Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Summary of Trip to Poland

I was impressed with the colorful buildings in the market squares of Poland, which I sometimes associate with the buildings of Prague. I also appreciate the cleanliness and the safety although once Ron heard that somebody had been a victim of a robbery. I was lucky that when I left my sunglasses on one of the choir seats in Trinity Church, Ron and Mel were able to recover them as soon as we were leaving the church when I reached inside my bag to use them.  What a relief since I tend to lose them with frequency.

I would say that their churches are filled with decorative arts and monumental relics which are an immense joy for the eyes. Being 95% of a Catholic country, it is not surprising that they have hundreds of churches all well conserved and maintained.  Sometimes you would even think that the decorations are made of gold the way they shine and reflect against the sun. Some confessionals are so huge, you would think that giants come to confess. While their pulpits are amazing with their carvings even on the stairs and their magnificent organs that play every now and then, as we visited. Just too bad that we were not able to coincide with the mass, (nor had time to watch any concert) it would have been excellent to see the church come to life with the singing of the choir, who usually have a reserved place of beauty and charm. Their churches open every day from morning till night and you see people praying and confessing most of the time.

The Poles are often good looking and well proportioned. They dress in a simple manner and quite reserved until you get to know them. I used to smile at some ladies when I caught them looking at me, and they did return my smiles sometimes with a nod.

In several occasions, we found unsolicited help as we tried to find our way. Mel was the one who always ventured to ask with sign language and managed to get through most of the time. There were times that we had been lucky to find somebody who spoke either English or Spanish and was able to help us. Writing addresses is quite helpful at times.

Taxis are not advisable if you find them in the streets and they do not have the name of the company and the telephone number printed on them.  Otherwise they are not the legal ones.  We found it simpler to call for a taxi with an English speaking operator, when we needed one, which was better than flagging directly a taxi that you can be lucky if you find an empty one in the middle of your way. When Ron and me took a taxi the first day in Poznan, even when we had the address written on a piece of paper, we were dropped to the wrong place. Luckily for us, we managed to get help from the desk attendant although we had difficulty communicating since he only spoke Polish. He called for a taxi to drive us to our apartment, which happened to be only 5 mins. away.

Trams and busses were better options when we could not walk to where we wanted to go. Although they were usually packed up to the doorway. Good enough that Poles do not smell. Some tourists did so, like the ones that we coincided in the visit to the Salt Mines. A group of them smelled so badly that it was difficult to avoid the stinking odor.

Their trains are very old and usually delayed and they blamed it always on the improvements in preparation of the sports event to be held next year. Some of those that we encountered put the issue against the Administration giving more attention to conserving and putting up with more buildings rather than focusing on transport improvement.  But times can be changing.

In the apartments where we stayed, I found it curious that mainly they looked old from the outside, but they were modern inside and apparently newly renovated. What I noted as interesting is their special ventilation in the top of the side of a room where there was no available window but just like 5x5 inches in size that you can open or close like a regular Venetian blind. It is the type that we use in our kitchen for the gas exhaust, and is made of aluminum.  Likewise interesting is that their bathtubs are not provided with shower curtains, so you have to be careful you do not flood the floors. And it is also common that the apartment is provided with some sugar, oil, salt, coffee and some soup ingredients and spices. It came very useful to have the apartment because it is not common to serve breakfast in Poland and food places usually open at 10 a.m. so we usually had breakfast in the apartments and only once did we have dinner in.

Here are some of the other interesting pictures of our trip.


Our trips back home went all well with the plane leaving on schedule and at home, my plants hardly suffered from my absence.  All's well that ends well. 

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