Ryszard Kapuściński's favourite morning promenade across Pole Mokotowskie park and the environs of the National Library has been commemorated as 'Kapuściński's Path", a route that is now open to the public...
Ryszard Kapuściński's favourite morning promenade across Pole Mokotowskie park and the environs of the National Library has been commemorated as "Kapuściński's Path", a route that is now open to the public.
Ochota district authorities drew the idea from writings found in the author's archives after his death. These writings, published in book form by the Agora publishing house and reprinted in the Gazeta Wyborcza daily, are entitled My Morning Walk. The text was most likely written in May 1996, the accompanying photographs are probably from the same period. It takes the reader along on a day in the life of the reporter in Warsaw, in between one trip abroad and the next.
Ryszard Kapuściński's walks followed a regular route. He began on Prokuratorska Street, turning at Wawelska and heading on to Pole Mokotowskie. The essay contains impressions and thoughts that arise from an ongoing observation of the neighbourhood. The writer's life was linked to the area since 1946 - the first Kapuściński family home was a small Finnish-style house on Wawelska Street.
"In 1945, a cluster of small, wooden single-family Finnish houses rose up at the corner of Wawelska Street and Niepodległości Avenue. Just after the war, we were assigned such a house, because at the time my father was working for the Communal Construction Company (Społeczne Przedsiębiorstwo Budowlane). This cramped house without a bathroom, without central heating, was a luxury, it was a joy, since hitherto we'd been crowding (as a family of four) into a tiny kitchen, in ruins, in the area of cement and brick warehouses by Srebrna Street, near the so-called 'Siberia' railroad (people were sent off to Siberia from here)," recalled Kapuściński.
The Kapuścińskis' house is still intact and an important element of this route. In the future it will become a museum dedicated to the writer. It continues along a dirt path by the Municipal Sanitation Department, then veers in the direction of the playground and circles the pond, continuing on in the direction of the National Library. Along the route are 14 points providing information on the writer, with quotes from his writing and photographs.
The route begins just beside the electronics market at the corner of Wawelska Street and Niepodległości Avenue. The start is marked with coloured post symbolising the first "chapter" of the route. At the very end, along the stairs leading up to the Library building, beside the Neolithic circle of boulders, the titles of Kapuściński's books are posted.
For Kapuściński, Pole Mokotowskie (Mokotów Fields) is permeated with memories. In My Morning Walk he describes passing through cluster of fruit trees, an unusual sight in a public park.
"An orchard, here in a public park? Yes, because these are trees planted by Mr. Stelmach, the tramway conductor, who turns out to have also been a gardener and planter. Mr. Stelmach is no longer living, but his trees are still standing, and the apples, pears and plums will be picked by local children in summer, and adventurous drunks too, who gather here in the gentle shade to have a bottle of cheap booze."
Ryszard Kapuściński wrote about the idea of My Morning Walk in his notes: "I'm making a circle of my life, I'm circling the world 1945-1995."
"Rysiek would have been fascinated with this path. The route for him was something magical, inspiring. During his morning walk, Ryszard pondered what he would write that day, so the path did have a sort of intermediary influence on his work. There is something very touching in the fact that a traveler has been commemorated not by a plaque or the naming of street, but by his own path," said Alicja Kapuścińska, the late writer's wife, at a National Library conference about the project.
Source: PAP, warszawa.gazeta.pl