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Anne Applebaum

No, it isn’t Oxford Street, the Champs-Elysées, or even Fifth Avenue. A new survey shows that the most popular shopping street in the world is … Nowy Świat. Where is that? In Warsaw, Poland, of course.

A recent survey has shown that the busiest shopping street in the world is not in London, New York, or Paris, but in Warsaw. It’s called Nowy Świat (pronounced [′novi ′viət]), which means New World. It is incredible but 14,000 Poles walk down this main street every hour.

It is a lovely place to shop. The pavements are very wide. There are statues, palaces, attractive town houses, exclusive cafés, and high-class restaurants. The buildings are not too high. They look old, but in fact the whole city was rebuilt after World War II. There are any billboards or neon lights. There is any load music, and there are many tourists. People think that Polish shops have nothing to sell, so nobody comes shopping here. The world doesn’t know about this paradise for shoppers – yet.

It is now possible to buy almost everything in Warsaw. There are a lot of shops from the West, but the interesting thing is that Polish manufacturers are now producing high quality goods. They are good because they are not mass produced for world consumption. Nowy Świat has a lot of small shops, specialist shops, and chic shops. It hasn’t got the huge department stores that sell the same things everywhere. If you want an exquisite hand-made suit, Nowy Świat is the place to go. It isn’t cheap. You will pay up to ₤1,000. For beautiful French baby clothes, go to Petit Bateau. You will pay ₤50 for a pair of blue jeans for a baby. A dress for a baby girl is about ₤90. At Désa, a famous antique shop, a desk costs ₤5,000 and a 19th century Russian icon is ₤200. Not everything is expensive. At the shop Pantera you can buy leather goods – handbags, purses, coats, and belts. Cepelia specializes in folk art. There are also book shops and record shops. And there are a lot of small boutiques that sell men’s and women’s clothes that aren’t too expensive.

If you are tired, stop at Café Blikle. This is a fashionable place to meet. You’ll find a lively atmosphere, and a lot of well-known Poles. The frozen yoghurt and ice-cream are excellent, and its famous doughnuts are delicious.

It is possible to travel the world and find the same things for sale in every country. But Warsaw is different because its shops are unique – and they’re in Nowy Świat.


Poland [΄poulənd] Польша

Warsaw [΄wo: so:] Варшава



Mial Antony, Milsted David

It is generally believed that the English are more formal than they really are. In fact, in day-to-day contact with each other they are less inclined to formality than the French or the Germans. The custom of men deferring to women is now some-what on the wane, thanks to the strenuous efforts of the apostles of political correctness who see it more as condescension than consideration. It is no longer in fashion to jump to your feet when a woman enters the room, whether or not there are enough chairs.

However informal they are in their manners or address, when it comes to physical contact, the English are still deeply reserved. They are not a tactile people. When greeting each other, men will shake hands on a first meeting but probably avoid doing so on subsequent ones. The preferred English handshake is a brief, vigorous affair with no hint of lingering. Women may kiss on one or both cheeks; if they do, the miss-kiss is preferred. Men kiss women in greeting, but only on the cheek. Most Englishmen never hug or kiss other men. They leave that to football players and foreigners. In public places, the English make strenuous efforts not to touch strangers even by accident. If such an accident should occur, apologies are fulsome but should never be used as an excuse for further conversation.

Foreigners look with amazement at the English queue. It is not their way of doing things at all. But for the English, queuing is a way of life. Many still consider that one of the few plus points of the last war was the proliferation of queues. There were queues for everything. People would join one and then ask the person in front what the queue was for. And that is the secret of English queue-mania. A queue is the one place where it is not considered bad manners to talk to a stranger without being introduced.

The English appear to be a deeply serous people. This gives an added piquancy to the English sense of humour. For it comes as a surprise to foreigners to find that it exists at all. English humour, like the will-o’-the wisp, refuses to be caught and examined and just when you think you have cracked it, you realize that you have been duped once again. The English love irony and expect others to appreciate it too.


will-o’-the wisp [,wil əð΄wisp] неуловимый предмет или человек

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