Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Arriving in Poland

Well, it has been awhile since I have shared with you my thoughts about living in Poland.  I arrived safely and on time to Wroclaw's Airport on August 3 around 1:30 pm local time.  I was collected at the airport by one of the schools' secretaries and she is fantastic.

The first thing we did was to go and look at two apartments before I was dropped off at the hotel, so I could start thinking about permanent housing for the two year duration of my contract.  I really liked the second apartment that we visited but the landlord was away on holiday and would not return for another week.  So the secretary and I agreed to visit three more flats the next day and hopefully by the end of the week, I would be settled in a flat.

If you follow me on Facebook, you have seen a few of the pictures that I have taken since arriving here.  So I will start with my stay at the Hotel Wroclaw at the edge of the center of town.  If you look at the far left of the picture, and count four windows down from from the roof, the corner room is the one that I stayed in for two nights and three days.  It is one of the most quaint hotels in the area.  It still carries the feel of Soviet architecture and spartan accommodations.  Here are the pictures from the room with explanations.

The room had a working desk, bed, bathroom and closet.  At the end of the desk, below the television is the refrigerator for the room.  The room was clean and for someone who had just been travelling for over 17 hours, I had no complaints about anything.  

The bathtub was deep and it felt wonderful to soak my travel weary body in hot water and relax.  I almost fell asleep in the tub.  The toilets on this side of the world do not have handles, they have push buttons or they have pull chains.  The one at this hotel has a push button on the top of the water tank.

The first night was a bit difficult because the floors have up and down steps.  So when I was going to the bathroom I stubbed my right toe and damaged my gorgeous pedicure. I was not happy about that, but I rolled with the adventure.  A chipped toenail in Poland is worth it.  Here is the step that caused the damage to my toenail.  However, the bathtub and other facilities were above par as you can see with these pictures.

I had all of the best intentions to go out and have dinner at the center of town, but I only had enough energy to bathe and go to sleep.  Besides with a bed as inviting as this one, who could turn it down?  Sleep came easily and quickly and it was difficult to wake up in the morning to go to breakfast.  I almost did not go, but knowing that the quickest way of getting over jet lag symptoms is to quickly follow the routines and timetables of the locals, I decided to get up, clean up, and join the rest of the waking world here in Wroclaw.

At the hotel's restaurant, I was greeted by the server and seated at a table.  The breakfast is set up as a buffet and I proceeded to get my food.  To my surprise, breakfast in Poland is nothing like breakfast back home.  Here you are welcomed with wonderful green salads, three kinds of fish, boiled eggs, boiled potatoes, buttered rolls that literally melt in your mouth, yogurt, and assorted fresh fruits.  

Espresso here in this area of Poland is king.  Regular coffee is instant and then milk is added to the mixture.  I have also noticed that you have two choices for sugar:  white granulated sugar and granulated brown sugar.  I have not been able to find sugar substitutes at all.  Tea is also a big drink here in Poland served both hot and cold.

I settled for fresh fruit, yogurt, coffee with brown sugar and milk, and juice.  Everything was fresh and very flavorful and the room was filled with quiet conversations and the noise of eating utensils being used.  I thought that I would be stressed out, but the environment was so relaxing that I stayed a little while longer just sipping my espresso and engaging in people watching.

That evening, I decided to venture to the store next to the hotel.  It's like a Wawa, except that they serve food for you to eat at little tables inside the store.  The store is called Wild Bean Cafe.  My first meal, ordered in Polish, and taken to the hotel can be seen in the picture.  A cup of coffee, a bag of chips, a sandwich, and a smoothie.  The food was quite tasty and cheap.  Total was about 15 pln which is approximately $5.  

Tomorrow I will tell you about finding the perfect apartment and learning to use the public transportation system.  

Thank you for dropping by and I hope to see you soon here in Wroclaw to celebrate the EuroCup!

Until my next post, have a great adventure where ever you are!

The Nomadic Librarian