Winter in Warsaw drags on a loooong time. By March, expatriates are either traveling to somewhere sunny, commiserating with each other in coffee shops and bars, going quietly out of their minds, or some combination of the above.
The seasons here are not like the seasons back home: there are no surprise warm days in February here. In fact, there is very little sun at all. There is something about the weather patterns around Warsaw that causes the clouds (and smog) to just hang there for unrelenting weeks at a time. The crocuses, daffodils, and forsythia wisely stay hidden until they are good and ready, then when the sun appears, they all come out virtually at once.
This, I have realized, is a major reason that Easter is such a big deal in Central and Eastern Europe. It clearly has a great deal to do with natural pagan joy at the end of winter.
The transformation began about two weeks ago—and not a minute too soon, as far as I was concerned. I have never been a huge fan of winter, but Warsaw is definitely over my limit. Live and learn. I’m just very happy that I never have to live through another one of these cold, dark, six-month winters again!
The trees are now flowering, so sneezy pollen season has also begun. Not a problem. Pollen can be washed off and doesn’t have potentially permanent health effects. I’ll take a little pollen over whatever crud is in that smog any time. Any time.
Spring is also time for the Airing of the Babies. The parks over the weekend were crowded with strollers and toddlers. All wearing hats despite the mid-60s weather and sunshine. Small children in Central Europe must wear hats, you see, due to dangerous breezes. 🙂
Of course, children are not the only thing being aired. Blankets, pillows, and duvets are hanging out of windows.
Over the weekend, we walked through the parks to Nowy Swiat for an outdoor lunch and people-watching, marking the official beginning of my favorite season in Poland: the six months during which we can be outdoors and enjoy the beautiful parks and café culture.
I have about 90 days left in the countdown now: I’m so glad that I will be leaving on a high note!