So in the very nearest future, I’m going to Warsaw.
Nevertheless, Europe has been in the news over the awful way some countries have treated in-coming refugees, many of whom have witnessed terrible situations.
It’s distressing to see.
This blog. My blog is not about politics but every now and then I put in a line or two over a contemporary issue that affects us all, and my two shakes about this is that our help is needed. It’ll be winter soon and the refugees will need protection, food, clothing and shelter but most importantly, they’ll need understanding and compassion.
Back to the topic at hand.
I’ve been going to Poland on and off for probably about twenty (20) years. The first place that I ever went to was Krakow. It’s a lovely place and has a history of dragons!
At the time, I was doing a six (6) week road-trip around Eastern Europe and we were just into the second (2nd) week when my German boyfriend (Ha! How I like German boys!!!) became ill and since I don’t drive we had to call our insurance company to send over a driver so that we could get home.
And they did!
Meanwhile, we had booked into a hostel and I had taken out the Polish equivalent of £200 just the day previous, as we didn’t know when next we would find a bank. It was the mid-90’s you see…! Poland was surprisingly civilised and up to par with technology when even Berlin at that time, had problems accepting an EC card, not to talk of a credit card.
It sometimes still does!
Anyway, once we knew that we couldn’t continue our trip, I obviously wanted to return the Polish Zloty that I had, as the currency was not convertible. If you had it, you kept it, used it, or lost it.
I didn’t want to lose £200 so I asked the Polish bank in Krakow to reconvert the cash for me.
They said No!
Apparently, that was the bank managers monthly salary and it was a huge amount of money in those days and anyway, who did I think I was?
Bloody, stupid tourists!
I was quite arrogant in those days so I stamped my pretty little foot and insisted that I speak to the bank manager.
The bank manager came out as I was beginning to make a British scene. He agreed that I was in my rights to ask for a currency exchange but it would take a couple of days as it was such a huge amount of money and they didn’t have enough British money, only US dollars.
I didn’t want US dollars. I wanted my precious British pound sterling.
And then the bank manager got ugly and said that there was no proof that I had even withdrawn any money from their bank!
I’m quite an organised lady especially where my hard-earned money is concerned and I’ve even got receipts from twenty (20) years ago, not to talk of 24 hours!
I handed the bank manager the cash machine receipt, my credit card and my passport and it all tallied up. Indeed, I had withdrawn £200 worth of Zloty merely a few hours previously.
I got all my money in full.
And I still like Krakow.
I returned a few years later on a wintry November afternoon where I tried very hard to spend €50.00 worth of Zloty all weekend, and I couldn’t.
Everything was awfully cheap in those days.
It still is!
Warsaw, I’m told, isn’t.
I try to go to Poland every two (2) years or so. Yes. I like it that much but I tend to go to Poland ‘cos I like the Baltic Sea.
And I’ll tell you a secret. I like the Polish Baltic Sea more than I like the German Baltic Sea.
Here’s some history.
Poland also known as the Republic of Poland is a country in Eastern – Central Europe. It’s border is about 1.5 hours away from Germany so if you visit Berlin, then Poland is pretty much a hop and a skip away! Poland is also surrounded by the Czech Republic, Slovakia (not Slovenia), the Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania and of course, the Baltic Sea itself!
It’s an old country dating back from 966 and is enormously proud of its post-communist background and historic roots.
It’s the sixth (6th) largest EU country and even though it joined the European Union in 2004, it still retained it’s own currency known as the Polish Zloty (PLN) which today is 100 PLN or €23.7 / $26.5.
Warsaw is the capital of Poland and has been for over 400 years! It’s Poland’s largest city and is a living, breathing cultural space. The old part of town was founded in the 13th century and is surrounded by city walls which were destroyed during WWII. In 1980, Warsaw became a UNESCO World Heritage Site of Culture and is now a lively place, bustling with tourists and locals, and crammed with art, archeology, historical exhibitions and society.
Warsaw is a bustling metropolis and features an unforgettable aristocratic history, a pulsing nightlife and enchanting parks.
It sounds like just the type of place that I would go to.
I’ve never ever been to Warsaw.
I had always heard that Warsaw was an ugly place with no character or heart until I met some Polish people at our B&B in Lithuania. They came from Warsaw. We got chatting and I asked them to tell me about Warsaw. They told me it had a river and beaches.
It. Had. A. River.
You know how much I love river-states having lived in them all my life, in one place or the other!
As soon as I heard that I just knew that I had to go visit for myself.
To say that I’m excited is to say the very least. In fact, I’m not excited, I’m thrilled and exhilarated!
I’m not even there yet and already I’ve had a bevy of people just dying to show me around. Thank you so much everyone!
WHAT IS THE BRITISH BERLINER GOING TO BE DOING IN WARSAW?
Well, I’m going to be travelling by train.
I’m going to meet up for a few drinks on the day that I arrive. I’m going to be a hanging out in an old communist van with Adventure Warsaw.
Adventure Warsaw is an urban off-the-beaten-track sightseeing tour. I’m going to be introduced to pre-World War Warsaw, shown around the Praga neighbourhood, given the low-down of contemporary Warsaw, learning about the communist era, having lunch at a milk-bar and hopping around town in a genuine classic Nysa 1968 Polish van!
It’ll be charming!
I’ll be doing my own personal historical tours as I hear their museums and galleries are something that I must just see. In the evening, I’ll be snacking and going for cocktails on Warsaw’s oldest Pub Crawl.
Yes! I’ll be putting my glad rags on, strapping my boots, sipping on classics and downing some shots.
I might even go clubbing.
Oh god! I’m used to being on the guest list and having a car take me home or a driver waiting.
Wish me luck!
I’ll also be doing something culturally useful and learning how to make one of my favourite Polish dishes – pierogi. I’ll be joining Polish your Cooking who have bravely offered to teach me how to master some culinary skills and familiarize with the local cuisine in a fun and casual atmosphere.
I’m going to have breakfast with them, learn about the history and cuisine of Polish cooking and make Pierogi Grandma Style. We even get a certificate too.
I just hope nobody dies!
Even though I’ll be a guest of the above organisations and be part-sponsored by the hotel, all opinions and the interesting architecture that I’m bound to find interesting, are my very own!
I have so much to share with you.
In the next few weeks, I’ll be at the following events:
From 28.09.15 – 07.10.15 the Bar Jeder Vernunft will be presenting, for one (1) week only, a festival of top British entertainment – Britain’s Best! Music and Comedy.
I’ll be there. Will you?
If you’re going to Warsaw or Bristol or Bath, let me know!
September is going to be surprising!
Watch this space!
Have you ever been to Warsaw? Would you like to go to Poland?
See you in Berlin.
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