Sunday, 11 March 2012

A foray to a forest

Early March, sun is shining high and the worst of the winter’s gone (expect another winter timeline next week). When this kind of weather comes in, the nature beckons and first intimations of winter bring on getting out and breathing in the pre-spring air.

Last Saturday (8 days ago), I had luck to find two spare hours (free time is and will be scarce commodity for me) to pop over to the fringes of the nearest reserve of intact wildlife.

I set off from home at half past two p.m., marched one kilometre to catch a 709 bus, rode three stops and got off at the corner of ul. Puławska and ul. Jagielska. The very wait for the bus stop dragged on for over a quarter – public transport in the suburbs is often unreliable, but after all I didn’t feel like going there by a fume-emitting vehicle and it was still too cold to have a bike shake-down day. Having alighted the bus, I headed east, passed by a prestigious Laguna estate and having walked some 500 metres, I had the forest to my left.

I sauntered on, with a view to find a monument commemo- rating fatalities of terrible plane crash which happened here in May 1987. Having forgotten to take a map, I didn’t find it, but located the property from which the news of the crashed airplane came to the fire brigade. It’s Jagielska 2, in 1987 there was a rural dwelling here, in 2012 you can find here an international private school. A fine location, I must say. I wonder how children can get here, if none of their parents, nor any other childminder can give them a lift…

I strolled some 200 metres further east, to spot the official entrance to the forest. As I later learnt at home, I could turn there left, walk less than half a kilometre north and spot the monument I was searching for. Tough luck, I’ll be there before and after the 25th anniversary of the disaster anyway to commemorate the victims of the most tragic (in terms of death toll) Polish plane accident after World War II.

I was curious to see what kind of development can be found near the south-western peripheries of Las Kabacki. One can spot there well-looking detached house built over the last twenty years, with well-groomed gardens. A blot on the landscape are old, often derelict, dilapidated houses, some looking like summerhouses.

Many on big plots of land occupied by wrecked or almost falling-apart greenhouses. One day these areas will be rearranged; at the present there is nothing but a disorder here.

Between ul. Jagielska and the forest lie empty plots of land, waiting for a wealthy buyer, eager to purchase land for their own residence or to built a row of terraced houses for sale. The upsides of the location are vicinity of the forest, clean air and silence. It gets worse when it comes to commuting. A bus stop is two kilometres away, road is full of potholes, in the winter it has a low priority in snow-clearing. Unless the weather is good, you have no choice, but to use a car and spend money on petrol… Prices of properties in the suburbs must reflect time and money wasted on long commuting…

And the last element of the suburban landscape are spacious, detached, or semi-detached mansions, usually built in clusters. Most of those I noticed were uninhabited, many unfinished inside, and put up for sale. Until last Saturday I hadn’t seen a single sign of crisis on the Polish property market similar to those in countries affected by property market bubbles and here strikes a surprise. Enormous, yet spirit-lacking and anything, but cosy, houses no one wants to buy. It’s all a matter of price. These days in Poland supply and demand hardly ever meet.

As I was approaching ul. Puławska on my way to the bus stop, I spotted a plane. Blinded by the sun, I couldn’t discern what airline it was run by. And now a question to you – an Ukrainian as colours suggest? I’ve never heard of Aerosvit…

The bus stops near ul Jagielska have been temporarily (temporary solutions last long) moved in the summer of 2010 for the period when a footbridge over ul. Puławska is rebuilt. The old footbridge, eaten up by rust was torn down in mid-2010, almost two years have gone by and construction of the new one is not yet completed. I noticed stairs are not ready – they don’t reach the ground, lifts are still not fit to run and no one bothers to finish this hapless venture off.

A big board next to the footbridge informs me the modernisation of this and many other footpaths in Warsaw was co-financed by the EU… And what’s the benefit. Completed footbridges are closed off for months as urzędasy in the town hall are hanging back on issuing a use permit and soon after the facilities are opened some buttheads vandalise it. For a while local residents won’t be able to use the footbridge and drivers’ life will be made harder by one more set of traffic lights. Oddly enough, the light for cars turns red not only when someone presses a button and wants to cross the road, but light alternate in regular intervals – another absurdity…

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