Dworzec Zachodni-New! Dworzec Zachodni-New!

Admission: I’d filed the reboot of Zachodnia Station under things I’d never see in my lifetime. But here it is, glinting gloriously having been opened this week.

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Seen as a shark-nosed glass structure rising from the ground, the 1,300 sq/m scheme marks the first stage of a project that will ultimately see two 14-storey office blocks added to the plot.

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It’s striking, and a far cry from the Zachodnia I remember 15 years ago on my first trip to Poland – I was a young ’un in those days, and travelling around Europe with a big, red backpack that towered above me (and occasionally toppled me sideways). Still foggy from the overnight journey from Amsterdam, I jumped out at the first sign saying Warsaw: my first impressions of the city, they were the drab, defeated form of the Zachodnia Hostel.

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Actually, I’m glad it’s still around. Taking my first baby steps around Zachodnia all those years ago, I did so with trepidation. It must have been 6 in the morning, and the place was all doom and darkness (and, even, the odd pool of blood). I learnt, much later, that Bowie wrote his track Warszawa while shuffling around this very area. And since then, I’ve learned to love everything about the city: what it is, what it was and what it shall be… So this post, let it be as much for the Zachodnia we loathed, to the Zachodnia we will love. Cheers Warsaw, you strange little creature!

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(words and photos: AW)

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