascinated to have already been able to engage in so many interesting dialogues about various aspects of several Polish cities. It probably goes without saying but we are looking forward to arriving, walking the cities of Poland and further dialogue with many individuals there.

Annika, Founder & Editor at pedestrianspace.org