Warsaw’s lively strait, the Vistula, is fringed on either side, though more remarkably on its unregulated east side, by wild growth. There hasn’t been (or at least only sporadically) the concretisation of its banks that most European capital cities have already seen in the form of waterfront ‘regenerations’. Looking eastwards across the river towards Praga, the land rises naturally from the water’s edge up to the city. There are no grand harbour developments, no colourful yachting marinas, no extreme watersports clubs, just a growth of wild life that stretches the city from country to country, and forest to forest, as if Warsaw weren’t there.

(Top) Looking north to the city from Siekierki Bridge. Taken on June 24th, 2008.

(Bottom) Taken from the plane, at the beginning of May, on the approach to Okecie Airport, this photo shows, quite remarkably, the River Vistula in all her untamed glory. The diamond-shaped island to the bottom centre of the picture is, together with its smaller satellites above it, known as the Swiderskie Islands on account of the River Swider that runs into the Vistula on its east side. On the west (left) side of the Vistula towards the bottom left-hand corner is the small village of Gassy. On a warm spring day, with fields and trees in full blossom, the cycle down here from Warsaw along the quiet back roads is redolent of cycling through the south of France. Once upon a time there was a ferry service connecting Gassy with the larger town Karczew (seen here in the bottom right of the photo), but it appears to have been disbanded. Otwock, to the north-east of Karczew, is just out of view.

From the epicentre of the city, on a wet day in June, looking east across the Vistula towards Praga, with the copper-topped horns of St. Florian's (Kosciol sw. Floriana) poking out from the bush.

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