On Warsaw’s cobblestone alleys, along the banks of the Vistula River, you’ll find one of the city’s oldest – and most charming – squares. Old Town’s distinctively colorful buildings, medieval architecture and galleries, street vendors and Polish eateries make for a picture-perfect afternoon.
“It’s impossible,” someone once wrote of Old Town, “to not fall in love with this place.”
Designed in the late 13th and early 14th centuries, Old Town was destroyed by the German Army during World War II. Its rebirth marks the resilience of the Polish people: They sifted through the rubble, salvaging as many original bricks, stonework and other decorative elements as possible. Somehow, someway, they meticulously restored Old Town to its original grandeur.
Friday was a day to explore Old Town – to enjoy the soothing sounds of accordions and church bells; to savor pierogies and espresso at an outside cafe; to marvel at the beauty of amber, a fossilized tree resin that seems to be sold in every form and in every shop in Old Town. There are amber cuff-links, amber bracelets, amber necklaces, amber letter openers.
Today, our Global Village group will finally meet face-to-face. We’ll gather at a Polish restaurant for a culinary lesson, preparing a meal and meeting the deserving Polish family we’ll be helping during our stay here.
I’m looking forward to beginning the meaningful work that lies ahead.
Mark A. Waligore is the President of the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity/DeKalb. This is his first Global Village trip, and he’ll be writing about his experiences all week long..