Running. In Warsaw.


The hotel lobby. (~2006)
High cathedral ceilings. Dark wood grain walls.  Turkish Rugs that run and run.
There’s a whiff of lemon in the air, the wood floors scrubbed by the overnight crew.
The Bellman, adorned with a red cap, offers a “God Morning” in broken English, and quickly drops his head back to his book.
A step back in time.

There’s no mistaking Warsaw (Poland, not Indiana) for the youth and flamboyance of Barcelona or the hushed old money wealth of Geneva or the modern efficiency and hum of Tokyo.

Warsaw is the Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler. Long past his prime and wearing deep scars of bone jarring defeat. Tired, hurt and a heaviness that lingers.

It was a slow run 9 years ago.
An early Sunday morning in autumn.
A single 40-minute run cutting deep furrows which are turned over and over again.

Babushkas with their kerchiefs shuffling with their shopping bags.
Solitary old men with hats and wool coats sipping hot coffee at the Diner.
Nondescript burly concrete buildings devoid of color.
The next generations, green shoots rising, load onto grey street cars with their overhead wires, snailing down city center.
Giant hulking and rusting cast iron statues, commemorating the great Wars.
The wide, slow moving Vistula River motioning that this too will pass.

As the jet lifted from the runway leaving Warsaw, on a late evening flight home, a super moon beamed into the port hole and illuminated the city.

And there it is.

Not fast like Barcelona.
Not rich like Geneva.
Not efficient like Tokyo.
No, not all that.
But, this city, Warsaw, just won’t lie down.
Warsaw, my kind of town.



  1. “green shoots rising” – yes. and i love the comparison to micky rourke in ‘the wrestler.’ i admire people and places that refuse to give up.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Warsaw as Mickey Rourke…brilliant. ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  3. With a risk of being repetitive…great writing! And right on target. We could’ve been there around the same time, only that my walk was late at night. And I have a coffee mug to prove it.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Love the grittiness and strength!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. ‘Tired, hurt and a heaviness that lingers.’ This is so true of the people in Warsaw. They have learned to keep going. An amazing memory for you. Thanks for taking us there.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What made you think of this nine years later?

    And, holy crap, you’ve been everywhere. It seems like sometimes you get a taste of the place and sometimes you’re just a stone skipping off the surface.

    Liked by 1 person

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