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28 August, 2008

Warszawa's wild side?

Bizarrely, the Guardian recommends that visitors to the Polish capital cross the river to the truly old (as opposed to reconstructed in the 1950s) district of Praga, passing the 'stack-a-prole' high-rise developments to experience "the real Warsaw".  After dark.

Warszawa, Poland. ©NRTLook; I wish the local tourist board well, and hope they're able to rehabilitate the area one day, but as recently as 2005 I found even the wide main streets genuinely scary at night, and H., a Warszawa resident, wouldn't even dream of visiting alone.

From a cosy office in Central London, it probably seems dreadfully exciting to direct the mildly adventurous to trendy, 'undiscovered' parts of Eastern Europe, and no doubt it sells newspapers, but it seems a little irresponsible to instill a false sense of security; Praga mightn't be as bad as its reputation, but nor is it 'theme park bohemian' – a bit edgy but ultimately safe. Some areas are little-known for a genuine reason.

(Click the image for an enlargement.)

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