Poland · 15 Days · 32 Moments · May 2017

Nicola's Europe Loop 1: May: Poland

4 June 2017

On the way from Bialystok (Poland) to Kaunas (Lithuania) Tiny little train, 4hs30!
Poland, Bialystok Short stopover on the way to Lithuania Most absurd sculptures, buildings, decorations I've seen in a while Delicious regional food though! Decorated church for Pentecosts The one all grassy is the opera house by the way... Ah, and city bikes for children <3

3 June 2017

Poland, bialowieza/narewka Bike trip to Narewka, village close by with beautiful Orthodox church
Poland, Bialowieza, bike trip MapsMe reminded me that today is the European Bike Day and since I got many comments that I don't put enough pictures of myself here you go...

2 June 2017

Eating out in Bialowieza, Poland Carska Restaurant, located in the former train station, beautiful building, delicious food. Soup, starter, desert and big beer for 90 zloty (22€) On the way back (I was the only one by bike ((-:) passed by the Catholic Church which looks like a castle. @Fai: guesses about the food, please!
Bialowieza Russian cultural influences
Flower Special Poland, Bialowieza forest
Uwaga! Zubra!! Chasing the bisons per bike... Not so easy, but also maybe not so desirable. There are around 800 bisons in Bialowieza area (Poland and Belarus combined) nowadays. Short history: 1915: about 790 bisons 1919: last wild bison killed 1929: program for breeding bisons started 1957: first bison born in the wild again 2006: population of wild bisons regrown to about 800 If you don't spot them in the wild (João again is organizing tours for that, leaving 3 am) and you don't want to come in winter when apparently they come into the village you can visit them in a wild life reserve (see map) where you can also see other cross breeds of bisons, tarpan-like wild horses, bore, game, lynxes, and storks. I suspect that the stork in the pictures stole food which was probably meant for the lynx. The stork had actually quite a hard time dealing with this big chunk!

1 June 2017

Poland: Bialowieza, Palace Park It is called like that because the tsar back in the 19th century built a palace here and used the territory as hunting ground. Nowadays the palace got burnt down, but some of the houses around are still there. It also hosts the administration of the National Park which starts right behind the Palace Park. Just outside the park there is a beautiful Russian Orthodox church which reminded me of the movie Transiberian.
Poland: Bialowieza National Park Most eastern point of Poland, border with Belarus Guided tour (by João, only foreigner in town, everybody knows him, if you need a tour in basically any language ask for him: 0048601557403/ joaocarlosferro@gmail.com) through centre of the national park, you're not allowed to go by yourself. Only real primeval forest in Europe, trees up to 50m high! Rather felt like being in a tropical forest in Brazil than in Europe... Ironically, the Nazis protected the forest when they invaded Poland, supposedly wanting to extend the forest to use it for hunting purposes like the tsar had done in former times. Last picture shows a chicken mushroom which is delicious! Slight lemon taste to it. Unfortunately you are not allowed to pick anything inside the NP but luckily they also grow outside (-;

31 May 2017

Warsaw Soho (on the other side of the river) with very nice hipster lunch on a hipster terrace with Fritz Kola (I had beer of course ;P)

30 May 2017

Warsaw Free tour on Warsaw during Communism with Agata, highly recommendable, join 2pm each day at the palm tree. Palm tree is fake and piece of art to show bonds with Israel since Jewish quarter is basically all destroyed. The black thing is also art and reminds of censorship during communist times. The arched alley could easily be Frankfurter Allee in Berlin I feel. Buildings from the 50s. Big tower: resembles MadisonSquare which again resembles Giralda tower in Seville. So Polish like to say they have their little Spain here. Because else they are reminded that in fact it was a gift from Stalin (called Stalin's birthday cake or Stalin's middlefinger by the locals)
Warsaw on bike: Silhouette new city Memorial of the unknown soldier university district old city centre Quite handy the bike rental. Register online or per app or phone. Bikes all have a lock. Put min 10Zloty on your account and then it's 1zloty for the first hour and every next hour 3zloty. So even extending is not too expensive.

29 May 2017

Auschwitz-Birkenau In case you are doubting if to go - go! It is very busy with tourists but the site works all the same. In a guided tour you visit both Auschwitz and Birkenau, see exhibitions in the old barracks, move around the area and pass by the memorial in Birkenau. I think it is hard to actually understand the monstrosity of what has been going on there today. A few little things that really shocked me, especially because they are just tiny pieces of this whole horrifying elaborate system: Officers who managed to shoot prisoners dead who tried to escape at the barbed wire got three days of extra vacation. Stehzelle - 90x90cm cell in jail where up to four people were held for several nights for crimes committed inside the camp. And during the day they had to go to work. Exhibition of several hundreds of kilos of hair, hair which was shaved off the prisoners heads after they died in the gas chambers. Prisoners who got rescued at the liberation of the camp weighed 25-30kg. Etc.

28 May 2017

Wielizcka Salt Mine Tourist tour takes 2-3 hours, you visit some salt chambers up to 170m under ground and learn a bit about the history and all the important people who visited the salt mine, like Goethe. Quite expensive though. Around 20€ entrance plus another 2€ extra for being allowed to take pictures and yet another € inside if you want to take the elevator which reaches the gallery in the biggest chamber of 36m height. How to get there: take a train from Krakow Glowny, 20min ride, about 1€.

27 May 2017

Food: Poland Leave comments which dishes you recognize... (dedicated to my Chinese friend but open for discussion to everybody of course)
Krakow sunny Saturday

26 May 2017

Krakow: Jewish neighbourhood and old city
Krakow street art

25 May 2017

Tatra Mountains: Morskie Oko (Meerauge) Felt like walking through a scenery of Ronja Räubertochter/Robbersdaughter with all the mist hanging in the wood. And there are Sumpfdotterblumen!! So many of them! Haven't seen them elsewhere yet but in a little swamp in my hometown. Fizzy rain throughout the six hours walk. Had a wonderful hot beer with raspberry juice in the hut at the lake to refresh before climbing up to the second lake which happened to be covered in remains of snow and ice. With Jeong, my Korean friend, we met wonderful Sophie from the US on the way, who turned out to be mix of Korean (mother) and German (father). Very funny coincidence. How to get there: Take bus direction Morskie Oko from Zakopane train station. Get off at the last stop. Walking trail to the lake is well indicated. Walk up is roughly two hours plus another short hour to go up to the second lake. Return all in all 6 hours. Costs: 10 Zloty bus ride each way, plus 5 Zloty entrance fee to the lake walk.

24 May 2017

Zakopane on a rainy, rainy, really rainy day: what do you do when the best moment of the day looks like the first picture and the rest of the day it is raining and you are too lazy to go to a spa or yet another museum? You go to the tourist office to see what they recommend. That actually was hilarious. I should have invented even more questions to that lady to see that bored face get more bored if possible and conclude everything outdoors with "I would not recommend that. Wait for the weekend". "So what do you recommend for indoors activities?" Super bored face: "We have museums and galleries." Ah. So we went for food. I ate sthg that felt like half a pork and the rest of the day consisted of resting and sleeping before I could even open the new book (which I think will be most exciting!!) and then some more resting. Tomorrow hopefully finally some chance to climb a part of the mountain....

23 May 2017

Zakopane / Tatra mountains: Met my friend Jeong (from Tiberias, well from Korea but we met in Israel) again and we decided to give the mountains a chance even with the forecasted rainfall. So up we went by cable car to Gubalowka. Should have taken a picture of the trillions of stands with food and tourist nonsense up there, I realize now. Else very pretty view if you see anything, today was a little tricky. All pictures were taken before the rain hit us. After 10min of walking in a hail and rain thunderstorm we didn't feel like a taking pics anymore but rather like hot shower and some soup and stew. Cross fingers for tomorrow!

22 May 2017

Breslau/Wroclav (stopover for 5 hours on the way to Krakow): Beautiful old city centre and Cathedral Island while a few streets off you quickly find either run down old city houses or monumental Soviet style constructions. In pic 7, most entrances were converted into tiny little shops, very funny and cute. Had my first and most delicious pierogi (filled with cabbage and mushrooms) right on the old market square. Sometimes it's just nice to be a tourist and simply behave like one.
The famous dwarfs of Wroclaw! They are literally everywhere. They probably come to life when it's dark...
Breslau/Wroclaw - random details and interesting details: My colour code is mind blowing ranging from bright pink to coral and purple. I had to include a food pic because the pierogi just looked too good (and they were my first ones) and tasted even better! I got insights on Jewish history in Wroclaw in the former White Stork Synagogue (old pic) which was rebuilt and renovated only some years ago (indoor pic) and learned that Dietrich Bonhoeffer was from Breslau. I wondered of the weight of the thousands of little locks on Tumski bridge would not put the very bridge into danger at some point. And finally found some beautiful bicycle stands.
Wahnsinn, die polnischen Züge sind noch wie bei uns früher, wo der Abfluss aus der Toilette direkt auf die Gleise geht und man deshalb nie in den Bahnhalten auf Toilette durfte. Es gibt keinen Wagen stands anzeigte, sondern eine Dame kündigt alle Wagennummern über Lautsprecher an. Nicht hilfreich für mich. Und der Ticketverkauf ist ein lustiger Mix aus MacBook zum Checken der Verbindungen, ein Gerät vielleicht aus den Neunzigern zum Eingeben der Verbindungen und ein vergilbter Kasten aus den Sechzigern, der die Tickets in Reisepassgröße wie ein Telegramm ausdruckt. Das Gute an den alten Zügen ist, dass man die Türen auch noch öffnen kann,wenn derZug schon angefahren ist.Hilfreich zB wenn man aus Versehen eine Station zu früh aussteigt...

21 May 2017

Poznan Citadel Park impressions
Poznan City centre, a lot of old old and renovated old next to each other
Poznan curiosities: Street Art, Pan Peryskop aka The Watcher Mannequins disguised Oaks that grow like poplars Baking St. Martin rogal (croissants) in a museum dedicated to just that. Poznan language has some German influences (apparently from Bamberg settlers in the 18th century). Today I learned bryla (Brille/glasses), mycka (read: mitzka. Mütze/ hat) and klunkery/klamotte (Zeugs/stuff) such as wieheißter, dings and eisol (whatshisname, stuff, iron stuff) And apparently Poznan people love to put "tai" (nothing) in every sentence. Almost as "like" in A.E. ;P

20 May 2017

Poznan Noc Muz Eów / Museums Night & World Press Photo Exhibition First funny moments (in the National Museum when leaving): Museum lady: Please take the brochure home, as a memory! Me: Thank you but it's just my first day of seven months travelling. So I won't start accumulating things right now. Lady: Oh!
Poznan Cathedral Island, the birth place of Poland
Poznan: After a walk through some lovely parks (see pics) got the warmest welcome in Explorer Hostel (pic!!). Can highly recommend, double room for price of single use which is some 25€. Tonight is Museums Night! Got to be lucky (-: Once in a year, and here I am...