I wasn't really visiting Warsaw often while I lived in Poland. There was always something about this city that used to put me off a big time. Well until my night/weekend trips there. I totally fell in love with this place. Dusty streets, mixture of old, grey, communist architecture and new, shiny skyscrapers, old and new metro, tunnels, drains, cranes, bridges - city has so much to offer.
It was my first visit there, when I climbed/ explored something. And it was amazing!
The story starts about a month before, when I was flying back from Warsaw Chopin Airport. While on the train I saw the crane for the first time. And it was love at first sight hahaha. It was so perfect, right by the airport, but I had no time to climb it then and I couldn't really check it properly.. . I had to wait and come back to do it... I booked the tickets back straight away and spent another 3 weeks constantly thinking about climbing it. Of course I did my research. I was sure that the crane is part of the new hotel building site - right opposite the new Terminal A at the airport. I even found some pictures online, located cameras and access, planned everything step by step. I knew that it was a bit tricky to climb the crane which was exposed and also so close to the terminal but I decided to give it a go...
I told Mr Black about it - saying well it won't be easy but still its not a part of the airport, so I will be fine hahaha
And then after weeks of thinking and planning I finally arrived, with a really bad cold, but full of excitement. Just after midnight I left the terminal and headed straight to the new hotel where my crane was supposed to be. And well...anything that can go wrong, will go wrong - crane wasn't there, but it didn't disappear. It was me who made a completely wrong assumption... The crane I saw from the train, was actually in the middle of new part of Terminal A. And well it couldn't be any worse. I had no idea how to access the site, then how to locate the crane, cause I could only see it from outside. And I had this moment of doubt, that maybe I should give up at this point and go to centre and at least do some rooftops. But then I decided to give it a go. I figured out that I had two levels to check, and find the access. And I needed to do it quick. And cameras well, they were everywhere. At some point I gave up on looking for them. I checked the first level walking past at least 5 but.. no luck there. I had to go back and again enter the terminal and move to a different level. And it was like a last chance, only one more level, again cameras every few metres, and finally right next to one of the them I saw my access. I had to count to three several times before I squeezed under the fence.
Then it took me ages to actually find the crane... At some point I was right next to the terminal, looking through some covering sheet at people drinking coffee at Costa. And of course security was on site - could hear them few times while moving from one to the other level.. and then when I was just about to give up I found it - the crane. It didn't take me long to climb it, although I had a moment of rabbit in the headlights when I triggered some sensor and one of the bright lights come off. While climbing it I could again see terminal through the windows, people sleeping, wandering around, waiting for their planes. When I reached the top I found myself really close to the control tower. I think I've never been that stressed while exploring, felt like being constantly watched. Most of the time I spent crawling around, admiring planes, taking photos. I could see these funny small airport cars (always remind me of some LEGO cars) driving around. At this time a night there wasn't many planes landing or taking off, saw two and one helicopter , and honestly didn't want to spend too much time up there.
A few pics:
The Control Tower
Inside the crane driver's cabin
Then I climbed down , and again I couldn't find the way out, completely forgot which level it was. After some time I managed to find it, squeezed under the fence, walked by camera again and headed to terminal. And it was the longest walk ever, I felt sick and expected to be stopped at some point, was sure that somebody saw me. But no. Nothing like that happened, I couldn't believe that.. Was I lucky? I think so.. I had a coffee at the same Costa I saw before and then headed to the centre...
Some time ago one of my friends, who lives in Warsaw, sent me a picture of a Cosmopolitan tower crane. It looked very promising, so after my airport mission I headed straight there... And of course crane was already gone I started walking around the building trying to find the way in, while doing it I saw three oldish working girls standing nearby and smoking and watching me.. They looked local so I went to ask them for a lighter, and then had a quick chat with while looking at the building. They were really nice, a bit tipsy and actually the greatest source of info I could ever find... They told me that they saw me wandering around and were quite curious what I was actually doing there in the middle of night...
It turned out that they knew exactly how many builders are on site (they even knew their names - I wonder how ) and also the most important thing - that one of them is taking some rubbish to the skip every 20-30 minutes. So after 20 minutes I was in, simply running through the opened doors. And then 44 floors up.. I got to the roof and it was awful, there was no roof at all, tried to take some pictures but couldn't even set up my tripod properly.
I was already exhausted, could hear builders few levels down, couldn't make myself climbing down over 40 floors again, so simply took the lift .. and run, and nobody stopped me again...
I saw this crane from Cosmpolitan Tower. I actually saw two, but decided to climb this one mostly because I wanted to take some shots of the tower I just climbed. I took me few minutes to get there, and first thing I saw was an old security guy watching football in his little hut next to the building site. Good sign I thought, cause he looked quite occupied. I quickly found my way in, and while squeezing (again) under the fence I got a horrible cramps in my left calf... aaaa so typical, I felt like some injured soldier trying to move far from the fence, avoiding the security guy... I sat close to the crane, put my tripod next to me and had a rest for a few minutes. Ready to climb I reached to pick my tripod up and realised that it disappeared,it was a metre down in the big hole.. And of course I coulnd't reach it.The security guy was still watching football, when I crawled by his hut trying to find something to get the tripod out. And I found - a spade, and it worked. I was surprised how good was the view from up there, I spent some time admiring it, just enough to drink a beer and take some photos.
I relaxed for a bit and climbed down, squeezed under the fence right next to the police car driving past whoops hahaha, rabbit in the headlights again, I froze for a second and then pretended that I dropped something. And it worked, they looked at me and drove off... I deserved another coffee, It was already 5 in the morning and after the adrenaline rush I started to feel really tired. I went to the train station, had a chat with some homeless guy (really high) while eating sandwich and drinking coffee...
It was one of these amazing nights when everything seems to be doable, and got lucky with whatever you do. Both cranes disappeared within next couple of months and the tower now has been completed and occupied.