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Poland - First Trip

This was our (my wife and I), first trip to Poland. Indeed apart from a visit to the Soviet Union many years ago and more recent "long weekend" city breaks in places such as Tallinn and Budapest, it was our first holiday proper in Central or Eastern Europe.

We were there for nearly three weeks. But we are quite lazy tourists and likely spend longer in a place than the specific sights necessarily merit, often we "waste" hours just sitting in parks, lingering over lunch/drinks or aimlessly ambling around streets rather than inside museums, cathedrals and so on. Others could accomplish what we did in less time, or see more.

The headline is that we really enjoyed Poland:-

  • It has much to see and a great variety of sights - mediaeval towns, early modern palaces, museums and memorials (the amount of the latter two partly reflecting perhaps its rather "up and down" history, especially partitions and then grimness in the 20th century).

  • We were fortunate with the weather. We chose August/September as being likely drier compared to October/November which is when we usually travel in southern Europe. That turned out to be a good (or lucky), decision.

  • Getting around by railway was straightforward and good value. Same with local city transport such as trams and buses.

  • Practically everyone we dealt with spoke English (certainly enough for our tourist purposes; many younger Poles are fluent).

  • Food was varied and tasty - tending to delicious "hearty fare" of filled dumplings, soups, thick meat cuts and sausages; though no shortage of modern, lighter cooking if that is your preference. Poles apparently love good ice cream, putting even the Italians to shame. It was on sale everywhere. There also seems to be a national mushroom obsession to equal Spain's olive fetish. There is an excellent beer scene, from the ubiquitous & refreshing cold lagers to good craft brews.

  • Any niggles were minor. Signage (Polish or English), could be better in places. We did seem to spend time at several sights walking around the building to find the entrance. And Poznan railway station must have been designed by a drunk (who else puts platform 4 next to platform 1?). Still, it all adds to the fun.

Before going I started reading (and finished whilst there), Adam Zamoyski's "Poland: A History". Very readable and informative - I had no idea Poland was such a big power in the middle ages and after, nor its quite early adoption of "modern" ideals long before a lot of the west (e.g. Poland had an equivalent of Magna Carta just a few years after England and had one of the widest parliamentary franchises of any continental country for several centuries).

Overall, it was a brilliant trip and we both greatly recommend Poland to others.

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Part 2 - Warsaw

Warsaw is a large, spread-out city. Probably that is obvious to everyone apart from us. But initially we (i.e. me), misjudged the city travel needed. In the end my wife got a grip and found this useful journey planner http://wyszukiwarka.ztm.waw.pl/bin/query.exe/en.

We bought 72-hour tickets from machines in a metro station - English language option available. I doubt we used the full value of these passes compared to buying individual tickets, but it was a convenience and cheap anyway. The public transport system is very easy to use with timetables and matrix boards common at stops. Inside trams, buses and trains they announce the next stop on boards, sometimes also in English announcements.

For us, the best areas seemed to be the Old Town, next-door New Town and the places around the Uprising Memorial. The Old Town is not just attractive in itself, but hugely impressive was the skill and dedication needed to rebuild after the devastation of the War. Highlights were the royal palace and, in the New Town, the small Madame Curie home/museum - a must-see.

Having written that, on reflection I think we spent too long in these areas (we were to see similar architecture in subsequent cities), and not enough time visiting Warsaw's "more unique" attractions such as Praga district or the area around Łazienki Palace, for instance. We are already planning a quick revisit to correct this.

Our main museum visit was the Uprising Museum, which was certainly comprehensive and has an interesting story naturally. But it was a little confusing in finding our way around in the correct order. It also didn't seem to cover the ending, dismal as that doubtless was, or possibly we just took a wrong turning.

Because we spent more time in Warsaw away from the tourist centre and visiting "outer" sights we saw more suburbs of this city than we did of the others. Apologies to any Varsovians reading, but much of Warsaw is an ugly city! Clearly the last century wasn't too kind to the architecture, which now often seems to be bland communist era concrete blocks or ugly modern glass and steel monstrosities put up by the capitalist banks. We also went up the Cultural Palace to take in the view (it turns out Warsaw doesn't really have a view; it's no Rome or London in that respect).

On the other hand the Old Town area is gorgeous and there many pleasant parks and promenades, including along the river. For instance, we had a wonderful afternoon and evening sight-seeing and cafe-hopping along stunningly handsome and harmonious Krakowskie Przedmieście.

We stayed 4 nights at the Sofitel. It was expensive compared to our other hotels, but pretty luxurious. Spacious, well-equiped room, plus gym & pool and great breakfast. Location was good - walking distance to Old Town and to bus/tram/metro stops. We arrived there from the airport via taxi, which was less than 50zl (about €10).

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Part 3 - Gdansk

Gdansk is our new favourite city (admittedly that changes every trip).

It has a small but beautiful "main town" - the medieval part, largely rebuilt after the War, I think - several buildings of which are open to the public, including the wonderful town hall. There is a busy esplanade along the river filled with lively cafes and restaurants with glorious views - very touristy, of course, but for those who prefer to pretend to be a local you can go back a street or two for something quieter.

There are two knockout museums.

The Solidarity Centre which as well as covering the trade union and freedom movement specifically, has general galleries on Poland under communism, both the day-to-day deprivation of queues and the police state repression. It was great, the museum that is (and slightly depressing to realise I'm so old that events I clearly remember reported, like martial law, at the time are now considered history!). This and the Home Army museum in Krakow were my favourite museums.

The other must-see is the newish 2nd World War Museum. It is magnificent. It's controversial amongst some as it doesn't concentrate on Poland but covers the war generally - e.g. there is a mock-up of a London air-raid shelter and displays on the Pacific campaign. Whilst comprehensive, one problem (for us), was that means it is huge. I'm afraid weary feet and the need for a cup of tea meant we rushed some later galleries even though they covered interesting topics such as the secret war (the SOE, etc.), and propaganda. I wish we'd been more discerning earlier and perhaps spent less time looking at uniform displays for instance. Or consider making two visits.

Also, we took a half-day trip to Westeplatte where the shooting began. We used the local ferry which took us via the old shipyards and port, then walked around the Westeplatte ruins. Highly recommended and cheap at 10zl each way. Actually most things in Poland are good value, it is a relatively inexpensive destination.

The old crane, central church, mill and other sights are also all very worth a stop. St Mary's church is jaw droppingly huge. It is currently being refurbished, but you can still go inside. We skipped the maritime museum, I'm afraid.

We were there 4.5 days "on the ground". More active people could probably see it in three days. In the end we dropped our intended day-trip to Malbork. We were just enjoying Gdansk too much.

Our hotel was Aparthotel Neptun for 5 nights. It is refurbished and ideal. Excellent location with all the bedroom essentials of comfy bed, good shower, kettle, etc. Breakfast buffet was more than reasonable given it was included in the price. The hotel and central Gdansk is too far to walk from the railway station with luggage, but taxis were available and fairly priced. Otherwise we didn't use public transport, except the ferry.

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Part 4 - Torun and Poznan

Torun. A small city (at least the tourist centre). We stopped for two nights (about 1.5+ days on the ground), and enjoyed it. Very pleasant to walk around (no crowds anywhere and seemingly very few other tourists). Even as lazy tourists we could have seen its main sights in under a day, including the interesting Copernicus House (where he may or may not have lived). It's basically three small museums in one - astronomy through the ages (high tech, hands on), life in a wealthy merchant house of the mediaeval (?) period and the works of Copernicus himself. Phew.

One could "do" Torun as a day-trip or a stop-off whilst travelling between other cities. However, that's not our tourism style and, honestly, I'm not sure it would be worth it other than to tick-off another town - there is no unique must-see really. But it has a charming old quarter, impressive square & town hall, castle ruins, city gates & walls and several pleasant streets to wander. For us it was an ideal "holiday within a holiday" after busier Warsaw and Gdansk. I believe that it was spared bad damage during the War so buildings are original rather than reconstructed.

Just outside the old town there is a skansen type museum. I understand there are several of these in Poland and Torun's is quite a small one. But this would be the only one we'd have chance to see so we went as we adore open-air museums. It was very good - perhaps 20 buildings, some open to go inside, including a windmill and watermill (both still in working condition). We were the only people there.

On the main square we found a pancake restaurant. Every savoury or sweet filling you could imagine and quite a few you probably couldn't. Delicious. Outside the town wall, by the river we also stopped at a collection of 3 "pop-up" cafes selling, respectively, dumplings, ice cream and vodka/beer. Polish heaven perhaps.

Our hotel was Hotel Czarna Róza. Very attractive building with a little courtyard. Breakfast was quite basic but tasty. There was no lift. Room was comfy and had a kettle. Recommended. We moved between railway station and hotel by taxi. Everything else is walkable, including the skansen.

Poznan. I'll try to make this shorter! It's great. Smashing sights such as the old square and cathedral island, impressive buildings from the Prussia/German era, beguiling museums - especially the army museum (loads of tanks and aeroplanes) and castle museum with a wide collection of old treasures (I didn't dare ask, but I did wonder how they had kept onto all these paintings, jewels, furniture and so on. I'd have thought previous occupiers would have taken it away with them).

In Citadel Park are several cemeteries on the southern slopes, including an unkempt Soviet one and a beautifully maintained British Commonwealth War Cemetery for both World Wars' fallen, some are graves of those murdered by the Germans after the Great Escape. There is a Cross of Sacrifice at the centre.

We loved everything about Poznan except it's railway station which is ludicrous. We were there three full days (Poznan city, not just the railway station, although it felt like it as we tried to find an exit). Would have happily stopped longer.

Hotel was Garden Boutique Residence - very good, nice room and breakfast (at a nearby cafe as its restaurant was closed) but no lift. We used public transport a here, having learnt from the initial Warsaw mistake, and found this journey planner helpful https://jakdojade.pl/poznan .

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Part 5 - Wroclaw, Auschwitz and Krakow

Wroclaw. We liked the look of this city in our guidebooks, but didn't have time to visit properly. So we included a one night stop partly to get a taste, but mainly to split up the six hour train journey required to go direct from Poznan to Krakow. We had just an afternoon and evening there. From what we saw it looked lively and attractive. We visited the town hall (impressive) and cathedral (don't recall - by now churches were beginning to blur a bit), and had a relaxing "mini-cruise" along the river and through the lock (fascinating engineering). Lots of companies offer these boat tours, just turn up to the one "sailing" next.

Definitely a place to return to.

We slept at Hotel Dwor Polski. Lovely old building and very well located. Furnishings were rather dark and old-fashioned. Breakfast good with some cooked to order options and room had a kettle but unfortunately the tea bags were Lipton yellow brand (yuck). We went from station to hotel by taxi (and I believe we were ripped off, with the driver taking a very scenic route, I realise many roads are one-way but he was milking it. This was our only bad taxi experience). We walked back to the station next morning, an easy 15 minute stroll.

Auschwitz. We toured here (including Birkenau) from Krakow, but I'll give it this separate entry. I won't comment on it as a place, I think everyone has to form their own thoughts, but I'm glad (not the right word, perhaps) we visited. I will just mention we used KrakowShuttle.com. I know there are other tour companies or one can do it independently via mini-bus from Crakow. I can't compare, of course, but we were very happy with Krakow Shuttle's service. It was a group of about 12, the guide at the camps was informative and not too chatty, pick-up was on-time and other logistics were as promised. They show an introductory video on the drive over and provide water during breaks. You can also book a picnic lunch for the journey back.

Krakow. It is fantastic. So much to see. I'll just promote the Home Army Museum, quite close to the main railway station (but poorly signed so plan the walk beforehand). It is excellent with displays, media presentations and even a V2 rocket. What I had not realised was that Polish resistance to the Germans (and sometimes the Soviets), during the War wasn't "only" partisan fighters and occasional sabotage. But there was a whole underground government operating in Poland, reporting back to London, and running schools, food banks, even a monetary system. A fascinating museum for a noteworthy period. However it ends on a slightly downbeat message. Similar museums in the occupied West, or even Germany, would have a final gallery celebrating liberation by the British or troops from Canada, USA, etc. Here the final gallery was departure of the Germans, sure, but then take-over not much later by the Communists (who basically for many decades refused to allow mention the efforts of the democratic resistance government).

We stayed five nights at Hotel Europejski. Lovely hotel with a garden courtyard where we could drink our nightcap. Excellent room with kettle and good shower, and delicious breakfast. We took the train from Krakow station to the airport,less than 9zl. Currently, engineering work means some trains are replaced by buses. The train was very easy to uae and Krakow airport is modern and simple to navigate.

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Part 6 - Misc

Railway. All our travel between cities was by railway. Everything worked fine and was easy to use, except Poznan where, I hope, the architect has been shot.

We researched using https://rozklad-pkp.pl/en.

Some stations and trains had English announcements, but otherwise there was plenty of signage (e.g. a destination list on the train door, matrix boards on the platform).

Of the journeys, only one was delayed and that only by a few minutes.

On the TLK corridor trains there is a steep step up/down between platform and carriage. Also luggage storage is only overhead so be ready to lift your suitcases. On the more modern EIP/EIC trains carriages are at about platform level, they have open carriages and there is luggage storage at each end.

We booked some tickets in advance via Polrail (there may be a small mark-up, but service was excellent). For the later journeys we bought at station ticket machines, these have an English language option, just look for the Union Jack flag logo.

Since the price difference was small we went first class where available. On the modern trains this was spacious and quiet (with a light meal included on the EIP Warsaw-Gdansk). On the corridor trains there wasn't much difference in compartments, but they were less busy. In 2nd class many seats were occupied, but in 1st there were never more than 4 per 6-seater compartment. Of course, our sample is small.

Guide Books. We had the Rough Guide for Poland and the DK Guide for Poland. Both are very good and we switched between them. As always, RG sometimes attempted to be trendy but those bits just came across like an embarrassing dad dancing at a wedding and we ignored them. We were also lent by friends the Insight book for Warsaw and the DK Guide for Krakow. Again, they were both very helpful.

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18730 posts

Great report!

I loved Poland, but I totally agree with you about the Poznan train station. I had to go to Platform 5, I think. Signage was beyond inadequate. Finally I asked at an information desk and was told to go down to Platform 3, walk the length of the platform, go down another flight of stairs, turn either right or left (don't remember) and walk through the tunnel. I nearly missed my train.

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5011 posts

Nice report, thank you.

We spent a few days in Krakow and a day in Warsaw this past summer (coming home from a trip further east) and although it was obviously just a brief taste of Poland, we also really enjoy it and it confirmed our interest in coming back and seeing more of the country on a future trip when we can do it justice.

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2169 posts

Great trip report, very well communicated and with a lot of helpful insight for other first-timers to Poland. Wrocław is probably my favorite large city in Poland followed by Warsaw and then Kraków. There is so much depth to Poland that it merits several trips. For me, the smaller towns are where it's at :) - I love places such as Gniezno, Sandomierz, and the larger Rzeszów.

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4569 posts

Nick, thank you for this report. I'm glad to see Poznań finally getting its due! I spent a year in Poznań as a grad student, then returned to work there for a couple of years after finishing my degree. We were there when martial law was declared; quite an interesting time. (I'm looking for an "understatement" emoji.)

We loved the city, and even learned a few tricks about navigating the train station! I know it's been decades (literally), but is there any chance at all that great pizza place is still on Stary Rynek? Probably not.

I don't think you mentioned the cathedral in your report; it was wonderful. Simple and uplifting. And the goats! We loved the Poznań goats!

Now I want to go back, although I know things have changed a lot.

Bardzo dzięnkuję!

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2020 posts

Nick, nice report. We were in Poland for two weeks this past July and enjoyed it immensely. We were in Kraków, Wroclaw, GDANSK and Warsaw. We also took the first class train from GDANSK to Warsaw, a lovely ride. We missed so much that we are planning a return trip after we retire and I am not confined to the school schedule. We want to go to more of the small cities and revisit GDANSK, another new favorite city.

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2726 posts

Excellent report! I will be bookmarking for future reference. Thank you for the recommendations.

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2508 posts

Thank you for the excellent report, Nick. I enjoyed reading it. I am considering a 3-week trip of my own to Poland in the next few years and am adding Poznan to my list of places to visit based on your report. I spent a few days in Krakow last year and quite enjoyed it. I also got kissed by a drunk man on Rynek Glowny at 4 am during that visit, but that's a tale for another time.

I'm glad you enjoyed your trip! Thanks for sharing it with us.

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12245 posts

Very interesting report, thanks, reminds me of my most pleasant and enjoyable trips to Poland in 2001, '03, and '05, all in the summer, when I visited Warsaw, Krakow, Gdansk and Malbork, Torun and Chelmno in that order, walked a ton all over to get from A to B. Most recently, I just see the border towns on the Polish side across the Oder.

In Krakow in 2001 I stayed at the Europejski, very convenient, right next to the station and close to the rynek. Close to the Europejski ca 10 mins or so is the big statue/memorial to the Battle of Grunwald, in the same manner as the Uprising Memorial near the Uprising Museum, which had explanations in 5-6 languages. Much more elaborate now in the area of the Europejski.

The only time I was at the Poznan train station was in 2005, most likely it has changed quite a bit since then, just as around the Europejski. In 2005 I was changing trains there to continue to Torun, had over one hour or so before the connection. I found the station to be quite satisfactory, where surprisingly a there was a cafe advertising "Jacobs" coffee.

Did you come across the memorials to Katyn? I saw them in Krakow and Warsaw. In Krakow the memorial was a large cross at the end of a street, above the cross was the word "Katyn" Pretty poignant as it hits you.

All the Poles I dealt with in the Pension, train stations, restaurant wait staff, shops, hotel staff, etc were linguistically adept. In Warsaw I used English exclusively, in Gdansk I used German and English. Our Pension in old town was run by two elderly women, who if they knew any English at all, refused to speak it. They spoke Polish, German and Russian. I dealt with them entirely in German. In Krakow I used English and German, just depends on whom you talk to. At the train stations I used English or German, if neither worked, , the person would point to another colleague.

Bottom line... going there is super interesting, even to simple border towns. My bucket list are those small towns in the lower Vistula area, not all were horrifically wrecked in the war, some were bypassed in 1945, ie left intact.

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Yes, Gniezno...that was on the route I took to Torun from Poznan, The train stopped at Gniezno, its terminus was Olsztyn/Allenstein, since the Polish girls we talked to were going there.

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1237 posts

Thanks all for your comments. Reading back over what I wrote I notice I seem to have become weirdly obsessed by Poznan railway station and the availability of hotel room kettles!

Two responses to a couple of points:

  • Poznan: I don't recall specifically that pizza restaurant, but the whole square is certainly ringed by cafes & restaurants. The goats are still there doing their thing (these days with hundreds of tourists pointing cameras and iPhones up at them). Some retired goats have pride of place in the museum that now occupies the inside of the town hall. I agree with you about the cathedral and should have mentioned it as a "top sight". Something that probably won't have been allowed when you were a resident - there is now a museum about the 1956 "Poznan Uprising" which was brutally put down.

  • Katyn: I don't think we saw the memorial in Krakow (we did see several memorials in the city). But at the 2nd World War Museum in Gdansk there is a gallery concerning the massacre. It includes a room intended, I presume, partly as a memorial; it is darkened and fairly stark and just contains photographs of victims and cases of objects such as metal uniform buttons that were recovered from the site many years later.

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2169 posts

@Fred, yes Gniezno is quite the interesting and historical little town - it was one of my stops when I did my road trip from Katowice, in the south, to Gandask, in the north, back in 2009.

Gniezno is one of the old historical centers of the Polish Piast Kingdom of the middle ages, and was thought to be the capital of Poland, before Kraków and later Warsaw. Gniezno is the place where the origin story of the Slavs, the legend of Lech, Czech and Rus, supposedly took place.

According to the legend, there were three brothers, Lech, Czech and Rus, who were trying to find a place to settle. Suddenly they saw an old oak with an eagle on top. Lech said something like, "I will adopt this white eagle as my emblem, I will build my stronghold here, and because of the eagle nest (gniazdo in Polish) I will call it Gniezno." The other brothers however continued on. Czech went to the South (to found the Czech Lands) and Rus went to the East (to found the Russian lands).

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2116 posts

Great report! We were in Poland a few years ago and our itinerary was almost identical to yours, except we added Zakopane at the end. My impressions were basically the same as yours. Just loved Gdansk and Krakow! I was surprised - pleasantly- at how inexpensive everything was and how efficient the trains were.

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12245 posts

@ Carlos ...Thanks for the enlightening story. I wasn't aware of such a legend. Before reaching our destination Torun, the train stopped, in, (aside from Gniezo), Inowroclaw. Like Torun these towns later (that depends also when) became part of Prussian Poland.

En route to Torun in 2005 we happen to sit among a group of Polish girls, looked like university students, one of whom commented to the rest that we were French as she heard one of the two women I was with chirping away in French. So, she said "French" in Polish to her group (which I heard) and began talking to us, not to me, obviously, but to the two French women with me who gladly responded en français.

A nice way to break the ice. That one Polish girl definitely spoke French, at least, at conversational level and mentioned that they were going all the way to the terminus, Olsztyn, we had said ours was Torun. Without a map, when I heard Olsztyn it didn't ring a bell to me, then right away she said, "Allenstein." Then it all became clear. Keep in mind that from Olsztyn the train goes directly to that place, which you surely know as ....Rastenburg. That was not in our plans since we had set aside 4 nights for Torun.

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4569 posts

Nick, I don't remember a museum, but there was a touching monument to the uprising, on a square near the train station.

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18730 posts

There's a relatively new Katyn memorial/museum in Warsaw. Very well done, with a good English audio guide.

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2169 posts

@Fred an interesting train story! Europe is great for those kinds of encounters - especially on the older trains :)

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12245 posts

My experience in Warsaw and Krakow seeing the Katyn memorial is a somewhat dated. That was in 2001 when I saw them.

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6697 posts

Since you made a comment about "much of" Warsaw being an "ugly city", I have to ask what "suburbs" and "outer sights" did you actually see, except the Uprising Museum (if you consider that an "outer sight")? All the sites you mentioned are part of the tourist center of the City (therefore a sliver of it), so where exactly did you see all the Communist blocks? There are many in the city itself (not the suburbs) - I grew up in one of them myself. Ugly or not, those buildings house a lot of people and the Soviets put them up (like Palace of Culture and Science, which Poles have very mixed feelings about - it was a "gift" from Stalin). Luckily many former Communist apartment blocks gotten some nice new paint and some even look colorful. To be clear, I'm not defending whether Warsaw is pretty or ugly (to each his own), just trying to clarify what parts you actually saw - it certainly sounds like you saw the nicest parts. The Praga district across the river is a bit edgy/gentrifying, and wouldn't appeal to everyone - I happen to like it though.

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12245 posts

@ Carlos..."especially on the older trains." Exactly, all the trains I rode in Poland, short rides, long rides were always 2nd class, to be sure. Those seats in the general seating area had two rows facing each other with each row seating 4 people facing each other. The rows reminded of the trains in Germany in the 1970s but the German ones sat three persons max facing each other.

So, in my (memorable) story above, I remember all seats were taken in the rows since we were three and the Polish girls must have numbered four or five, all of us riding together from Poznan to Torun. It would be great to do that ride again, but this time from Poznan to Olsztyn, the terminus.

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2169 posts

@Fred, I have also yet to visit Olsztyn. The closest I got to Olsztyn was the battlefield of Grunwald, about 50 Km southwest. As a student of history, visiting the site of the 1410 Battle of Grunwald (Tannenberg) was a must on my road trip.

If one is in the area, I would definitely recommend the Grunwald battlefield. The atmosphere of the place is really something, even though for the most part it is an open field (intentionally preserved) with a few memorials, I felt the underlying atmosphere was palpable. However, behind the battlefield itself is a pretty good museum with artifacts as well as some ruins of the original 15th century chapels commemorating the battle. All signs are in Polish, but the shop by the entrance to the battlefield has brochures in English and German.

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706 posts

Nick, I really enjoyed your trip report. We were in Poland for 15 days in July and it was not enough time. Our itinerary was similar to yours, but we had less time, so we had to move at a faster pace. I'm not sure what I would change if we could do it over. We'll have to go back to try to catch some places we missed. We also enjoyed Adam Zamoyski's "Poland: A History."

We loved our stop in Gniezno (we were there about 5 hours on our way between Torun and Wroclaw). The cathedral is fantastic! We were able to store our bags in the lockers at the cathedral museum. (The lockers were not large, so I'm not sure how this would work for roller bags.) The brass doors from the 1170s are amazing and the cathedral crypt is really unique. I've been to many churches/cathedrals, but this is one that really should not be missed. I would love to go back to this area. There is a lot to see, a prehistoric site and some great Romaneque churches.

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1419 posts

Nick, I am going to be in Poland for the first time next April, and I have bookmarked your post. So much great stuff! You have really got me counting the days (188)!

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134 posts

I really enjoyed reading your trip report. We were in Poland (Warsaw, Kraków and Przemysl) last month, we travel much the same way as you do (ie "lazy tourists"). I would like to go back and spend more time in Kraków and visit some other places as well. Very true what you mentioned about the ice cream - it was very hot in Warsaw and there seemed to be ice cream for sale every 10 feet.

The Poznan train station sounds like it was designed by the same person who designed the one in Przemysl. I have never had to go up and down so many flights of stairs and through so many tunnels to get to a platform as there. We had been warned about it by friends who travelled through there last year and they were right. And there were 2 new looking elevators, but both had signs on them saying that they were out of order. Luckily we arrived at the station with time to spare and so were able to make the long trek to the platform without having to rush.

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12245 posts

@ Carlos...good that you went to the Grunwald museum, etc,... that momentous event ending with the Treaty of Thorn. Not far from Krakow Glowny is a big monument to that battle. I saw it when I was there in 2001.

You must also have seen the ruins of the Tannenberg Memorial blown up by the Germans as the Russians approached in 1944. I had heard, if correctly, that the Poles basically left that site as ruins. In 1914 it was Hoffmann who suggested that the encirclement battle victory (the only one in WW1) against the Russian be called Tannenberg.

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234 posts

Nick, excellent read. I bookmarked this post, as you wrote about several places that interest me. Was in Warsaw and Krakow back in 2013. Hope to make it back in two or three years.

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1027 posts

Poland has not really been on my radar, but now I am thinking......

Great report!