Well, we all trolled off to Konstancin yesterday to get ourselves some fresh air. Konstancin is a village just south of Warsaw – go to Wilanow and keep going. It is a place where rich people can build villas in the woods but still commute to Warsaw. By the time they have finished building and occupying the ridiculously large ‘new town’ at Wilanow, the commute from this side of town will be a bit of a joke. Still, it remains a popular place for Volvos, Porsche and worrying about how to heat the swimming pool. Traditionally, Konstancin is known as a place for ‘recuperation’ from various sicknesses, a place with a good micro-climate where sick people can relax and take in some good air. The result is that today it is a bit of a mish-mash of derelict properties awaiting purchase and redevelopment, fancy mansions of various sizes & styles and state run hospitals or clinics.
We parked the car close to the park, headed out into the nearby housing area and then round in a big circle back to the park. Ulica Graniczna has more than its fair share of derelict buildings, some of them obviously quite grand in their day.
This one with signs saying “Stop living in here!”
I’m not sure what the problem is here because these are prime plots of land. I’ve got to assume either the owners are too greedy, the ownership is unclear or they are in some way owned or have restrictions placed upon them by the “health authorities” because of the location. Otherwise, I can’t see why they have not been purchased and developed. Most of these have been in this condition for many years. The architecture of these derelict buildings is often very interesting and gives a glimpse into better days gone by when they were in their prime. This one with the decorative wooden balcony that, as far as I know, is a mountain thing but I have seen also in “healthy places” such as Konstancin and Chiechocinek. EDIT – I’m told this wooden balcony is called “National Style” architecture and comes from the early 20th century when Poles were looking for an architectural identity (and smoking too much pot!). Obviously it had limited appeal.
Cheek by jowl with all this ramshackle real estate are some fine homes ranging from this daring modern style
to things more…Mediterranean inspired
or what I would consider to be ‘traditional’ Polish woody-suburbian style
Of course, the vast majority of streets are mud tracks as this requires a certain amount of cooperation between neighbours which usually ends in handbag throwing, no agreement and no road! Mind you, a few of them are at least have pavements;
Turn the corner from the mansions and suddenly you’re back to the good old ‘weekend hut’ plots
and the health service recuperation homes, this one called “The White House”
One of the disadvantages of living in such a mixed-up area is that from the outside you can appear to be something of a prisoner inside your own plot. Everything is designed to keep other people out, all of the big houses have guard huts and CCTV. If I had come by the money to build my mansion in a fair and legal manner and not made too many enemies along the way (one might ask how many people living in such houses that could apply to?) I would certainly prefer to live a less ‘nervous’ kind of existence when relaxing at home. All this blocking people out doesn’t really make for a nice open neighbourhood: