memorial

Warsaw Uprising Memorial

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The Warsaw Uprising Memorial commemorates the uprising in the Warsaw in 1944, which was a final stand by the Polish resistance as the German forces retreated and the Soviet forces advanced. It was a brutal 63 days (the longest military engagement by a resistance movement – ever!) during which Germany retreated but the Soviets did very little to assist. In fact the Soviets stopped their advance to allow the Germans to raze the city before they left.Cds IMG 3128

This memorial reminds us how important the sewers were to the resistance in being able travel through Warsaw undetected.

Monument to the musicians

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This monument remembers the street musicians of Warsaw. Small bands like this one were very popular before World War 2, and today are hardly to be heard. The monument is in the Praga area, across the river from Old Town. Besides the monument, there is not much to see in Praga (at least not that I could find). But it made for a nice loop in one of my Warsaw runs.

If you have a Polish cell phone, you can SMS to 7141 with the text KAPELA and the tune number (from 1 to 100), and the band will play the tune (the track list is on the drum).

Chopin memorial

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When I first went to the Chopin Memorial at then Royal Baths Park in Warsaw it was to see a free convert, and it was crowded with people. The next time I went was in a midmorning run in the middle of the week, and it was empty.

I am not quite sure what to make out of the memorial – it is a rather strange shape, but nevertheless it is a lovely park – very quiet and peaceful when there is no convert taking place.

Washington – monuments and the mall

Today and tomorrow Lois has Toastmasters Training, which gives me two days to myself. So, I have been doing a lot of travelling. The tour buses are hop on – hop off, which is really great!

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I am currently sitting in Washington Park, waiting for the next bus. I started the day by visiting the Jefferson Memorial, which is a large rotunda-shaped memorial. It is centred by a statue of Thomas Jefferson, which is about 19′ tall. The memorial is right on the edge of the Tidal Basin by the Potomac River, and is a very cool and reflective place to spend some time.

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Just next to the Jefferson Memorial is the Roosevelt Memorial. Of interest here is that it shows Roosevelt in a wheel chair, after he was crippled by Polio – attended to by his dog! The also have in interesting quote by Eleanor Roosevelt:

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Franklin’s illness gave him strength and courage he had not had before. He had to think out the fundamentals of living and learn the greatest of all lessons-infinite patience and never-ending persistence.

The entire quite is written in very large braille.

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Next was the Arlington Cemetery, which was enormous. It was very sobering to see row upon row of white tombstones, containing memorials to people from many wars – amongst them Vietnam, Korea, and World War 2. I saw the grave of John Kennedy.

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It contains a flame which was lit by his wife Jackie at his funeral in 1963. She is now buried alongside him. They also had a changing of the guard which was not very exciting. The graveyard is a stark reminder of our mortality.

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The Vietnam Memorial is very sad. It is a gently sloped pathway, with a wall containing a list of all US servicemen that died in the Vietnam war. At the beginning of the pathway, you see only a few names. By the time you are in the middle, you are dwarfed by the wall. Every few steps, you can see a bunch of flowers, or a photograph of a veteran.

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The Lincoln Memorial (there are lots of memorials in DC!) is at the West end of the mall, overlooking the Reflecting Pool, and providing a stunning view of the Washington Monument and the Capital at the east end of the Mall. I believe that the design is based on the temple of Delphi in Greece.

Right, here comes my bus…

…my legs are really sore from all the walking. I have just found my favourite beer (Bass from Burton on Trent in UK) in the hotel bar!

This afternoon was a bit quieter – with a visit to the National Cathedral. It was built in the Gothic style, and is very reminiscent of Notre Damme. However, building started in 1907, and was only completed in 1990! The building does really look very old. It is a quiet spot where you can sit and contemplate the world.

More to follow later…

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