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If Warsaw is to be discovered, you need explanations. A city so affected by WWII and then by communists’ engineering is not self-explanatory. Most cities you get to know using analogies: you see buildings, squares and by comparing them to other cities you understand. In Warsaw nothing is what it seems: the Royal Castle is forty years old, the interiors are, however, original. They, though, date back only to the second half of the seventeenth century, as then the whole interior of the castle was taken to Sweden. Where are the famous locations of “The Pianist” by Roman Polański, a stunning film presenting lot of Warsaw and its Jewish community during WWII? Most of the original locations completely disappeared and because of this they shot it in Praga, district seemingly forgotten by God and people and thus not destroyed during the war. The Palace of Culture and Science, according to many a symbol of Warsaw, for others – only a symbol of erstwhile Soviet domination. The form of a “Soviet Empire State Building” is dressed in Polish decorations so you can wonder whether Polish spirit became Soviet, or exclusively it is Soviet spirit that arrived here in disguise to seduce and intimidate.
Living in Warsaw, being brought up here – you begin to ask yourself questions. Why does a street in the city centre end abruptly, to continue where you do not expect it? Why has Warsaw southern city-centre retained so much of its pre-war glamour, when northern city centre comprises almost exclusively of modern buildings? Why such divisions: the odd side of a street has all of its pre-war monuments, the even one has none?
So we kept wondering, as well as we kept wandering – being after Warsaw we tried to replace bewilderment with understanding, which, admittedly, turned into love. We felt more comfortable, but our curiosity had already been boosted.
A couple of times we hanged out with some friends from abroad and showed them round a bit. They proved to enjoy it and we saw how inspiring it is to affect someone’s “stream of consciousness”.
So, out of passion we became professional guides. At some point certain circumstances made us coalesce...