Poland Wrap-up Part II: Transportation and Accomodations

Still thinking about planning a trip to Poland? My last post gave some itinerary help. Today is about some other logistics to account for as you start putting the wheels in motion. The other two big things to figure out when putting a trip together is transportation and accommodations. Here’s what we did, and learned along the way.

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An Introduction to Polish Cuisine

If nothing else in my Poland series has convinced you to consider putting Poland on the bucket list, maybe some food will do the trick!  I love the blogging friendships I have due to bonding over trips to Poland, which is how I got to know Anna from Slightly Astray. As part of my Poland series wrap-up, I asked her to write a little about her experience in this country. Looking at all the wonderful things she tried makes me want to revisit Poland and be more adventurous! I somehow stuck to mostly eating pierogi because, well, it's pierogi. And they're absolutely delicious. But let me allow Anna to show you what else to experience in the Polish cuisine scene! 

Hi there! I'm Anna over at Slightly Astray. I'm a long term traveler who blogs about life on a road with my boyfriend. We are kind of complete opposites, but the one thing we share is a love for food! Our absolute favorite travel activity is trying the local cuisine. So when I became friends with Sara over our love for Poland and she invited me to guest blog, it was a no brainer that I would talk about food!

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Final Week: Eating and Traveling Well in Poland

Bon lundi!

As I mentioned last week, I’m winding down the Poland series. And I’m serious - this is the last week I’m focusing on Poland, at least for a long while! 

This is my last-ditch effort to convince you (if you’re still on the fence) that you need to book a trip to Poland, and soon. If you’re like me, trying new foods and local specialties is a draw of any trip. This week Anna from Slightly Astray is going to share about some of the wonderful things she ate in Poland. So if the sights, history, and beauty of Poland didn’t interest you, maybe the cuisine will!

Then I’ll finish up giving some more information on how to plan your own trip. And with that, we’ll refocus on France next week.

Best of both worlds - in Poland, we found that you could live like a king, dining at great restaurants at a fraction of the price we're accustomed to. These pierogi are from our "fancy" meal in Gdańsk.

Thanks for following along thus far! Here’s to the final push on Poland :-)

Poland Wrap-up Part I: Make Your Own Poland Itinerary

Poland was an amazing country to visit, and truly one of my favorite trips I’ve taken during my three years living in Europe. But you know what the funny thing is? The trip almost didn’t happen. I have always wanted to visit Poland because when I look at my varied European ancestry, I’m more Polish than anything else. I’ve always wanted to step foot in Poland and connect to my roots on some level. But each year, for some reason the trip seemed daunting to plan, so we kept putting it off. Until Michael just put his foot down and booked round trip airfare to Krakow, knowing that this commitment would motivate us to pull it together.

If you’re interested in going to Poland but are in the same boat, I want to encourage you to put your reservations aside and plan a trip! The hardest part for me was putting together an itinerary that captured the highlights of this large country. Here are some ideas to help give you a head start.

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Time to Wrap-up the Poland Series!

Bon lundi!

Well, the time has finally come. It's time to start wrapping-up my Poland series! But not without a few more posts before we refocus back on France.

This week and next I'm going to give you some insight on the trip on a whole with information to help you get started to plan your own adventure in Poland. If you've been following the series since mid-January, I hope I've inspired you enough to at least consider a trip here someday! 

At the Botanical Garden in Wroclaw

Has anything surprised you about Poland over the past few weeks? Any place you are now interested in seeing within the country?

The Old Jewish Cemetery of Wroclaw, Poland

It may sound odd to some, but we’ve visited a fair share of cemeteries on our travels. It’s not morbid or creepy in my opinion - I am just interested in observing how cemeteries vary in different places. And walking around, looking at sculptures and art on tombstones, is like walking through an outdoor museum of sorts. At least that’s how I see it.

When I found out there was the Old Jewish Cemetery in Wroclaw, I definitely wanted to go. Not only did it involve a cemetery, but it combined another area that interests me - Jewish history. So off we set to the south section of Wroclaw, away from the city center to see the oldest surviving Jewish cemetery in town. By its name, you might think it is hundreds of years old. In reality, it’s not that old - it was created in the mid-19th century. 

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Gnome Hunt! Wroclaw, Poland

What do you do when you find out the city you’re visiting has over 300 little gnome statues scattered throughout town? You set out to find as many as you can, right? Or, you take it one step further and decide to have an all-out competition with your travel partner(s) to spot the most gnomes first.

The later is clearly what transpired between me and my hubby in Wroclaw. The rules were super basic. All you had to do was spot a gnome and claim the point as yours by shouting out, “Gnome!!” first. There were really no other limitations though - these little guys could be found anywhere, like in the post office or outside a church. You might be casually walking and all of a sudden your hubby breaks out into a run. Or be talking about what to do next and mid-senten---.”Gnome!”

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The Search in Wroclaw, Poland

Bon lundi!

Word searches.
I spy.
Where’s Waldo.

Didn’t you love games growing up that involved finding things? There’s just something about the thrill and excitement that comes from discovering something that is hidden. Add in a little competition, and there’s a great game in the making.

Let’s be honest though - these games aren’t just for kids! Take two kids at heart, give an object to find, make it into a friendly competition, and voila! You have hours worth of free entertainment.

Wonder what I’m talking about? Let’s just say that my sightseeing method of seeing Wroclaw was pretty awesome, and involved a massive city-wide gnome hunt. More to come on this unique city and its hidden little inhabitants! 

One of the many hidden gnomes of Wroclaw, Poland

Relaxing in Wroclaw

It’s a classic example of what came first: the chicken or the egg? Wroclaw was the last stop on our trip through Poland before we made our way back to Krakow to get our flight home to Paris. I’m not sure if our time in Wroclaw was so laid back because of general travel fatigue at that point, or if it was just a perfect city to take things a bit slower. Maybe at that point in my travel research I got a little more lax after tackling an in-depth document of things to do and eat in all of the preceding cities (I’m not as intense a traveler as I used to be, but still am a bit type-A when it comes to planning!). Most likely, the truth probably lies somewhere in between. All I do know was our almost three days in Wroclaw were characterized by lots of relaxing and chilling out, sprinkled with tons of laughter.

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An Insider's Guide to Poland: Guest Post by Joanna of "Me and My Itchy Feet"

If you’ve been following along for the past few weeks, you know that I’m in middle of doing a series on Poland. I loved my time in Poland last year and have been having so much fun reliving the trip and sharing all about it. But the reality is, as much as I did and experienced, I was only there for 16 days. So today I’m happy to introduce you to Joanna, who I have bonded with over Poland. Joanna has spent MUCH more time in this country than me, so I asked her to give an insider’s perspective on where to visit while in Poland. So without further ado, I’ll let Joanna take it from here:

Hi. My name is Joanna and I’m Polish, living practically all my life in Poland (apart from a semester in Finland followed by a few months in England). I’m a wife and a mother of two (six year old boy and almost two year old girl), trying to show the diversity of the world to our kids. I love discovering new things, be it discovering new places, new tastes, or something else. My first trip abroad without any members of my family was when I was almost eleven. London and Oxford were the places we got to see. And that’s how it all started. “It” meaning my love for travel (though previous trips with my parents also added a lot to it). I married a wonderful guy who shares my passion or, at least, is willing to follow me. Now, together with our little ones, we’re trying to discover the world our way, what I’m describing on my little piece of the Internet – Me and my itchy feet

Oh boy, that’s a long introduction and you’re probably wondering what I’m doing here on Sara’s blog. As you have probably noticed, Sara is writing a series of posts on her trip to a not-so-well-known European country, yet one that is so close to my heart: Poland. Sara asked me to write a few words on Poland as a sort of insider’s view. And I was over excited to do it, because I truly believe that Poland has a lot to offer. Sea, lakes, rivers, higher and lower mountains, historic spots, lowlands, dessert (yes, we have one). You name it – we’ve got it. Ok, I’ve gone a bit too far here, but there is a wide variety of things you can see, do, and experience in Poland.

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Underrated Wrocław, Poland?

Bon lundi!

We’re entering the final stretch of my trip in Poland! After spending a few days in Gdańsk by the Baltic Sea, it was time to make our way towards Krakow again. The most economical way for us to travel to Poland was to book round-trip airfare in and out of Krakow, so the last leg of the journey was a stop as we made our way southward towards the airport. 

One thing I came to appreciate while planning this trip was just how large Poland is! If we were to drive straight from Gdańsk to Krakow, it would be just under six hours. We decided to take a short flight out of Gdańsk to cover the distance more quickly. The question was - where to? I narrowed it down to two cities I had heard were worth visiting: Poznań and Wrocław.

Clearly from the title of this post, we ended up choosing Wroclaw. Was this a good choice? I think so (though if you’ve been to Poznań, let me know what you think!). All of the previous destinations were on the main tourist loop, documented in my Rick Steves’ guidebook and vetted by Polish friends. Wroclaw wasn’t a city I heard much about, so we went in a little unsure of what exactly we would find. 

What we found exactly will have to wait until my next post...but what I will say is we loved it! And I’m going to talk about it a bit because this is an underrated city in my opinion!

What underrated cities/places have you enjoyed (perhaps to your surprise)?

Baltic Beauty: Gdańsk, Poland

It’s no mistake that I started to talk about our time in Gdańsk, and then diverted over to the side trips we took to Sopot and Malbork Castle. Every time I sit down to try to tackle what we did and saw in Gdańsk, I get overwhelmed. There was a lot to see and do, yet it was charming and picturesque enough to just sit back and enjoy without an agenda or plan. 

Part of what I appreciated about Gdańsk is that there’s variety. There are boats to see and even ride, museums to visit, churches to wander into, lots of history to study, easy access to the beach, amber to shop for, plus good food and hang-out spots when the time comes just to relax. Let me try to unpack the city a little more by its elements:

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Daytrip from Gdańsk: Malbork Castle

I have to apologize. I’ve done a bait-and-switch of sorts. Here I was last week, giving a teaser of our time in Gdańsk, and the only thing I’ve revealed so far is one of the side-trips we took from Gdańsk to the beach town of Sopot. The Jersey Shore parallels excited me, what can I say? (If you missed it, read more in my post on how Sopot is the Atlantic City of the East.) 

My apology is going to seem a bit empty in a moment though, because instead of getting to Gdańsk, I’m again going to divert over to our other day trip we took while in the area: to Malbork Castle. The truth is that as I try to grasp all we did in Gdansk, there are so many elements and facets to this city that I want to share, and it is overwhelming! But I will get to it soon, I really will.

Today though, it’s all about Malbork Castle. It is easily accessible from Gdańsk - it’s about 30-minutes via train, and then a 15-minute walk to the castle from the station. There’s definitely no way you can miss finding this when you get to town:

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