Though the mercury, this past week, has dropped to minus twenty, it hasn’t felt that cold. Perhaps because there haven't been any clouds or wind, and there has been lots of sun, or perhaps simply because we native Glaswegians, unlike the gentle Pole or effeminate Englishman, are as hard as nails, and know what real cold, the stuff that's wrapped in gale-force winds and horizontal rain, (both alien concepts in the landlocked and planed Warsaw), is.

Today, the river was super-frozen, almost arctic. Its ice-slabbed surface was all fractured and broken up highlighting the ebb and flow of ice and the process of freezing and melting that has taken place during the last week. To see such a powerful river as the Vistula frozen from end to end is a sight that is quite indescribable.

In the midst of these shimmering shards of ice were a group of black-headed gulls gathered round a small ice hole. Further over, was a large gathering (some dozen or so) of hooded crows exploring the small mountains and valleys of their new territory. (In Polish, these floes are known as 'kra', which seemed quite appropriate for the vociferous crows).

From the top of Most Poniatowskiego the Vistula’s surface was mottled with meltpools which had re-frozen. Dimpled and scarred, the river now had something of a lunar quality to it.

As the sun lowered in the sky, the trees and buildings cast their shadows across the ice. 5 mute swans flew over my head. If ever there was a bird that could make languid look so graceful it would be the swan. They cleared the bridge by only a few metres. Their wings slowly whipped the air beneath them. I might’ve touched them had I stretched out my hand.

Crows and Kra

Fresh and vital, the frozen River Vistula from Most Poniatowskiego.

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