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My trip to Poland - I hated Katowice, loved Krakow, and adored Bielsko


zantetsuken69 3 | 23  
13 Oct 2008 /  #1
I just got back from spending a week in Poland, the first 2 nights i spent in my girlfriends student accommodation in Katowice... I must say sorry, but I hated every minute... The entire city was just so depressing and miserable, everything about it was just grey...

We then went onto Kraków, which is an amazing city, somewhat reminiscent of Birmingham... We spent a few days at a lake in the area where my girlfriend was learning to scuba dive... does anyone know what this lake is called? it had beautiful clay cliffs bordering the water...

And then we went onto her parents house in Bielsko, which i thought was probably one of the most beautiful places i have ever been to...

I had a great time, the only dark spot being Katowice...

Sorry all you natives...
SeanBM 35 | 5,808  
13 Oct 2008 /  #2
Good stuff.

Krakow is great, I have never been to Birmingham but I hear good stories from it, from an architectural point of view.

I had a great time, the only dark spot being Katowice...

I am not native Polish but I think it is widely known that katowice was of communist design and meant to "show off" communism.

Also built up wind from Krakow apparently cause the commies didn't like old stuff and wanted to destroy it, to build a new.

I live close enough to Bielsko-Biala, it is lovely here.

But I am afraid I do not know the cliffs and lake you are talking about.

Have you any photos to show us??
Kilkline 1 | 689  
14 Oct 2008 /  #3
We then went onto Kraków, which is an amazing city, somewhat reminiscent of Birmingham...

You think the Old Town looks like the Bull Ring?
ShelleyS 14 | 2,893  
14 Oct 2008 /  #4
We then went onto Kraków, which is an amazing city, somewhat reminiscent of Birmingham...

WHAT THE FCUK! I've been to Brum many times (for meetings I may add not socilaising) and I have been to Krakow...you cannot even compare the two, I don't recall any windy little streets in Brum or did I miss something?


  • Krakow

  • birmingham
dnz 17 | 710  
14 Oct 2008 /  #5
Seconded, I couldn't find one good thing to say about Birmingham, It is an utter s--hole. Birmingham to me just one massive traffic jam, Its Ugly, Dirty, and really isn't a pleasant place to be.
OP zantetsuken69 3 | 23  
14 Oct 2008 /  #6
Birmingham was England's Capital of Culture, its a beautiful city...

Lets please not turn this thread into an argument about which city is better... I was raised near Birmingham so to me it has the feeling of home to help its cause, im sure its the same with you and Krakow...

And i actually didnt mean that it looked like Birmingham, i meant it FELT like Birmingham. A city which once had a purpose in the economy and is now thriving as a city for tourism. The relaxed way everything seems calm and busy at the same time.

kraken.pl - I found the lake on the internet...
SeanBM 35 | 5,808  
14 Oct 2008 /  #7
im sure its the same with you and Krakow...

None of the replies so far are from Polish people, interestingly enough.
And is probably the main reason everyone has jumped on what you said about Birmingham rather than comment on Katowica, Krakow and Bielsko.
Preference is subjective and can not be debated for that reason.

I found the lake on the internet...

Hey that looks really good, I might go up the road and take a look, thanks.
Kilkline 1 | 689  
14 Oct 2008 /  #8
Birmingham was England's Capital of Culture, its a beautiful city...

So is Liverpool. I rest my case.

Lets please not turn this thread into an argument about which city is better... I was raised near Birmingham so to me it has the feeling of home to help its cause, im sure its the same with you and Krakow...

I'm from Coventry which is concrete city yet Brum makes Cov look like Venice. The only similarity I can see between Krakow and Brum is that neither speak English in an intelligible way. Although Brum does have the best nightlife in Britain (Broad Street on a Saturday night is excellent).
szarlotka 8 | 2,209  
14 Oct 2008 /  #9
So is Liverpool. I rest my case.

Steady on. Just to complete the triumvirate we must not forget Glasgow.
OP zantetsuken69 3 | 23  
14 Oct 2008 /  #10
i live in Coventry as well, and your mad if you think you can compare it to Birmingham.

Coventry is a tiny place, the only attractions are a cathedral and the transport museum. There is hardly any entertainment, the architecture is abysmal, the houses are ancient, the locals are crazy and if im honest, just plain dangerous.

Birmingham is a metropolis compared to Coventry.

I am NOT going to sit here and bicker about which city is better, I dont need to.

I didnt post this thread to discuss the bad points of english cities. I posted it to discuss the good points of the Polish cities i visited.
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
14 Oct 2008 /  #11
Katowice is a good city for business, definitely not for sightseeing. It's quite dingy. Bielsko is several cuts above.
szarlotka 8 | 2,209  
14 Oct 2008 /  #12
I found Katowice disappointing after Wroclaw and Krakow. It is a business city and the relics of communist architecture were fairly evident. No doubt it is changing fast after six or seven years when I was last there. It was also the only place in Poland that I found slightly threatening (around the railway station). Mind you all things are relative - it wasn't Moss Side or Medellin !

<stands back and awaits the Polonophobe comments>
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
14 Oct 2008 /  #13
How dare u say that szarlotka? I mean, how dare u? LOL ;)

Nah, u r right. Changing the face of Katowice was interpreted as getting rid of KFC, one of the city's only attractions.

Furthermore, Polish people feel the station area to be unsafe. My GF, when she wore black more often and was into black metal, was a target for skinheads there. I've done a bit of work in Katowice and I feel safe enough but it does have that sinister potential.
OP zantetsuken69 3 | 23  
14 Oct 2008 /  #14
I had to wait at the train station for 10 minutes for my girlfriend, she warned me before i even got there to stay inside, near the ticket offices.

I'm a big guy and can look after myself, she knows this and was still petrified about me being there on my own...

I found the entire city miserable, dark and intimidating.

I'l be happy enough if i never go back.
ShelleyS 14 | 2,893  
14 Oct 2008 /  #15
I found the entire city miserable, dark and intimidating.

Birmingham? ;-)
OP zantetsuken69 3 | 23  
14 Oct 2008 /  #16
Katowice...

It was an awful first impression... I landed in Kraków and only saw the train stations... The first place i got to see was Katowice...

:s
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
14 Oct 2008 /  #17
Yeah, I took the bus tour of Katowice once ;) The tour guide said nothing at all during the trip ;) A redundant mike!!

Now, Budapest... :)
Kilkline 1 | 689  
14 Oct 2008 /  #18
i live in Coventry as well, and your mad if you think you can compare it to Birmingham.

They're both dumps, thats the comparison I was making. Both concrete jungles and both cities in the west midlands with zero architectural interest.

the locals are crazy and if im honest, just plain dangerous.

I wont deny this. The place has always had a bad reputation throughout the midlands. Something I didnt realise till I left.

I am NOT going to sit here and bicker about which city is better, I dont need to.

No offence intended its just comparing Brum to Krakow is quite an original opinion and requires a bit of explaining.
pawian 163 | 10,429  
14 Oct 2008 /  #19
We spent a few days at a lake in the area where my girlfriend was learning to scuba dive... does anyone know what this lake is called? it had beautiful clay cliffs bordering the water.

It is Zakrzówek, a former limestone quarry, today flooded by underground water. A beautiful place, especially when you swim close under the cliffs....
z_darius 14 | 3,968  
14 Oct 2008 /  #20
<stands back and awaits the Polonophobe comments>

Here they come:

Katowice sucks. It can be compared to Hamilton, ON, which is sometimes believed to be Ontario's bare ass exposed to the rest of the province.
sapphire 22 | 1,241  
14 Oct 2008 /  #21
with zero architectural interest.

Spaghetti Junction anyone?

Brum makes Cov look like Venice.

are you sure? There is a reason for the phrase 'being sent to Coventry'. Personally I think since the regeneration of Brindley Place and the town centre B'ham is a far nicer place than Cov. and I wouldnt live in the latter if you paid me. Mind you if you like the nightlife in Broad St. other than for a stag or hen night then you obviously have questionable taste anyway. Sorry this is nothing to do with Poland, but I feel the urge to defend my homeland.
Vincent 9 | 805   Moderator
14 Oct 2008 /  #22
Personally I think since the regeneration of Brindley Place and the town centre B'ham

agreed! The pedestrian area in the city centre of brum looks good now,and alot of work went in to making it look like this. There is also some nice buildings around and not many cities can boast having their own beach in the centre of town. Lol.

This young couple have but some photos of their trip here.
Captain Scarlet 3 | 34  
14 Oct 2008 /  #23
I must agree Katowice does seem moody . I fly in to there but never hang around , 1st slow sweatbox of a train to Bielsko then it's like your in a different country . Though i do like reading all the graffiti as you leave Katowice and go past Tychy?

Ps . brum ain't that bad you've just go to know where to go and look .
Magdushya 3 | 104  
14 Oct 2008 /  #24
Birmingham was England's Capital of Culture

Really? Liverpool is EUROPEAN Capital of Culture this year
szarlotka 8 | 2,209  
14 Oct 2008 /  #25
Really? WHEN?

Never as far as I can find out although it did ring a bell earlier in the day.The only two Brit cities that have been European Capital of Culture are Glasgow (1990) and Liverpool (2008). Maybe there is an English capital of culture award but I've never heard of it.
OP zantetsuken69 3 | 23  
14 Oct 2008 /  #27
I suppose my comparison to Birmingham was a bit stupid really...

It's hard to explain what I mean, i feel completely comfortable walking around Birmingham, it's not my home city (that award goes to Wolverhampton) but its pleasant and enjoyable. Which is how I felt in Kraków... I always had something to look at, and for a person who was in a foreign country with hardly any knowledge of the language and culture, I stopped feeling like a foreigner... I felt like I feel when I'm in Birmingham...

I don't expect anyone to understand me, hell even I hardly understand...

Just take my word for it, I loved the city...
osiol 55 | 3,922  
14 Oct 2008 /  #28
"Capital of Culture". Liverpool beat Newcastle-Upon-Tyne for 2008, probably because they need the extra help.
Krakow held this title in 2000.
Birmingham - city of culture? A somewhat unlikely prospect. I avoid Birmingham.
OP zantetsuken69 3 | 23  
14 Oct 2008 /  #29
I hold my hands up and openly admit I was wrong.

I remember hearing somewhere that Birmingham was Capital of Culture, but apparently we missed out... How did they choose Liverpool over Birmingham?!!?

I hate being wrong...

:(
SeanBM 35 | 5,808  
14 Oct 2008 /  #30
I hate being wrong...

So do I.

It's all right, I think you have taken a fair amount of punches over the whole thing.

Tell us more about your trip.

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