I'm wondering if anyone might have some insight into what is going on with my searches for information as I plan for a trip to Poland. For a while I was able to access the train website (www. Rozklad-pkg.pl). Now I can't. I also noticed today that when I try to access hotel sites that end in .pl, the search fails. I've tried firefox, google, chrome and safari. I've tried on my desktop PC and on my iphone. I know I recently had a firefox update, so that could be playing a part. I have no idea why my iphone won't play nice.
jules, the official site for Polish Railways is Polrail.com (in English). Is that where you started? Rozklad means schedule in Polish, so it kind of doesn't look right. I tried the site you cite, and I get a dead end.
Stan, I’m kind of learning on the fly here, but I’ve looked at Polrail and I think it’s a travel agency???
Ok you may be right. I'll butt out.
Stan, I appreciate your efforts! I’ve not been getting anywhere.
Lane, I’ve been trying websites for hotels in the lonely planet guidebook. One is the HotelStareMiasto.pl
Is that hotel in Poznan? I can reach this website, but it doesn't look very pretty (the website--not the hotel):
Polrail is a reputable agency that sells tickets for Polish (and other) trains. I used them in 2018 to buy and deliver my overnight sleeper car ticket from Krakow to Prague. Their communication and service was top notch. My tickets were delivered to my Krakow hotel exactly as agreed.
I used Polrail, as recommended by seat61.com, because tickets for the train I was booking were not sold online.
Following along as Poland is on my list. I am 50% Polish :)
Jules, are you still going to France this fall?
Calimom, I pulled the plug on France for many reasons. One was that the plan was to go to France AND Spain, and I worried that Spain would implement additional controls on U.S. residents and also France. I spent a lot of time on that itinerary, and I wanted to be able to do that as planned. We will do it next fall if people in the U.S. can manage to get a couple shots. We were supposed to leave today. I have the Yahoo weather app on my phone and of course the pictures of the cities I was planning are gorgeous and the weather appears to be fabulous. So, I'll be removing those cities from my app, soon. ;)
If all goes well, I will be going to Poland midmonth.
With the exception of Poznan, all hotels are booked. I ended up doing Torun with booking.com, so booking's always an option. I tend to pick smaller places and often when I work directly with the inn, I get better rates or perks and the hotel is a good source for planning assistance. For example, my BnB in Warsaw has information for me on COVID tests, and is holding my luggage until 11pm, to help with my flight being at an odd time. My hotel in Krakow has been helpful with planning our activities. If anyone is interested or wants to provide input, my hotels are as follows:
Poznan--Hopefully Hotel Stare Miastro
Torun--Hotel Petite Fleur
Gdansk--Celestin (not confirmed)
Warsaw--Chopin B & B
All my hotels are under 100 USD, some a fair amount less. Could have gotten cheaper places, but chose these more moderate places because they seemed to provide good value and a little extra service, and thought we should treat ourselves. Plus, my birthday was supposed to be in France, so I decided what the heck! @acraven, The less than pretty website for Hotel Stare Miastro was what I was getting when I used the website I had. I completed the booking information but I didn't get a confirmation or a response to my request for information. I may wait until tomorrow (weekday) and then decide if I'll go thru booking or other means.
I had preferred to go to Gniezno, but hotels/inns were full. I'm staying in Poznan and daytripping to Gniezno.
I'm still having problems with some .pl website addresses, but have found work arounds. RS guides typically provide email addresses for inns/hotels. I've had to supplement RS with Lonely Planet who does not provide email addresses.
I am not booking any trains or buses until we get to Poland. I don't think there is much of a savings, and I had a bit of difficulty canceling my train reservations for France. I just like to use the train website for planning purposes. @Lane, thanks for the link. I'm not sure why, but the "mt" seems to make the difference, but it drops off on my toolbar, so, odd, but that issue is resolved.
@Nick, I'm in the process of printing pieces of trip reports and other info off the forum. Everyone says the same thing about the train station in Poznan. At this point, I'm terrified of going into some abyss. . . I know, I will use my wonderful command of the Polish language and ask someone. (So far, I'm struggling with Hello, please, thank you and Auschwitz. I have mastered Wawel)
I stayed at the Chopin B&B in Warsaw, too. I think you'll be fine there, but I was a bit put off about an obvious grab for a tip as I paid the hotel bill. I don't remember what was said or done, but I think tips for cleaners or breakfast servers should be handed to them or left at the point of contact, not paid to the hotel. Forewarned is forearmed: Think about how you'll handle that if they're still doing it. And watch out for dynamic currency conversion in Poland. I bet it's more prevalent now than it was in 2018. It was the little corner store located to the left and across the street as you exit the B&B where the clerk reached around to my side of the credit card device and selected DCC for me while I was trying to decode the Polish on the screen. (Poland's the only country I've been to--of 14 since 2015--where the credit card screens did not appear in English when I used a US card. I hope that has changed by now; please report back.) It might be worth it just to pay cash if you make purchases at that little store.
This is what In Your Pocket says about the main train station in Poznan:
"Poznań’s main train station (Dworzec Poznań Główny) is opposite the Trade Fair Centre and about 10 minutes by taxi to the main square. The site of a massive 160 million złoty redevelopment project over the last few years, a new transportation centre has arisen alongside the old train station building, creating a strange clash of deep People's Republic and shiny 21st century - the latter packaged in a breadbox shape, as critics have sneered - with train platforms scattered confusingly between the two. Allow extra time to locate your train, and woe to those departing from the notoriously difficult to find platform 4a - reach it by following platform 4 (in the old section) to the very end, away from the trade fair grounds. If you see 4b, you've gone in the wrong direction."
@acraven, that's disappointing about Chopin. What is the norm in regards to tipping in Poland? in restaurants and hotels?
Jules, I completely understand. It has been time consuming, distracting, stressful, expensive and almost not fun to plan these fall trips. I typically LOVE trip planning!
Poland sounds amazing and I’m sure I will learn a lot by following along here.
I’ll forward to your trip report 😊
@Calimom, Thank you. This morning I've been cancelling wine tastings in Bordeaux, Dordogne and Cahors. On a slightly positive note, I am receiving quite lovely responses to my emails to these wineries reinforcing that the wineries we chose were a good fit for us. I will certainly contact these same wineries next year. I'm not sure they make much wine in Poland, but I'll be interested to try some vodka there. I don't really like vodka, but maybe they do it differently there! I think my husband will be delighted with the beer culture.
jules m, we didn't see any local wines there, but they do have two interesting products: one is mead (made from honey) which I think is an ancient drink. And the other is Zubrowka, a vodka that is flavored with a special grass that is favored by the rare native bisons in eastern Poland. The story (you'll hear over and over) is the bison flavor the grass and the grass flavors the vodka.
So maybe the vodka with the grassiness tastes a bit like gin (which I do like!) I do know somehow gin and vodka are related. Like all gin is vodka or the other way around.
I have tried mead. (I think at a St. Louis area winery) It was interesting. Basically its kind of like wine made from honey. . .
It does have an odd taste to it. Popularly served in a mixed drink with apple juice, where the resulting drink supposedly tastes like "apple cake", and was for awhile called a "tatanka", reference to the popular movie "Dances with Wolves". I think the genuine zubrowka (zubr means bison) is illegal in the US because of a toxic component in the grass, like absinthe. I guess that makes it even more interesting. All trivia that I remember because it makes good cocktail party conversation.
We were in Poland in August, 2018. I heard about the DCC before we went (probably thanks to @acraven), so I made a point of saying, before I even put my card in the machine that I wanted to pay in zloty, and had no problems.
We stayed at the Wielopole in Kraków, the location is good, a short walk to the Rynok, and the front desk staff were very kind and helpful. Not the best room we've ever had, it was small and dark and the bed was too soft for me, good bathroom though with a big walk-in shower. It was only for a few nights, so we really didn't care that much,
Close by, at Sienna, 12 is a restaurant called Kogel i Mogel, we had an excellent dinner there - the roast duck - oh, my, I'm salivating just remembering it. And if you get sick of Polish food (as if that's possible) also not far away from the hotel on Wiślna, 8 is Antler Poutine & Burger - we had to eat there, all the burgers are named after Canadian cities. Best fries ever - I think they fry them the good old fashioned way, in lard. Make sure you eat lots of paczki (Polish donuts) everywhere you go.
I would love to go back to Poland....
Polish mead (Miód pitny) is fantastic, straight out of a medieval storybook, and probably the best alcoholic craft drink in central Europe imo! Polish beer is ok (but plentiful and cheaper than the water lol!). Żubrówka is a fairy unique Vodka and quite tasty in its mellow sweetness, good to try once.
If wanting to taste true Polish mead, know that there are four styles, from least to more strong: Czwórniak - Trójniak - Dwójniak - Półtorak. Polish mead can also be flavored with fresh forest fruits (like lingonberry or gooseberry) on top of the honey. Look for Apis Kurpiowski or Apis Lubelski, served in tradition medieval ceramic bottles, my favourites!
PS: Regarding non-Polish restaurants, one of my favorite restaurants in Kraków is actually a Hungarian called Balaton, right on the main thoroughfare, it's a venerable establishment serving the best Hungarian food outside of Hungary, a true Kraków classic for many years.