Poznan, Poland | City Blog

TRAVEL

A question I’ve often found repeatedly directed at foreigners residing in Poznan is; “How do you find it?” And so often I’ve come to find that not only do I give the same response with the change in inquisitors, but I also receive the same answer whenever I extend the same question to other outsiders.

Poznan is a city on the Warta River, in Greater Poland. This city is best known for its renaissance old town and is amongst the largest & oldest in Poland. It has been my home for just over three years now, and O’ so often I’ve answered the above question with “It grows on you”, and this is true.

_DSF5897JustimagePHOTOGRAPHY_edited

I had no previous knowledge of Poland before settling to study in Poznan, let alone the culture or cuisine of the Polish people. The detail I was certain of, which seemed to have given me false confidence concerning geography, was that I could easily locate the country on a map & like most people I had often confused it with Holland [the Netherlands].

Appreciation & understanding of a place, I believe arises from ones views & knowledge of where they come from, as well as knowledge of the place they’re trying to gain an understanding and appreciation for.

Places are uniquely different. Molded by historic influences on culture, economy, architecture and so forth, I’ve often found that society progresses and builds itself to make provision for dominant habits whilst attempting to stay rooted in cultural norms. Certain differences may prove inconvenient, while others may proof beneficial to outsiders.

_DSF5905JustimagePHOTOGRAPHY_edited

Stay long enough in a place and you’ll soon come to see the cracks & imperfections in systems. You will get critical as you get accustomed. On the other hand, I’ve come to realize that the things I most appreciate about living in this city have remained a constant over time.

Poznan is bigger than I’ve explored. In the little corner of the city where I live, which is the Grunwald dzielnica or neighbourhood, silence and lack of disturbances in the neighbourhood is what I’ve come to appreciate the most.

Coming from a country where simply carrying your purse the wrong way or leaving it unattended could have it snatch in the blink of an eye, I’ve quiet grown accustomed to my mother’s constant reminders of holding my purse close to my chest anytime I walked the town. Living in Poznan, I’ve noticed that there are times when chivalry shows up. I’ve come to appreciate this notion the day I unknowingly climbed aboard a tram with an open handbag and had somebody lightly tap on my shoulder and advise me to close my bag. Mind you, I’m on no attempt to paint a perfect picture of this centrally located polish city – as there are things I often observe in Poznan, that are not common where I come from. Second hand public smoking is something one often runs into more often than not. You’re likely to find yourself walking behind someone strolling with a cigarette in hand ahead of you.

P1020585_edited

Old Market Square

One thing I can comment on, for both the city I hail from (Windhoek) as well as for Poznan, is the beauty in their sunsets. Now, of course this sunsets are subject to seasonal change – but when the opportunity presents itself and one takes a glance at the horizon from a good point of view, you are bound to find an astonishing sunset that will make you appreciate the dance of colors from lighting produced by sun beams during the summer & autumn seasons.

P1020241DSC_1046JustimagePHOTOGRAPHY_editedP1020603_edited_editedDSC_1059JustimagePHOTOGRAPHY_edited

P1020587_edited

Old Market Square

DSC_0596JustimagePHOTOGRAPHY_edited

DSC_0706JustimagePHOTOGRAPHY_edited

Plac Wolnosci

DSC_0688JustimagePHOTOGRAPHY_editedDSC_0880JustimagePHOTOGRAPHY_edited

_DSF5979JustimagePHOTOGRAPHY_edited

Fredry Street

_DSF5907JustimagePHOTOGRAPHY_edited

Jordan Bridge | Most Biskupa Jordana

_DSF5918JustimagePHOTOGRAPHY_edited

Archcatherdral Basilica of St.Peter & St.Paul

_DSF5956JustimagePHOTOGRAPHY_edited

Lake Malta

_DSF5938JustimagePHOTOGRAPHY_edited_DSF5941JustimagePHOTOGRAPHY_edited

Gdynia, Poland | The Search Behind Seaside Hotel View Accommodations

TRAVEL

An indispensable attraction presented by hotels located on the waterfront is the unobstructed access to a beautiful view of the large bodies of water. As a potential client of such hotels, one can expect common areas to be set out to receive the best view from the edifice. Regarding individual rooms, with buildings having all types of dimensions, you’re most likely to find yourself facing a direction providing a view you may not have anticipated. Even so, there is no guarantee that one will be availed a room with a seaside view, especially when a client fails to specify their preferences in booking details.

With that said, I’d highly recommend you emphasis your preference of a room with a view in the “comment” sections most booking sites provide – this enables the hotel to contact and inform you of the availability status of your request.

A common aspiration most people have when visiting seaside destinations is having or acquiring an accommodation that allows them – if not a direct view, at least easy & quick access to the waterfront or seaside. Most clients who frequent seasides more often than not look forward to these views and this diminishes the circumstances of finding room types with such views unoccupied.

This was the case on our visit to the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel on Gdynia’s waterfront at the end of April 2017.

DSC_5397

parking lot in front of the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel in Gdynia

As expected, check in starts at 2pm but our arrival was well after 9pm as the train from Poznan to Gdynia took us a good 4 to 5 hours.

DSC_5412

Walk from hotel to waterfront entertainment areas

After checking in & freshening up, a decision was made around 10pm that led to us heading out in search for open food places. The waterfront area is not too complicated to navigate as everything is in walking distance.

DSC_5434

Courtyard by Marriott Hotel bar area

DSC_5437

Courtyard by Marriott Hotel bar area

DSC_5406

Moshi Moshi Sushi located in the Culture & Entertainment center of Gdynia Waterfront

We found ourselves at this chic sushi restaurant the first night. Besides a coffee shop located on the ground floor of the entertainment center, this sushi place was amongst the only open food places we came across. Though bill check out is done at 11pm, we settled here until mid-night. Service was great & the sushi even more so!

DSC_5404

Bank Polski – located just outside the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel

DSC_5410

The docks are located at a 5-10 minute walk from the hotels entrance

DSC_5125

Courtyard by Marriott

DSC_5425

Courtyard by Marriott

DSC_5430

The kitchen area provides a direct sea-view

DSC_5020

Breakfast

DSC_5052

IMG_7266

A buffet is laid out at the kitchen area for self selection  | Breakfast at the bar area is possible & encouraged when the kitchen area fills up

DSC_5401

With spacious rooms posing a modern; clean-cut interior design & a gym laid out in the simplest of ways availing the common & necessary equipment  – I can confidently say the stay at the Courtyard by Marriott was fantastic!

Zakopane, Poland | The World is A Small Town

TRAVEL

 

DSC_5614

En route to the city center

Situated at the slopes of the majestic Tatra mountains with a population approximating 30 000 inhabitants, hidden  between the gentle range of Gubałówka and the rocky Tatra summits, is Zakopane – a small and remote village located at the southern end of Poland. Commonly known as the winter capital of Poland, Zakopane is well known for drawing in a great number of holidaymakers

 

DSC_5622

Holy Family Church in Zakopane’s Main Street

The main church in Zakopane is a Catholic church of almost 100 years old, it is the seat of the Holy Family Parish. The church is easily located whilst strolling through Krupówki Main Street

 

 

DSC_5625

Strolling down the popular Ulica Krupówki

An activity popular amongst tourist visiting Zakopane is strolling down Krupówki street. Lined with stores; restaurants; carnival rides and performers, the constant buzz creates a zestful ambiance.

Open market venders are often seen alongside walking pavements, selling diverse selections of items from traditional clothing to ornaments, shoes & purses.  many a time, a selection of finger food can also be bought from these venders. Food like the famous smoked sheep cheese well known as Oscypek, as well as dried sausages.

dsc_5628.jpg

As spring takes effect | the passing rain in Early May

 

DSC_5632

Horse-drawn carriage rides are a popular tourist attraction for getting around

If ever you find yourself in Zakopane, I suggest you try a horse drawn carriage ride. For centuries horses have been known to hold a significant place in Polish culture & history. The Arabian Horse was especially popular, it held its importance in the development of certain horse breeds.  Horses were indispensable during the time of war and to date maintain a certain significance in culture.

 

DSC_5641_1

The Fashion Street passage-way branching off at Krupowski 29

This shopping street is well known as a notorious spot for sportswear and luxury fashion. Here you find world-renowned boutiques selling high-end products.

Turning into 29 Krupówki street at the end of the passage-way, one finds Restauracja i Cukiernia Góralska Tradycja (Restaurant & bakery of the Góralska Tradition) offering an exquisite selection of highlander cuisine.

 

DSC_5637_1

Fluffy – Furry pompom charms are the cutest ❥

The O bag brand is an Italian concept centered around building your own handbag by selecting shape, color, handles and inner body. The selection is wide & varied and can take as less as 5 minutes to put your bag together, allowing you more time for selection. I’ve found the brand to be quite popular amongst Polish women, I too do find their bags to be rather charming!

DSC_5640_1

Look what I came up with | I had fun assembling my O Bag ❥

 

This small town has a certain depth to its cultural preservation beautifully portrayed in its architecture; food preferences & way of service. Tourists are a constant in Zakopane, but rarely does one spot a person of color. The defining moment came to me when we stepped into a family-style local restaurant with a setting – as if picked straight out of an early 20th century  photograph. The place was loud, humid & crowded with families sited in booths & fervently talking between themselves. We walked in and people rather began to stare – only to turn around & start whispering – perplexed at the presence of two queer strangers in their midst.

 

 

Amsterdam, Netherlands | A Daring & Exotic Cannabis Nirvana

TRAVEL

Whilst approaching the German – Netherland border, the driving conductor makes an announcement over the intercom “We know that many of you come here for obvious reasons, but whatever your reasons – please take note that upon your return from the Netherlands – boarder control is keen on checking if you’ve brought back any illegal substances. Please beware to leave all illegal substances behind on your return.”

We arrived in Amsterdam in the early morning hours. The weather was chilled but quickly picked up warmth approaching the afternoon. One quickly picked up on the multiculturalism across the city as tourists poured in through the course of the day. Dutch & English are spoken here. The city’s ambience was “gezelling” & easy to relax into. City cycling appeared the common means of getting around town though trams were also available. There are plenty canals around the city & canal cruises are huge tourist attractions. Amsterdam is a historic centre & one easily finds a wide range of souvenirs from; cheese, to clogs (traditional Dutch wooden shoes), to marijuana inspired clothing & sexually inspired accessories.

I’ve heard Amsterdam being called the adult Disney land. The city offers plenty entertainment & visual depictions of human sexuality & Netherland – Amsterdam in particular has also been referred to as the Jamaica of Europe due to the Country’s liberal set of policies which amongst other things legalizes the use of marijuana.

Whispers & talk of Amsterdam carry to the ears of ignorant outsiders two common words; prostitution & marijuana. Reason being that while these 2 items are still illegal in many countries – Holland deems it legal to practice prostitution & use marijuana, without the occasional doctors note, which often serves as means to acquiring the substance, or the backdoor trades associated with prostitution. Both activities are legally regulated.

Amsterdam, which according to the Dutch constitution is the capital of Holland, portrays not only the vastly anticipated sex themed activities in its famous red light districts, but also marijuana inspired collections of clothing items & food substances. Whilst walking the busy streets of the city, one notices artistic attention to details embroidered in buildings put up a few hundred years ago.

Some things encountered in Amsterdam, I’ve found to be morally questionable while others appeared sensible. Discretion is maintained on streets and people are friendly & helpful.

A trip to Amsterdam is a must add-on to your Bucket List Destinations

 

 

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Luxembourg City, Luxembourg | Both The City & The Country

TRAVEL

Luxembourg (the country) has one of the highest GDPs in the world, with Luxembourg City being a banking & administrative centre, you find quite a good number of individuals working in banks.

The city is divided into 24 quarters & has a substantial immigrant population. As a result, multilingualism is a part of everyday life in Luxembourg. French, German, Luxembourgish & English are some of the languages spoken there.

Arriving at Luxembourg City railway station in mid-June, the summer sun blazing upon us – I was then travelling with Tina [an exchange student from Tajikistan]. Luxembourg City was busy & the railway station buzzing with teenagers. Stepping out of the station & finding direction to our accommodation was easy. We stayed 3-4 blocks down the street so we took the sidewalk to our destination. The open blue skies displayed jets flying overhead & along the sidewalks we could see flowers blooming in public gardens. Ultimately, we found our host & settled in quite well.

Luxembourg City is absolutely gorgeous, come day or night. I felt it to be one of the safest cities I’ve visited;

 

 

 

 

 

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

roaming the streets until well into the late evenings & easily using public transport when necessary. I’m not saying the state of safety is an excuse not to pay attention to safety, one is to use common sense at all times.

 The city is quiet & charming, extremely rich in history & architectural infrastructure. Luxembourg City is one to behold!

The city holds a good selection of restaurants & one is able to see the local history museums, walk through casemates that are well-lit in the evening time & see the valley with beautiful parks.

Though we only spent a few days in the City, the trip was absolutely amazing!

 

msmh