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Thursday, 30 August 2018

10 Things You Should Know Before Coming To Poland - Part 2

Dearest sweethearts,

#DidYouKnow that the Poland statistics show an increase in the number of tourist arrivals at accommodation establishments from 2006 to 2016 (data for 2017 not yet publicly available, but I bet the trend still is months raise). In 2014 there were over 25.1 million arrivals and in 2016 it amounted to approximately 30 million! Poland has visitors raging from students inside the EU, to people flocking here from Ukraine (in search of a stable economy and a place where they can live not in fear), to people coming in for weekends for a weekend break... to many more... everyone can find something they would love in Poland. But many are misinformed or they cannot find the info they need about Poland... there are always plenty of questions to be answered. That's why I wanted to lend you a helping hand with another 10 Things You Should Know Before Coming To Poland. You can freely check here my first 10 Things ;) 
1. Polish Food does not need ketchup - ketchup is more of an American kind of topping, to bring some taste on the food you are eating, but in Poland the food is so delicious and savoury that you would kill all it's taste by drowning it in ketchup. Of course ketchup is occasionally used, like for example when eating pizza or "zapiekanki", but it's usually fresh tomatoes with a hint of herbs. Of course there is also the hot / spicy version ;) only for the brave! Also, putting ketchup on pierogi is a total NO NO! 
A mint lemonade in Rzeszow, Poland, at Niebieskie Migdaly (Coffee & Sweets shop)
2. You will need to ask for ice for your drink - don't take it for grant it, as you might in the USA, that you will get ice cubes in your drink. Even if it is summer. The drink might be cold / cooled but it will not have ice (at least in most of the places) so you will need to specifically ask for it. Ice is called "lody", just as ice-cream has the very same name ;) make sure you have that noted down. You will use it during summertime. A lot! 
3. Don't use travellers checks. Use credit cards, or better yet: cash. There are plenty of ATMs and of exchange offices (called "Kantor"). But paying by card is also an option to be considered, as long as you still have some change for paying the tip. You can leave no tip but usually, if you like the service and the product, you can give about 10-20% of the value. The tip, in most places, is not included on the bill ("rachunek") so you should check thoroughly what you pay for ;) and give the due thanks to the ones that serve you nicely. 
Cobbled streets in the Old Town of Krakow, Poland
4. Wear good shoes that don't kill your feet, the old town's in Poland are paved with cobbled stones. They are straight and firm and easily to walk upon, but I wouldn't be caught wearing heels on those roads. I love my loafers and my ballerina shoes and my sportswear; wouldn't trade them for those pretty little spikes... They would get caught between the stones and sprain ankles would appear at the blink of the eye...not to mention blisters and not being able to enjoy the walk, the views and the cities of Poland in all their glory. You would he at the lookout for the closest farmacy ("apteka") or bar/cafe to sit down and alleviate your pain. 
Wawel Cathedral, Krakow, Poland
5. Be careful of what you wear when you visit the magnificent churches / cathedrals in Poland. Ladies don't really have to wear dresses or skirts,  but you MUST be decent! Don't show too much skin, don't show any cleavage, don't wear shorts and short skirts, don't be a rainbow of colours and maintain decency and the quietness in the Holy places you are about to enter! Also... Don't use flash when taking photos! 
6. Take your shoes off! - at the front door, when you are visiting the locals. You most probably will be "served" a pair of "klapki" (shoes) that you can wear inside the house. It's common curtsy to make sure you leave the shoes at the entrance - it is as well a sign of respect and good sense, as they also carry plenty of germs! 
Legal drinking limits in Europe
7. One drink = no driving. If you're thinking of renting a car and driving around + having a beer or two... think again! It's not allowed. Also, under the new rules, drivers exceeding the speeding limit by 50 km/hour can have their license taken away from them! I recommend to buy some alcohol tests from the local farmacy or even from the Rossman chain. They are cheap and very helpful! 
8. Films / Movies are dubbed in the cinema and TV; the children movies will (almost always) be shown in Polish language, dubbed. If you'll go to Cinema City or Multikino or any other big multiplex cinemas, you will find the movies for kids only in dubbed Polish. The smaller, independent cinemas, will still show the original - so, fear not, you can see THE movie ;)
Czu Czu toys/games are #MadeInPoland and they are a perfect gift for the Little Ones of all ages!
9. Parents friends are called uncles and aunts ("wujek" / "ciocia"). If you are visiting a friend or family and they have children, to be sure they will call you uncle / aunt. It's a wonderful feeling when they do and the small ones come and connect with you and do the same. You can play with them and act like an aunt in full rights. Children are usually very friendly and polite. It's nice if you can also bring them some kind of gifts - people say you can't buy love, but children just love presents!
10. Poland = Come and complain. There is ALWAYS room for improvement! It's awful outside when it rains as I get wet! It's awful when it's sunny as I get sweaty! It's awful when it's cold in the winter because it's not summer... It's always someone else's fault for the weather and we just need to live with it... every day of the week/month/year... You name it! 

What do you think? Have you ever been to Poland? What is your list of "10 Things You Should Know Before Coming To Poland"? What did you tell your friends and family when they first hosted you in Poland? Would love to hear your thoughts and ... If you have any questions, I am here!

Yours sincerely,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves Krakow

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