To be honest, we were a little apprehensive about going to Poland. No more! Agnieszka and her padawan Monika were absolutely great, as was the tour. Through their leadership, we became adept at the Polish transit system. Each hotel was very unique and spotless, not to mention the breakfast meals. Especially at the Chopin Hotel in Warsaw. Thomas, a local guide in Krakow was the best. Some of the local guides did know their subject too well and talked (my opinion) too much. Good information, but overload for me. Wonderful sights, first class restaurants and food, more good museums than you can shake a stick at, enjoying "new fermented" pickles...oh my gosh, they were so good, and a great pierogi construction of and consumption of session in a Polish home. Again, a huge well done and thank you to Agneez and Monik@
So you took a RS tour of Poland?
Dan, thanks for posting about your RS Poland tour experience. I’ve only come across a couple for the whole season. I’m on a one month count down for my tour starting 9/13. Our tour guide will be Beata.
What were some of the general group dinner options available?
I’ve been hoping to understand better the order of tour sights, starting and stopping points, and free time hours for Warsaw and Krakow, so I can better map out our free time plans (lots on the list). Can you share your memories from those days?
What did you think about the Nowa Huta tour in Krakow and the Gingerbread museum in Toruń? I’ve been thinking about those as possible candidates for opting out of the group activity just to be able to spend more time in the towns seeing other sights on our own. Let me know what you think.
I was on the 2nd tour in May and you’re going to love Bea. She’s great. The dinner’s were all wonderful. Great local cuisine. With regard to free time to tour on your own, I felt we had enough time to venture off on our own. In Warsaw we had all afternoon after our morning walking tour. In Toruń we had most of the day on our own to see the old town. It’s very small, so you can see the majority of the town. The gingerbread museum was lots of fun. It consisted of two bakers making a show of how the gingerbread is made. They recruited members from the audience, one from our group, to participate in mixing the dough. They made it very entertaining. After the show we all went to a large table with an assortment of cookie molds. We got to press our own cookies that were baked right there. It was a fun souvenir.
The tour of the Nowa Huta was my least favorite activity of the entire tour. For me it just wasn’t that interesting. Depending on your interest, you could probably opt out if you wanted to see something else.
All in all, it’s a wonderful tour and I’m glad I took it.
Yes, in early July. Absolutely great time.
We had a group dinner in Gdansk, Warsaw, and Krakow. Each offered meal options (including an option for those with dietary issues). On our first night together we were presented options and made choices for the Warsaw and Krakow dinners. No group dinner in Torun. There, we ate at the "Indian" restaurant in the city square near the hotel. Loved it. So, for six of the ten days, you were on your own for dinner. We enjoyed the options that gave us, especially the restaurants around the city squares of Warsaw and Krakow. Nowa Huta, for me was worth the walk. It was a hot day and the tree lined streets offered great relief from the sun. Torun's Gingerbread museum was super, as part of the visit you get to make a sample (non edible), but the process and "floor show" were a good memory. The pierogi shopping for ingredients and baking session at Savina's house still ranks as a top experience. Hope this helps.
If you go west from the train station in Krakow for a few blocks you will find a market. In that market is a shop that sells pirogies. All different ingredients. They have a couple small tables inside. The beauty of this place is that you can mix or match and try everything for such a low price. So you can get two potato pirogies, and three blueberry, and one mushroom, and/or any others. Mix and match. Buy some more. It is the greatest place to try different pirogies. No one speaks English. Choose and point. They are all on display.
Also in the market are quite a few pickle stands. Also good and cheap.
With the exception of sausage and headcheese, I don't do traditional food in Poland - no restaurant can hold a candle to the food I was raised on.
Our RS 10 Poland tour is coming up in a few weeks.
We are thinking about opting out of the gingerbread experience and possibly the pierogi making since my family makes them all the time.
"The pierogi shopping for ingredients and baking session at Savina's house still ranks as a top experience."
May I ask why you ranked it as a top experience?
Why a top experience? Good question. I would best describe as a true opportunity to immerse our selves into Polish culture. Our tour group was divided into groups of 4 with each group going to a different home. We first went to a farmer's market to purchase supplies. Each person was given one ingredient and it's Polish pronunciation. Boy, did we butcher the language. I think the merchants enjoyed our attempts at purchasing in Polish as we did purchasing. Then, about a 20-25 min walk to our hosts fifth floor flat in a real, residential neighborhood. Lots of great conversation along the way. Then, the flat. The elevator went one floor from the top. Lucky to get two people in the lift. Why? That's the way the communists did it. More great conversation regarding those whys. Being in the small flat with a piano. How did that piano get up to the flat. Another great story. Then, the process of creating and cooking (boiling) the pierogis. Then the eating. Again, the conversation about life in Poland and the interaction with our hosts just made the experience so unique.