Dzien dobry! Sorry people, I’ve been insanely busy lately, I barely had time to write.
So, I went to Poland in September, 2013 for the first time. For some reason I was always curious about the country, knowing myself, it must be because of my huge interests in volleyball as it’s one of the most loved sports in Poland. I stayed there for longer than a week, many asked me if it wasn’t too long as they assume there’s nothing much to see, but once again, you’d better not judge that before you actually go there and explore.
Warsaw, the depression.
We visited a lot of parks in Warsaw since we had noticed that they were the most peaceful places to walk around. One day we all were invited by Natasha, the Russian girl who just moved to Warsaw as a student as her university had a party. But then we became in a dilemma. Gustav was eager to go and drink out, but I wasn’t fond of that idea. And guess what, now I regret my decision because it would have been a lot of fun getting to know some local students in Warsaw. But well, that’s how we learn from life, isn’t it?
One day Gustav and I dared to try to our get our hair done in Warsaw. My hair got extremely messy and I couldn’t stand of seeing it anymore. Getting hair done in Poland is super cheap compared to other European countries, so I kinda waited until I got in Poland. Guess what? Despite the language barrier, everything went fine! We were lucky though. Besides Kasia (our stylist), there was Malwina who actually spoke English and helped us to make my hair less messy! Dziękuję bardzo! 😀
Discovered an awesome cafeteria.
Poles kept asking me to go to Krakow before Warsaw, I couldn’t understand why because for me it’s important to visit the capital. I mean capitals aka big cities must be crowded, busy, dirty and difficult to move around, but they have more stories to tell about the country. Back to my travel story, Krakow is definitely the funniest city in Poland to visit. It’s well known as “Poland’s Paris” or “Paris in East”. Well, there must be infinite discussions regarding this though. Czechs wants to keep their capital (Prague) as Paris in East, on the other hand Poles represent Krakow as another east Paris. Krakow’s old town is very beautiful in the daytime. I love how it’s organized. Very easy to walk around and when you feel like drinking, you can just go to a small bar and grab a very nice beer there.
I find it shameful that polish beers aren’t (yet) as loved as Czech and German beers because they are really good and cheap. I hope they somewhat make them more famous soon.
Definitely the most depressing and terrifying place I’ve ever been to in my whole life, nonetheless you gotta visit there once you are in Poland. Don’t get scared or shocked. There’s no future if we don’t know about history.
It’s super easy to go to Auschwitz and come back to Krakow, you can just take a mini bus which is quite cheap. Of note – It’s forbidden to move individually in the museum, which means you have to be in a group, mainly depending on which language you speak. Since there were no groups of my language, I was obliged to join the dutch group as the main language was English. Throwback to the memory, It’s still painful to imagine how scary it must have been for the victims…the massive hate and cruel treatment towards Jewish, Gay and Disabled people.
I got a chance to talk to our guide – Aleksandra (Ola). As she had lived in England for 20 years she speaks English just like her 1st language.
Me – I don’t even want to imagine all the scenes that happened right here. It’s just like a terrible horror movie.
Ola – Yeah I know, I love my job in general but from time to time it gets even more distressing, especially when I take people to this area (Where a big number of children and women were shot.)
You know what, two young dutch girls began to cry all of a sudden. I supposed something really terrible happened but it was just the fact that they couldn’t stand of what they were seeing. The museum represents the portraits of the victims.
After three days in Krakow, I moved to Gdansk. I sort of had a luxury problem thinking where to go next. Gdansk or Wroclaw? Maybe Lodz too? But then one though just had crossed my mind. My polish friend Dariusz lives in Gdansk and I probably should visit and see him.
Gdansk is a fabulous city, well how can I describe it better? The prettiest, calmest and most enjoyable city if you are as calm as the city. Obviously, I liked the Polish capital and Krakow too, but if you ask me my vote for the number 1 city in Poland goes to Gdansk.
Of note – Gdansk (Danzig in German) was the first city in Poland that was destroyed by the Germans during the second war, in the meanwhile Krakow kept its beauty and avoided being ruined as their city mayor was German. Welp, what to say…lucky!
Sopot and Gdynia
Two beautiful cities close to Gdansk. They provide very cozy trains to travel those cities from Gdansk. If I’m not mistaken, there are a lot of people living in Sopot or Gdynia and working in Gdansk, which means it wouldn’t be impossible even if one day they merge with Gdansk. I hope it never happens though. Speaking of Sopot, there’s a Women’s volleyball team based in Sopot. I tried to visit and get to watch at least match, however unfortunately there was no game in that period.
- Polski Bus – Cozy, free Wifi connection, cheap and nice! What do you expect more? 🙂 They seem to have extended more routes.With Polski bus, your journey in Poland is a lot easier!
- No distance – I noticed it and you will probably notice it very easily as well – Poles tend to speak to each other standing face to face super closely. At first I wasn’t feeling comfortable with it, but as time went I started to get used to it. So, don’t ever complain about it 😀
- Talk to young people – English is a new language in Poland, at least that’s what I felt when I was there, in other words eldery people have a very low level of English or can’t even speak it, hence you’d better talk to young people when you seek for some help. Then you may ask what languages eldery people speak. I asume they speak either Russian or German.
Interesting facts about Poland and it’s people
65% of Polish territory are flat, which is not common in the rest of the world.
Most of polish cuisines are made of Potatoes, as I already mentioned above.
Polish names usually end with “ki(for men)” and “ka(for women)”, same logic as Russian. Mostly brides take their husband’s surname. If your husband is for instance “Zebrowski”, yours will be “Zebrowska”.
4.Eastern Europe or Central Europe?
Likewise the Czechs and Slovaks, Poles also prefer to be called as “Central Europeans” rather than “Eastern Europeans”. I kinda feel they don’t like to be compared with Ukraine or Russia, I may be wrong though.
5.Catholic churches everywhere
Not a brand-new knowledge though! They have a huge percentage of Catholics, maybe Europe’s best.
6.No language barriers?
No! Polish apparently is very similar to Czech and Slovak, It seems poles have no huge problem to understand their neighbors. But be informed that even though they understand each other’s language, there are lots of same words with different meanings.
7.Special relationship with Germany
I think it’s pretty much a common knowledge that everyone is aware of. Poles go crazy when their football team lose to Germans. But still, many of them go to Germany to work.
Next time, I will do…
1.Visit Wroclaw and watch a volleyball match
2.Visit Katowice & Zakopane
Trekking in Zakopane would be awesome! My czech buddy Dani and I are planning to do that as soon as I get there! 🙂
Already done in Slovakia, but I’d like to give a try in Poland too.
Despite the fact that Darek tried his best to teach me some useful polish, I forgot everything. I only know how to say “Hello” and “Thank you!”
Peace and love.