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Person with Polish/Russian heritage - first time going to Poland


Taisiya 1 | 3
24 Jun 2014  #1
I am planning to go to Poland in September for about 9 days and it is my first time actually going to Europe and with my husband. I'm from Canada but my parents are Polish and Russian but they weren't born there so they can't give me any advice unfortunately but I do speak Russian pretty good (conversant and learned to read) and I am working on learning Polish. I really want to Gdansk, Sopot and also make my way over to Krakow. Warsaw would be nice to but I am worried all that travel might make it limiting. I also don't want to feel like I am in transit but experiencing the culture and exploring the indoors/outdoors including enjoying the baltic sea. Any insights would be very appreciated! I'm wondering if knowing Russian will help or if I should just speak english.
Wulkan - | 3,251
24 Jun 2014  #2
I'm wondering if knowing Russian will help or if I should just speak english.

I'm Polish and if I was you I'd stick to English.
InWroclaw 89 | 1,915
24 Jun 2014  #3
:D

but experiencing the culture and exploring the indoors/outdoors

Seriously, you should leave the tourist areas and get chatting to locals in shops and supermarkets. Take a tram or more likely a bus to the nearest out of town hypermarket, shop there for a few things, get a coffee at a coffee shop in the same mall, say hello to the 'ordinary' everyday Poles there and at the DIY centres. Perhaps also go to an outdoor market, away from the city centre or tourist places. Walk through some local parks, wander through some osiedles (housing estates) although perhaps not alone as not all are OK. Drop into a job centre, visit a town hall and see ordinary Poles queuing for passports or paying taxes, and get chatting to them. Sure, don't go anywhere alone with a stranger, but you can learn a lot from chatting to people in every day places. Not everyone's going to speak English, but many do.
jon357 63 | 14,110
24 Jun 2014  #4
All good advice. If you're going from Gdańsk to Kraków you'll probably be going through Warsaw and it would be a shame not to stay for a day or two - it's worth seeing. Sopot by the way is pleasant but very small and not much there except for the beach. There are some nice restaurants etc, but not really anything special enough to stay there rather than Warsaw. If you want to experience the Baltic, stay on the SKM (the commuter train that goes from Gdańsk to Sopot etc) and see maybe Rumia to Wejherowo. They're very near and far less touristy.

You'll find yourself speaking English more than Russian unless you're spending time with elderly people, but whatever you speak, you'll have a good time.
jon357 63 | 14,110
24 Jun 2014  #6
Well yes, the beach is in a bay rather than on top of a mountain or under ground.
Roger5 1 | 1,458
24 Jun 2014  #7
beach?? lol BAY?

Please explain. There was a very nice beach when I was last there.
Harry
24 Jun 2014  #8
I do speak Russian pretty good

English is far more widely spoken (especially with people under the age of 40).

I really want to Gdansk, Sopot and also make my way over to Krakow.

Sopot has sadly been pretty much spoilt compared to the way it was ten years ago. A day there would be more than enough. Gdansk is wonderful and very under-rated, allow two days there. You can base yourself in Gdansk and get the train to Sopot for your day there. Krakow is a bit over-rated and, even worse, infested with stag group cretins from the UK and Ireland every weekend: under no circumstances go there at the weekend. I'd say three days is enough to see Krakow, add another day if you want to go to Auschwitz (frankly I don't recommend it).

Warsaw would be nice to but I am worried all that travel might make it limiting.

You're almost certainly going to be flying into and out of Warsaw (in theory you could fly into Gdansk and out of Krakow, or vice versa, but that will limit your flight options and cost you more), so you might as well spent a couple of days looking round this excellent city.

There was a very nice beach when I was last there.

Yes, but you have been there, which is more than D**p*k can say.
Roger5 1 | 1,458
24 Jun 2014  #9
Ah, now that explains a lot. I was wondering about that weird English and the profile details that didn't add up. Thanks.

Don't forget the destroyer Błyskawica moored at Gdynia. If you like that sort of thing, and I do, it's a treat. Good fish restaurants nearby, too.
OP Taisiya 1 | 3
1 Jul 2014  #10
Thanks so much everyone for the great ideas!!! I am now learning Polish and started to listen to some music too (mela koteluk, Artur Rojek), which I find helps a lot as I learn the song and study the translation. Some very similar words in Russian (daleko, blysko, gde, dobranoc, etc but need to learn how to read) so at least I can sometimes get the gist of what someone is saying sometimes (in case I speak to a non-english speaker). I'm now planning to go to Krakow during the week ;) and then take the train to Warsaw for a night and then head over to Gdansk and visit sopot (day bike ride over) and hel. I'm hoping I can still take a ferry to hel. I'd like to go to the salt mine that has the church and do some sight seeing in Krakow too. I think the trip to auschwitz would be way too difficult for me. I am a coffee addict and really like the idea of watching locals go about their days.
Wulkan - | 3,251
1 Jul 2014  #11
That's nice. When you come back, tell us how it was.


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