Last year I toured around Europe just visiting friends; this summer I’ve visited friends around Poland to learn their language.
Allow me to keep the linguistic experience for another occasion and to focus on the most remarkable details about the country, which might be of your interest if you’re considering visiting it.
Staying with my first host I discovered the warm Polish hospitality, recurring phenomenon on the following visits. The Poles give their guests all the honours; they make everything in their power to ensure your comfort and entertainment. I was even cooked breakfast every morning—and breakfast doesn’t need to be cooked!
It’s a very green country, with parks everywhere and trees and grass in most of its streets. Maybe that’s what saves Warsaw, which is not especially nice—its centre, with no urban planning, is even ugly. The other cities are far more beautiful.
When it comes to money, Poland is a cheap destination. For instance, a meal at any place can cost about 16 zlotys (3 £) and a bottle of 0.5 litres of beer in a club, about 10 (2 £). Bear in mind, however, that it’s not so cheap for them, since their minimum wage is about 1,200 zlotys (230 £) and the average wage is close to 2,500 (477 £). Therefore it’s a cheap destination, but not a cheap country.
The information I’d have liked to know before my trip, nevertheless, was how the sex signs in toilets work. In Poland there’s a circle and a triangle pointing downward. The triangle doesn’t represent knickers or bikini waxing. Some say it’s a hanging penis, but Polish penises are not triangular—I have spoken. It’s also argued that the circle is the vulva (in labour, maybe) or a breast. Be it as it may, triangle is for men and circle is for women.
Regarding law and order, always cross the street at a zebra crossing when the light is green to avoid fines. Polish police is amazing; they’re everywhere, they work—fine—constantly and they seem to be taken from deodorant advertisements (quite a contrast with the Spanish lazy fat Manolos with moustache).
Should you want to use the public transport, you’ll find proper bus and tram networks and a bicycles service available even for sporadic use without a subscription (take note, Barcelona). Moreover, it just takes 5 or 6 hours and less than 12 £ to cross half the country by train or coach (take note, rest of Europe).
But let’s take a break now and look at the more specific aspects of the places I visited next time. There might even be some personal experiences for the gossipers.