Poland, Useful Travel Guides

Friday, 30 April 2010

Wroclaw, preparations

Our preparations for the trip to Wroclaw are well under way. We have booked a nice little apartment only a hundred metres or so from the main square in the centre so hopefully we are ideally situated for our exploration of the city. Flights have been booked from Doncasters Robin Hood Airport to Wroclaws Copernicus Airport. As we are driving to Robin Hood Airport we have booked the car parking at the airport, hope all goes well with this as they have not got car number plate recognition and we have to insert the credit card used to book the car parking into the ticket machine at the car park and hope it is recognised and returned, I'm sure all will go well.The car parking was booked online, very straightforward, just punched in an internet search for airport car parking and then Doncaster, filled in a few questions, paid by credit card, hey presto it was done. Booking the flights took a little longer as we had several options of airport and flying times. We eventually decided on Doncasters Robin Hood Airport and carrier Wizzair. We have used this combination before and have had no problems, although saying that an email has just arrived from Wizzair to say they will be strictly enforcing their baggage rules so we will have to double check the weights and size of hand baggage before we set off. We arrive at Wroclaw in the early morning about 2 to 3 am so we intend to get a taxi to the apartment. As we arrive at that early hour we had to pay extra for someone to meet us at the apartment with the keys. Not much sleep or time to recover as I believe the next morning is the start of the  8th Thanks Jimi Festival  and World Guitar Record attempt, last year there were six thousand three hundred and fourty six guitarists so I dont think an alarm call will be required.

More on this to follow

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Krakow, The Vistula River

River Vistula, Krakow
After visiting Wawel Casle in Krakow the afternoon was still warm and sunny so we wandered down to the river Vistula only minutes away for a walk along the riverbank. Nice easy walking on a tarmac pathway with a cycleway running alongside.
River Vistula riverside walk
It doesn't really get any better, pleasant grassed areas to the side of the river, superb view of the castle, and the river traffic which consisted of small pleasure craft, gondolas, kayaks and river cruisers travelling up and down the river. After a short distance we came across one of the river cruisers tied up, its captain and crew touting for business, we were not sure whether to try a trip until I saw the Tyskie ( Polish Beer ) sign on the top deck, we decided a river cruise it would be, if only for an hour in duration. It turned out that the large cruiser we were ushered onto was just a staging post, a very pleasant one at that, live music, open sun deck with brollies for shade, the river gently running by and of course a litre of  cool polish Tyskie beer, the afternoon that could not get any better was now excelling itself. Half an hour of pleasant relaxation later another slightly smaller river cruiser the 'Nimfa' came into view and tied up alongside this it turned out was to be our transport for our trip upriver.
Wawel Castle in the background
After boarding we found comfortable seats at the rear of the boat from which we had a good view of the river and surrounding points of interest. Within ten minutes the crew had cast off and we were on our way in glorious sunshine. Our position on the aft deck gave us a good position for photography and we spent the next fourty five minutes or so happily clicking away, There were so many points of interest, we passed under the Debnicki Bridge with the suberbs of Nowy Swiat on our right and Debnicki on our left. On the cycleways and riverside paths were people also taking advantage of the afternnon sunshine, further along were fishermen, it was very idylic. Soon the boat was making the turn for its return journey and it wasn't long before Wawel Castle came into view, what a sight, the castle with its spires and red brick walls, sat on the hill just beyond the bend in the river it really was the highlight of the cruise.
Wawel Castle, Krakow
Should you visit Krakow take the time to stroll to the river Vistula. If you go via Wawel Castle there is a stunning view of the river from the castle entrance and if you need refreshment after climbing up to the castle there is a bar/cafe in its grounds.

Useful Links

Vistula River Trips 
Krakow in Your Pocket Guide
Magnificent Krakow
Tyskie Polish Beer
Photographs Vistula River
Poland Trips

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Gdansk 'The Restaurant at Opatow Palace'

Not far from the centre of Gdansk is a place not to be missed it is called  Oliwa Park.
There are several reasons for its popularity, extensive parkland initially constructed in the eighteenth century. Filled with flowered areas and pleasant pathways shaded by the trees,
meandering streams and ornimental ponds, all in all a very relaxing place.


But there is more, sat majesticaly in the grounds is The Archcathedral Basilica. 
This is one of the oldest historical sights of Gdansk. 
It houses the renown Rococo organ initially built by Jan Wulf and Frederick Rudolph Dalitz.
We were lucky enough to be there during a recital, its range and quality of sound is not to be missed.
Interior of The Archcathedral

Finally we come to a little oasis found under the shelter of some large trees, 
in the eastern wing of the Abbots Palace, 

it is called  
'The Restaurant at the Opatow Palace' 
its interior gives the impression of a sumptious and very stylish home. 

Its cooking style is international with a hint of Poland. 
In summer meals and snacks can be eaten outside on the decking with choice of sunny or shaded area. 
As it was summer we ate outside and enjoyed a light snack 
saving the best till last, two mouth watering classic polish cakes: 

    warm szarlotka (apple pie) with ice cream and raspberry coulis 

and sernik with chocolate (cheesecake). 

Sweet Memories!

Some useful links

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Gliwice, A Family Visit, Tinged with Sadness

On Sunday evening Cecile returned from Gliwice via Katowice Airport, her journey to the airport was by bus and she arrived in good time for her flight to the Doncaster Robin Hood Airport. Usually Cecile would visit her parents at Easter but due to work commitments she flew out a few days later and enjoyed a happy reunion with her parents. Cecile was travelling light using only hand baggage and so on this trip was only able to take our small Canon point and shoot camera and managed to find some time to take a few photographs. Which I hope you will enjoy.
The Neptune Fountain, Gliwice
Arcades, Rynek, Gliwice
Iglo Cafe, Rynek, Gliwice

The Town Hall, Gliwice

After a long busy Wednesday the night flight to Poland was a bit too much but when at 1.30am (yes AM) I saw my father's big smile at seeing me in front of the airport, the tiredness just didn't count anymore.
We had a happy chit chat in the taxi - me, my Dad and the driver. The taxidriver spent 3 years in England, had only good memories and wasn't even a proper taxi driver as he was working at night, sleeping half of the day and completing his degree in IT studies in the afternoons. Impressioning!
After getting to sleep around 3am, we considered it a good achivement being up at 8.00. My cats couldn't help meowing in front of my bedroom and my Mum let them in. What a joy! Purring, hugging, kissing - our cats Rita, Tunia & Ida + me + my Mum!
Both Thursday and Friday passed pleasantly, the fridge and freezer were still full of Easter delicacies kept for me by my Mum. Devastating for my figure, delicious for my palate. We always used to enjoy this period right after the celebrations - when the house is still so fresh and tidy, there is still an abundance of the best food and you can just relax.. As the weather was nice and Peter had been pestring me about taking some photos we went for a walk and took some pictures on the way.
Pigeons, Rynek, Gliwice
Zwyciestwa Street, Gliwice
Old Town Balcony
Doorway in the Old Town
Disused Tram Tracks, Dolne Waly Street

Old Town
The Old Gateway after Excavation

It was the only time to do it as on Saturday morning just when clearing the table after our long polish breakfast we received the phone call from my Auntie Zosia from Wroclaw. She was crying - my Mum thought perhaps one of our relatives had died. It proved  not - she was telling us that the Polish President and his wife died in a plane crash while flying to Katyn. It was unbelievable!
We just felt our knees were softening. My heart was beating so fast. It was terrible. We switched the TV on and... so it stayed till midnight. In the beginning we didn't realise how many other great figures were in the crash. As the names appeared we felt more and more devastated. Our family and neighbours kept on calling - not one, not two, all in tears, voices shaking, with great doubts and unbelief - second Gibraltar - they were saying. HOW could it happen? The reports from the place of tragedy were incoherent. If the fog was so dense  WHY the airport wasn't simply closed for the planes???!!! This is such a common procedure. The time, the place, and THE PEOPLE involved so significant..
My Mum put the flag with the black ribbon out of the balcony to show our respect and feelings.
And on Sunday as well we still were living like in a bad dream. I was leaving home and the last pictures on the TV were the ones of the plane carrying President's body landing in Warsaw. Devastating. Great sorrow and sadness. All warm feeling were with Jaroslaw Kaczynski (the twin brother and his family) and all the other families who lost their loved ones in this tragedy. For the first time in my life I felt like actually wearing a mourning ribbon. I still feel like it very much.
Adam Mickiewicz Statue, Gliwice

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Polish President Killed in Plane Crash

Cecile has just texted me from her home in Poland with the sad news that Polish President Lech Kaczynski has been killed in a plane crash. It would appear his plane came down as it tried to land at Smolensk Airport, Western Russia.
 Our feelings go out to all family and friends.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Business Card 'Imagine Poland'

This is our first design for a business card. The photograph is the main square in Kakow taken in the early evening. We used photoshop to design it and the text is Rage Italic.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Easter Sunday. Our Polish Breakfast

The preparation by Cecile for the Easter breakfast was well worth the effort, superb, although I overdid it a little and could not eat another thing all day
Easter Breakfast 2010

Prior to this we had been to the 6.30am 'Sunrise Service at the Cow and Calf Rocks, Ilkley ( photo's to follow ) so we were ready for a good breakfast

Katowice and Gliwice, short trip

Just got back home after taking Cecile to Robin Hood Airport near Doncaster. Travelled to airport via M62 early this evening, traffic was very light, very pleasant journey from Ilkley. Quite busy at the airport as flights to Gdansk and Poznan were also leaving round about the same time as Ceciles flight to Katowice. We managed to grab a coffee from Costa's and then Cecile went straight to the security gate to board as she had checked in on line, everything went smoothly. Quite impressed with Robin Hood Airport it seems a no frills place but very efficient, travelled from there to Poland via Wizzair several times before with no problem. Parking was well signed and easy to follow. Will be there again soon to pick Cecile up from her trip and hear all the news, will keep you posted.

Travels in Poland, A Start

I think its about time we taked about one of  our more recent ventures, travel photography. After looking through our photographs from holidays we had taken in Poland we realized that many people were not aware of the beauty and character of the country and did not even consider it as a holiday destination. As a way of trying to rectify this and to encourage new visitors to Poland we decided to build a website with a view to promoting tourism in Poland, this would also allow us to display and sell our photographs, this hopefully would also make our website self sufficient. Our travel experiences could also be described. Thus 'Imagine Poland ' was born. Although Imagine Poland is in its infancy it is evolving quickly as we visit different areas of Poland and add more photo galleries. We have already visited Krakow and the Tri City area of Gdansk, Gdynia and Sopot.
Kazimierz, Krakow, Poland
In Spring 2010 we plan to visit Wroclaw and Poznan taking in a few castles on the way.
As well as displaying photographs on Imagine Poland we intend to add pages displaying usefull information for tourists and travellers visiting the various regions of Poland in the hope that the website will provide a usefull source of information regarding travel and tourism in the country.
In future posts we will describe the experiences of our next trip to Poland, this will include flight details, accomodation, food and all points of interest cultural, modern and historic. To view our progress so far please please follow the link           
I hope you enjoy the photographs and if you have any queries or a venue in Wroclaw or Poznan you would like us to report on please email us at enq@procam.me
Peter and Cecile