15 Pass Time Entertainment Ideas for Your Travels.

TRAVEL

Travel entertainment on the go is easy if you plan ahead and prepare for the hours unattained for waiting to connect on flights, trains or carpooling; spending time on overnight buses; or simply awaiting the rest of your crew to get ready for the next meet up.

I embarked on a connecting flight from Frankfurt to Warsaw in early January and was taken aback by my surprise at seeing a Polish “Pani” reading a hard copy novel. The first thought that came to mind was, “how does she feel carrying such load when she could alternatively carry a device that is able to hold multiple books at once, and one that is probably lighter than the book she’s reading?”

I felt a sense of disturbance as that thought crossed my mind. These means of travel entertainment (hard copy: books, newspapers, magazines), is that all a thing of the past in my mind then? I felt a discomfort from this notion as I remembered all the hard copy books I myself owned and kept at home.  My sense of discomfort was an indication that I was less likely to travel with a hard copy source of literature ever again, unless the situation so demands.

In todays digital age of fast paced, user friendly & convenient technological interfaces that are intended to unburden our day-to-day lives, hard copy literature not only dims in comparison to digital libraries & audio-books, but its usage heavily depands on the unavailability of an Internet connection &/or power outlet.

Entertainment is quite a vital part of any trip. Like most people, I loath being bored & do not take kindly on time wasted. For this reason I’ve made it a priority to always travel with a digital library, making it feel as if the whole world is in my hands – and who wouldn’t want to dive into that!

Below I’ve listed a few ideas for entertainment on the go. You may pick & choose from this list depending on the length of your trip, the intensity of your schedule, as well as what you find interest in:

  1. Reading (digital or hard copy) – become well-versed in your topics of interest. In a world where we’re bombarded with information 24/7, it’s a nice change of pace to cover more than just a few fleeting details of a subject that catches our interest. Don’t simply learn things by accident or coincidence – take time, dive into topics & become an expert about the things that interest you.
  2. Audio books – an invention fast revolutionizing the time & speed of learning.
  3. Music – indulge, catch up & create new play-lists according to your mood & activities
  4. Socialize – meet & make local friends. Ask for direction, explanation or recommendations as a conversation starter.
  5. Food feast – try out local dishes at popular spots. Alternatively; visit a market, pick up some groceries & prepare local dishes with the help of your local friends.
  6. Theatrics – visit a cinema or theater at your travel destination.
  7. Relax – spent some time in the gym, sauna or spa.
  8. Gaming – Board games, card games, tech games
  9. Photography: capturing images, unloading memory cards or editing pictures on a trip – could rid you off the burden of having to do so upon completion of a trip.
  10. Journal – If you are a travel blogger like I am or you simply enjoy keeping records of trips taken, take time to jot down your travel experiences in preparation for the blog you will right or just for keepsake.
  11. Conversation – A simple conversation goes a long way. Choose a topic of discussion & set direction for the flow of conversation.
  12. Geocaching – Local people often place geocaches in places a casual visitor would not readily know about. Geocaching is a great way of discovering places of local significance, viewpoints, walks, landmarks and areas of cultural and historical value.
  13. Equip yourself for your trip – study the local language, culture & cuisine.
  14. Walk & explore your neighborhood – this allows you to put in any extra hours of exercise you may sacrifice on you trip away from home. Remember to inquire about safety before embarking on a stroll & whenever possible, ask a friend to tag along.
  15. TV time – I often find this to be the last resort. It is the easiest option available to you almost anywhere you go.

Why you may need to prepare pass-time entertainment for your trips

Your itinerary may schedule end-on-end activities for you, but if you find yourself uninterested in certain group activities or not relating to the crowd in your immediate surroundings, what then do you do? Having your own sources of entertainment readily available could allow for better flexibility in how you spend your time and this way, you can make sure it is not wasted.

I climbed aboard an 11 hour flight one night and the majority of the flight’s entertainment screens where out of order. A lot of passengers found this to be a show of incompetence from the airline, but unfortunately the problem could not be solved during the course of our fight. This scene had me thankful I had with me a digital library I could use to pass time – I intensely dived into a book & was up reading for most of the night.

One could optimize the use of Travel time by doing things not normally scheduled for in a day-to-day routine, hence I urge you to find some “Me” time, pamper yourself & find pleasure in the small things to pass-time as you travel.

 

Stockholm, Sweden | A Scandinavian Summer

TRAVEL

My summer plans where clearly defined before summer 2017 came around, as there was no room for error in my already shortened summer break from Varsity. Stockholm was at the top of my list, as my person and I had been invited to a 70th birthday party by a sweet friend based in Stockholm. The party was to be at the beginning of August, and I thought to myself “what a delight it would be to catch some sun!”. This thought was a result of the cloudy & rainy days I was experiencing in Poznan then.

Having visited the island of Majorca in Spain at the end of June and taken in a bit of sun for about 4 days, I was hoping the weather would have warmed up upon my return to Poznan at the beginning of July. Unfortunately this was not the case and I had to sit through 4 weeks of summer training before I could escape the cloudy and gloomy weather that more often than not came with rain.

Four weeks later, I was just about ready to skip town as I made my way to Stockholm. My person and I planned on linking up at the Arlanda Airport because my flight was scheduled to arrive first. Having made arrangements for Per & Ingalill to pick me up from the airport, I then asked that those arrangements be canceled, as I wanted to meet him at the airport.

The Arlanda Airport was easy to navigate. I had with me a small carry on suitcase & therefore did not need to collect luggage upon disembarking my flight. After making my way to arrivals, I then headed for the bureau of exchange for some Swedish Krona. The Swedish Krona is not so expensive on the currency exchange, but mind you, the standard of living is quit high! It cost me about 60 Swedish Krona (approximately 6 Euros) for a decent cup of coffee in one of the Airport’s fine cafés. According to expats, Stockholm is 19% cheaper than London, 20% cheaper than Oslo & 21% more expensive than Berlin.

One of the waitresses at this café happened to be a young black woman who was quit interested to know where I was coming from & what it was I was doing in Stockholm. She started by asking me where I was from, to which I responded “Namibia”. I watched her as she paused in disbelieve, pen in hand as she took my order. Telling her I was in town for a birthday party sounded even more unbelievable!

9579JustImage Photography

About an hour later, my person finally arrived and we made our way to the metro to get a train into the city. We were scheduled to check into “Hotel With Urban Deli”. Seeing as to how my person had visited Stockholm before on several occasions, we could easily get around.

1531JustImage Photography

Central Stockholm

Arriving at “Hotel With Urban Deli”, the atmosphere was chilled, harmonious and comfortably welcoming. The hotel had a modern hip & colorful interior decor, including a good number of though provoking pieces of wall photographs. The hotel is centrally located. It has an inbuilt restaurant, a fresh food Deli & a rooftop garden bar. The atmosphere was filled with zest as people moved in and out of the hotel creating a vibrant, but yet relaxed & casual ambiance.

27144687_10210451313983050_267044236_o

Hotel With Urban Deli: wall photograph

We checked in and were directed to the elevator by the concierge. The bedrooms were simple and beautifully set-up. Considering the limited space which was available for set-up, I did not feel overwhelmed by the size of the room & rather found it to be cozy & conveniently arranged. The only down-side I found was when I needed to iron, I then needed to find the ironing room which was tucked away in a corner two to three turns away from the bedroom.

0522JustImage Photography

Hotel With Urban Deli: Interior Decor

9585JustImage Photography

Brunkebergs Tunnel in Norrmalm: A 231 meter long shortcut for cyclists & pedestrians through a ridge in the city center

0080JustImage Photography

 

9591JustImage Photography

Crystal Plaza

0524JustImage Photography

Swedish Summer House: come June, Swedes tend to abandon the cities and head to their summer houses for rest, relaxations & a touch of nature.

We paid a visit to the country side to get a feel of the Swedish summer houses. The drive to our destination was tranquil & clouds threatened rain. A look out the window showed vast open lands of nature enveloped in green! Drizzles of rain met us as we arrived at our destination and we quickly ran inside to take cover from the passing rain.

1010694JustImage Photography

Swedish Summer House

1010654JustImage Photography

Skansen: the first open-air museum & zoo in Sweden, located on the Island Djurgarden in Stockholm. Opened in 1891 by Artur Hazelius.

On this visit to Stockholm we managed to see Skansen, it was quite beautiful with plenty of animals to be seen; from snakes, to squirrels, to seals and so much more. We encountered traditional displays of Swedish women sitting outside their homes drinking tea and sharing stories.

 

 

 

 

 

 

1010701JustImage Photography

Seglora Church: The old wooden church in Seglora village was due for demolition when it was saved and moved to Skansen in 1916

Whilst in skansen, the weather got bad at some point and it started to rain. Since none of us had brought an umbrella, we managed to find shelter near the roof of one of the housing structures in the Skansen Park. It was truly a wonderful place to be, serene and peaceful. We grabbed some hot dogs & fries before heading out of the park.

1010745JustImage Photography

Bredablick tower:  30 meters high, located in Skansen

1010751JustImage Photography

Maypole in Skansen: the maypole must be decorated before it is raised. Swede folk dancers enter the park area around the maypole and invite visitors to sing & dance alongside them

1521JustImage Photography

Stockholm city view

Upon our return from Skansen, we headed to some ferries which were parked affront the Royal National Theater.

0150JustImage Photography

The Royal Dramatic Theater: Sweden’s national stage for “spoken drama”.

On the same day of our visit to skansen, we had also arranged to go on the archipelago, to visit the Stockholm islands. Did you know that Stockholm is made up of 14 Islands, connected by more than 50 bridges, which basically make up the whole city? Well now you know. Stockholm was beautiful, conveniently set up and not too overpopulated at that the time of our visit.

0224JustImage Photography

Grona Lund: Amusement park on Djurgarden Island

0196JustImage Photography

Riding a ferry, exploring the Stockholm Archipelago [which happens to be the largest in Sweden]

0184JustImage Photography

Viking waters 

0208JustImage Photography

Typical color (Falu Red) & architecture for Swede summer homes. Falu red is a dye used in deep red paint, well known for its use on wooden barns & cottages throughout Sweden.

1020014JustImage Photography

Restaurant & Cafe Rokeriet: located at Fjaderholmen 12, Stockholm. A Seafood restaurant.

That evening was going to be the birthday party that primarily brought us into town, so we headed back to “Hotel With Urban Delhi’ to prepare ourselves accordingly for the night.

9611JustImage Photography

City View: from Münchenbryggeriet conference center [A waterside event center housed in an iconic old brewery building] located at Torkel Knutssonsgatan 2, in Stockholm.

The party was to be held at Münchenbryggeriet conference center but before heading there, we were to meet up with some friends at Ingalill’s apartment, so we could head over to the party together.

Arriving at the party venue, coats where given to the concierge and table numbers were randomly assigned. The theme was rather interesting, it is one I quite hope to use someday as well. The tables where given the names of capital cities of countries that the birthday lady had lived in or visited over the course of her life up to her birthday date, and guests were randomly assigned their seat numbers so as to make sure that everyone sat with people they were not totally familiar with. This gave everyone an opportunity to network & socialize and thus, there was never a dull moment in time.

 

 

 

9801JustImage Photography

As the event began: Ingalill’s 70th birthday

To be frank, everyone on my table of 6 to 7 people hailed or was residing in a different country. To make matters more interesting, I found myself being the youngest member at the table that night. I asked a lot of questions and got a lot of feedback with regards to travel, life, careers & family. I received a fresh perspective from a number of people who seemed to have had quite a good run in live. Their take on the topics discussed at the table was rather refreshing, as they approached the conversation with the mentality of living nowhere & everywhere all at once.

9921JustImage Photography

City View-Point: the venue allowed for a wide-spread view of the distanced city. A touch of magic added as the sunlight slowly dimmed and the city lights came on.

0043JustImage Photography

Sapphire blue sky & waters adorned by a chain of golden lights

0090JustImage Photography

Old Haymarket Square, Stockholm 

Ultimately, Stockholm left a great impression on me. The basic necessities were conveniently availed and people adhered to rules and regulations accordingly. I remember this one time we called a taxi and failed to specify that we were with 2 children. The taxi showed up, and though it had no awaiting customers, the driver refused to take us to our destinations as he did not have the children’s car sits as is legally mandated.

0243JustImage Photography

Crowds gathered to watch the LGBT ’17 parading parties

Whilst in Stockholm, we also witnessed an LGBT/GLBT parade. My first time ever baring witness to such and I thought to myself “what freedom!” And how patriotic it was to have other citizens openly support the cause, in the name of those who identified themselves as a part of this group.  We stood amidst the crowd on the side-lines as the parading parties took up the road on King’s street!”

0440JustImage Photography

Amidst the crowd was I.

0464JustImage Photography

Stockholm was a fresh of breath air. Seeing how conveniently their country runs gives me hope for my own country which is still in the infancy of setting up and rectifying  systems for the convenience of public use.

For more amazing pictures from stockholm, check out  http://www.justimagephotography.com

2335JustImage Photography

The King’s Towers in Kungsgatan [King’s Street] downtown Stockholm.

Poland | 99 Years of Independence

TRAVEL

Poland has plenty of public holidays. A consequence of these holidays is that all shops, malls & most restaurants close their doors to join in celebrations – bringing business to a halt.

This was the case on November 11th 2017 when Poland celebrated its National Independence Day to commemorate the recovery of Poland as a sovereign state.

Taking a brief look into the history of Poland; the First Polish Republic [Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth] lasted a period of 226 years before 1795. The First Republic was a dualistic state [bi-confederation of Poland & Lithuania] ruled by a common monarch.

A Partitioned Poland existed from 1795 to 1918 [123 years], partitioned amongst the Russian Empire, the Kingdom of Prussia as well as Habsburg Austria. Four years towards the end of this period, World War 1 commenced and ended with the cessation of a Partitioned Poland.

From 1918 to 1939 the Second Republic of Poland [Polish People’s Republic or inter-war Poland] was in session, until the Second World War took place in 1939 to 1945.

A Communist Poland took up reins in the aftermath of World War 2, from 1945 to 1989.

Post 1989, Poland’s government ended its 44 years of “one – party rule” as per the Second Polish Republic, and began a democratic transition which led to what we now know as the Third Polish Republic [Post Communism – Democratic Republic of Poland].

To answer the question of when Poland gained its independence, it was in the year 1918, making the country one year short from a century of independence on November 11th 2017.

Saturday November 11th was a wet and cold day that had me in bed blogging away, waiting on the hour that my friends and I had planned to go and watch the Independence parade in Poznan’s Plac. Mickiewicza and despite the harsh weather, people were out in numbers.

To try and keep warm, my friends & I headed for the Zamek, a castle cultural center were we viewed photographs and historic depictions of Poland’s history. In the process of touring the Zamek, we stumbled upon a group of people getting ready for the parade.

Our first contact was with some lovely ladies robed in white gowns & red capes, both colors a representation of the bi-colored Polish National flag.

The moment was so intriguing I asked whether I could take picture of them. Upon agreeing, they suggested we join the group pictures and ultimately offered to dress us as they were dressed.

After completion of costumes and once it had been decided that we too would partake in the parade, we went ahead to see soldiers adding finishing touches to their costumes and chanting amongst themselves. They were to parade a historical reconstruction of Polish soldiers who had fought in the war that led to the country’s independence. It was a delight to be in the midst of such a joyous celebration.

The parade began.

Stepping into the drizzling rain, the crowd was enormous! They waved and smiled as the parade party passed by. The experience was exhilarating – celebrating the National Independence Day of Poland alongside the Poles, waving to children in the crowds and taking so many pictures along the way.

The day could not have been any more special, all thanks to the lovely ladies in white gowns and red capes.

23514595_1655456794550602_179326507_o_edited

View of the Zamek Castle Cultural Center from Plac. Mickiewicza

P1030208_edited

Statue performer

P1030229

Wall art depicting a time-line of Polish history | Zamek Castle

 

P1030272_edited

Getting ready for the parade

23547316_10214965783082652_423570429_o_edited

IMG_5921

It was a joyous occasion!

IMG_6288

A historical reconstruction of Polish soldiers who fought the war towards the country’s independence

IMG_6114IMG_6026IMG_6019IMG_6024IMG_603823516107_1655913237838291_20061779_o_edited23555514_10210002592605296_1855939136_o_editedIMG_6066IMG_6092IMG_6119IMG_6168IMG_6187IMG_6163IMG_6217IMG_6224IMG_6203

IMG_6243

Red capes and white gowns

23547106_1655902081172740_860532101_o_edited

Polish street cuisine

P1030280_edited

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

Palma De Majorca, Spain | My First Time in Spain

TRAVEL

 

Having wanted to visit Spain as far back as I can remember, it was an inexplicable coincidence that had Theopo and I both set on visiting Spain during the summer of 2017. We got in touch, made a few decisions and some arrangements and we were on our way to Majorca.

Upon arrival, we’d agreed to wait & meet at the Palma de Mallorca Airport since her flight from Dusseldorf was due to arrive 20 minutes after my flight from Munich had landed.

This arrangement had gone astray as her phone had died and airport WIFI was failing to connect. At first I opted to roam but then came to realise that the Orange Network is used in Spain as well, this discovery was futile as her phone was out of battery.

I opted to wait and hoped I’d spot her out in the passing crowd of arriving passengers as I set besides the luggage collection belts – suitcase in site, painting my nails a deep red as I pondered on all the excitement of having arrived in Mallorca, Spain.

After waiting close to an hour with no communications from her, I started to think that maybe she had found her way to the hotel ahead of me. During several failed attempts to contact her once again, I made a decision that had me on the way to the hotel. Half way from the airport to Hotel Horizonte where we had made our reservation, I receive a call from her asking where I was and that she was still at the airport. I asked the taxi to turn around and upon arrival at the airport, I get a second call informing me she is at the hotel. The roller-coaster of events was tedious, but we finally caught up with each other at Hotel Horizonte just before 10pm.

After checking in and being redirected to our assigned room by Adrianne – the young man who worked reception that night, we encountered the room to have some electrical problems. The time was now approaching midnight and on top of being upset that the hotel failed to pre-check the conditions of the room they’d assigned us before our arrival, we were famished and hoped to grabbed dinner before retiring to bed. Adrianne didn’t seem too sure on how to handle the situation and suggested he could get an electrician to fix the problem. We though that solution to be ridiculous & instead demanded to be reassigned a new room upon our return from dinner.

The hotel we stayed in was centrally located we thus took a 10min walk to the Porto-Pi commercial center and set down in Burger King as most food outlets where closed at this hour. Returning to the hotel, we were assigned a new room which turned out to be quite spacious. We settled in and chatted the night away as we prepared for bed.

My expectations of Spain where somehow challenged. The heat & humidity that met us in Majorca was bearable but discomforting. Waking up to our first full day, it took us all morning to get ready and upon stepping out, the sun was at full peak!

We headed in the direction of the commercial centre in search for snacks and drinks we could carry to the beach. Once we had the items in our possession, we hoped onto the bus and made our way to Cala Major beach in Palma.

The beach was pleasingly breath-taking with its white sand and blue waters! The Spanish were sunbathing to the colour of lobsters and dipping themselves into the waters repeatedly – some in all their naked glory! The level of comfort they have with their bodies is quite commendable. From young to old, women bear breasted or clothed – the heat blazing and waters refreshing, it was divine!

We returned to the hotel and passed the afternoon bathing in the cool waters of the hotel pool. Making friends during the course of this engagement, we arranged to have drinks with our new acquaintances later that evening, as they were scheduled to fly out of Mallorca in the early morning hours.

The evening was rather stimulating as we exchanged talk on career, origins, culture, shared music & dance moves. The night came to an end somewhat abruptly and we parted ways never to meet again!

P1000139

¿Cómo no vamos a tomar una selfie | How are we not going to take a selfie?

P1000140

Head statue of David | Estatua cabeza de David

 

P1000176

View from Hotel Horizonte Terrace

P1000188

P1000201

P1000204

Risa Capturada | Captured laughter

P1000209

llegando de la piscina | Arriving from the pool

 

P1000242

The streets leading to Porto-Pi shopping centers | Las calles que llegan a la Galeria de Porto-Pi

P1000272P1000329P1000335

 

P1000243

P1000273P1000332

P1000344

P1000364

Whilst inside the shopping mall, we encountered a stand with all sorts of delicious snacks

P1000367

Dentro de la Galeria de Porto-Pi

P1000370

Las calles que nos llevan a la playa Cala Major

P1000371

P1000375

Where else would you rather be when temperatures are so high?

P1000403

Colors of the ocean

P1000405

Los apartamientos cerca de la playa

P1000409

Palmas de Majorca | Palms of Mallorca

P1000410

Family sunbathing

P1000421

P1000423

walking the streets after the beach

P1000434

El view del Hotel Horizonte de la pisina

P1000533

P1000268

Caminando las calles de Porto-Pi

 

20885083_10209448164304935_1729155105_n

Listo a salir para la noche

Poland by Train, Get on Board!

TRAVEL

When compared to using roads or catching domestic flights across Polish cities, I would say that discovering Poland by train is a better choice. Driving can be tedious & lengthy while flights may be few and far spread causing one to pass time in airports. Traveling by train is quite efficient as you can get from one city to another in as little as four hours, such is the case between Gdansk and Poznan – But also trains are constantly on the move and one can easily reserve tickets on-line and hop onto the next train due to the frequency with which trains come and go.

DSC_5445

The efficiency and ease of travel is widely made available across Europe as tourism industries bring in huge numbers of country-trotting tourists and like in so many European countries, one can easily navigate & explore Poland by train.

DSC_5446

Intercity trains across Poland may not be of the same standard as its neighboring countries such as Germany and thus you may find yourself aboard a communist-era train carriage with the same frequency one finds themselves aboard a modern-tech train. Nonetheless, Polish intercity trains get you to your destination according to schedule. One can only anticipate and hope that high speed rails of up to date technology gain more ground nationally in line with the increasing population mobility of not only Polish commuters, but also tourists and international business consultants on the rise as the Polish economy continues to grow.

DSC_5442

Warsaw being the capital and central buzz of most business activities makes a frequent first point of entry for most modes of transport coming in and out of Poland.  The rail network spreads out across Poland from its biggest cities and Warsaw happens to be the point of convergence for all trains coming into the country.

DSC_5441

DSC_5440

Gdynia train station

 

Discovering different parts of Poland and experiencing the culture from different perspectives regarding location has proven that most city environments consists of more or less the same ambiance, the difference has not proven to be much and most of it is highly influence by resource availability in said areas. Cities come to life in the old market squares so be sure to visit the old markets, especially at night as the lights amplify and bring a magical feel to the atmosphere.

IMG_0760

Krakow old market square at night

Gdynia, Poland | A Mid Spring Insight Into Gdynia’s Waterfront

TRAVEL

Spring is well known to breathe life into the bleakness of harsh northern winters. When the cold lasts so long & daylight is often viewed on a grey-scale, one can’t help but eagerly anticipation the arrival of a new season. But what happens when season change is late to turn and come mid spring, we’re all still dragging around heavy coats?

This year was no different as the cold extended well into the new season and when the sun came out, we all flocked to the streets to soak up the heat.

The tree below, situated just outside the courtyard. Fascinating as it is without leaves in the middle of spring with its branches looking like dead roots reaching for the sky.

DSC_5069

Prolonged Winter Effects | Dead Tree Branches straining to reach the sky

DSC_5137

Perfect for a stroll

DSC_5142

Polish Navy ORP Blyskawica H34 Museum Destroyer

The ORP Błyskawica (H34) was a destroyer in the Polish Navy during World War II and is the only ship of the Polish Navy to be awarded the Virtuti Militari medal. The ship is currently preserved as a museum ship in Gdynia’s waterfront.
DSC_5140

Deep Blues

DSC_5130

The ships of Gdynia’s waterfront

DSC_5157

DSC_5150

Dragon Pirate Ship

DSC_5085

Evidence of spring

DSC_5071

Gdynia’s Fountain Mist

DSC_5093

DSC_5097

Basking in the sun|after one too many cloudy days

DSC_5077

Flower bed angle

DSC_5109

The sun brings everyone out for a stroll

DSC_5102

A friendly face pops up in warm colors

DSC_5153

Multi-Nation ship mast

DSC_5160

The docks

DSC_5165

DSC_5168

Polish Navy ORP Blyskawica H34 Museum Destroyer

DSC_5170

All so detailed | as crowds flocked to the streets

DSC_5172

Ship mast

DSC_5173DSC_5176

DSC_5177

Polish flag

DSC_5184

Polish Navy ORP Blyskawica H34 Museum Destroyer

DSC_5190DSC_5198

DSC_5202

An art of strings

DSC_5204

Anchor

DSC_5207DSC_5212

DSC_5236

Welcome to the On board fish bar

DSC_5258DSC_5266

DSC_5241

Amazing Heights!

 

DSC_5272DSC_5283

DSC_5274

beautiful

DSC_5277

Ship mast so extensive

DSC_5318

Joseph Conrad Monument at waterfront

DSC_5294

Gdynia Waterfront sky-scraping statue

DSC_5297

waterfront square

DSC_5336

DSC_5096

A day spent soaking up the heat

DSC_5328

Southern Pier Waterfront | Baltic Sea

IMG_7216

The port city produced amazing photographs around this time of year. The weather, though chilled was manageable & the streets where heavily pack during the day & emptied up at night!

To view more travel photographs, checkout http://www.justimagephotography.com

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 | Hiking Mount Gubałówka

TRAVEL

The decision to visit Zakopane was rather spontaneous. Finding ourselves in Gdynia, one of Poland’s port cities over a public-holiday weekend, when shopping centres were shut down, we made a spur-of-the-moment decision to change cities. On attempt to find a place that was worth the travel time – we settled on Zakopane! This was right at the beginning of May & spring was in full swing.  The closest airport to Zakopane is the KRK airport in Krakow. Arriving at the airport well into the night hours, we took a taxi & drove for about an hour & a half before reaching our destination in Zakopane. We arrived at the Mercure Hotel quite late that night.

DSC_5607

Entrance to Mercure Hotel – Zakopane

Entering the hotel, one notices the brown themed interior décor made from wood – as can be expected in most places around Zakopane. The attention to detail in wood carvings is exquisite! I felt nostalgic from the proximity with which they came close to creating an African-like themed décor.

DSC_5603

Once through the front door of the hotel, to your immediate right is an artificial fireplace with realistic artistry designed to fool just about anybody, it looked authentic. We checked in & after settling in, slept the day’s exhaustion away.

DSC_5605

Artificial Fireplace

DSC_5519

Details

DSC_5548

Wooden Furniture

DSC_5562DSC_5531_1

Waking up the next morning, we headed to the gym for about half an hour before prepping for breakfast. A breakfast buffet is laid out every morning in the dining area located on the lower floor of the hotel.

DSC_5526_1

Breakfast

DSC_5709

Room Window View

Due to the state of weather, we were advised to stay clear of cable cars as the view was expected to be obstructed by fog soon. This led to the decision to explore the centre of the small town. I wrote about walking the town of Zakopane 2 blogs ago.

DSC_5708

Room Window View

Returning to the hotel that night we passed time at the bar area, chatting the night away & sorting through material for some blog posts already written.

 

Waking up to our last day and expecting to check out, we were relentless to see the view over the small town from the cable cars & thus vowed not to leave without seeing the view despite the warning of fog. We then went to inquire from reception of the possibility of having a better view that day, as the weather was tolerable during morning hours. The lady at reception draw us a rough map to facilitate getting there, and after several attempts, we were on our way to riding cable cars at Gubałówka.

DSC_5565_1

Inquiries From Reception on Activities

DSC_5718

Path Leading us Away from the Hotel

Walking the slopes of the mountains heading to Gubałówka, the sky grey, showed little sign of fog obstruction, but did result in short lasting raindrops from time to time during the course of our climb. Therefore the view obstruction was minimal as we headed out around 10AM.

DSC_5720

Ascending Mountain Slopes

The hotel receptionist gave us information about the cable cars that would bring us down the mountain slopes, she explained a route so simple that ultimately turned out to be the “walk of my life” if I can put it that way. We stepped out of Mercure hotel turning right as instructed & stumbled upon 2 paths. Contemplating which to take, we wound up taking the second – we were both uncertain of the route & both with different suggestions of which to take. Walking up the second path, we stumbled upon a man sitting near some kind of small structured building which looked as if put up for the sole purpose of shelter. From him, we tried to verify the direction in which we were travelling, whether we were on the right path & if not – how we could get to this Gubałówka? The man, before directing us warmed us of mud puddles due to recent rain & discouraged us from continuing the path we were on. He redirected us to the main road, as implied by the receptionist to begin with.

DSC_5734

Dirt Road to Gubałówka

DSC_5909

Houses Along Slopes of the Mountain

The uphill path began with an entrance leading to houses. After a while the houses became scanty & scattered. I couldn’t see anything promising regarding cable cars in the distance.

DSC_5918

Ruins of A Barn

I was beginning to get somewhat hot & tired in my tight jeans & red jacket. Removing the jacket, we continued on the same path in hope of reaching our desired destination.

DSC_5923_1

The Struggle of Walking The Slippery Slopes Up the Mountain

DSC_5756_1

Happy to Be Taking a Break

We eventually reached higher ground & the hotel was visible to us from a fairly long distance, this discouraged the possibility of tracking back. We were now on wide open fields and the scenery was starting to pick up, inspired by the amazing view, we continued on.

DSC_5784

Mercure Hotel – Zakopane

DSC_5780

Snow Atop The Mountains

DSC_5783

The Small Town Resting at The Foot of the Tatra & Gubałówka Mountain Ranges

DSC_5785

In a distance we notice a flock of sheep & the shepherd to one end & to another we notice a few people tracking up the mountain slope like we were. With the shepherd being at a distance, we were unable to ask for directions & rather continued in faith & hope that we were on the right track. Tired, unsure of the route & with raindrops falling down on us, I was ready to try a different route and seek out shelter shall it start pouring rain!

DSC_5830

As We Continued Higher Up

DSC_5831

We Had A Gorgeous View

With some encouragement & unwillingness to give up on our quest, we came across 3 to 4 houses which were widely spaced out. At some point in time, I felt like we were in a horror movie & my overactive imagination came to play.  The area was quite & secluded; expecting someone to step out of their home, give us wrong directions into the woods & somehow detain us there *laughs*. Now that I think about it, sounds a tidbit like paranoia, no?

DSC_5835

Moving on much further up the mountain, we came across a man walking a toddler whilst pushing a baby stroller. Coincidentally they came out for a stroll just as we passed their home. Now mind you, one hardly comes across “people of color” when in Zakopane, let alone find them walking amidst the woods on some country mountain slope – but this was us!

Asking for directions from this family, we continued and stumbled upon a hungry looking horse tied up a few feet from the house. On attempt to approach the horse, I saw how red its eyes were & retracted on the thought of rabies, yes paranoia yet again but probably for the right reasons this time around.

DSC_5843_1

A Malnourished Horse Tied Up

DSC_5855_1

Captivated by The Sensation & Tranquility of  Where I am, I set my Soul Free to Roam Without A Care!

DSC_5890_1DSC_5906

DSC_5907

The Unknown Path

DSC_5937

Wandering The Woods

DSC_5940_1

Almost There …

It was an adventure! One I’d like to repeat again due to the adrenaline rush & comics of paranoia, but certainly not in tight jeans. Yikes!

DSC_5953

Destination Reached!!

Once atop the mountain, it was all worth it! The scenery breath-taking, we found crowds of people, refreshments & the cable cars where not too far off.   This “walk of my life” was one of the longest, one of the toughest, but certainly also one of the best!

DSC_5954

Breathtaking scenery

DSC_5962

Cable Cars

DSC_5965

Getting Ready to Hop On

DSC_5969

Easing Down The Slopes

DSC_5971

Loved The View!!

DSC_5989