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“I woke up sleeping on a train that was bound for nowhere” – Noel Gallagher.

How To Travel Cheaply In Poland: Weekend Unlimited Ticket, Bilet Weekendowy

People often ask me how and why I travel around Poland so much. Well, firstly I want to see the country I live in. And secondly (thirdly and fourthly) it is cheap, fast and easy to travel around this country. So get exploring – here are the places I have been in Poland so far. It’s easy and cheap to travel around the country – especially if you are based in Warszawa or Łódź, the country’s two central cities. On a good day, Warszawa is less than 10 hours by train from almost every train station in Poland, though connections sometimes have exceptions. Leave Warszawa at 5am and you could be anywhere in Poland (or abroad) by mid afternoon. I’m a lover of train travel as you might have read, having used trains all over the world including the North Korea to China border, through Saudi Arabia and from Romania into Moldova.

“My baby’s travelling on the one after 909” – The Beatles.

How To Travel Cheaply In Poland: Weekend Unlimited Ticket, Bilet Weekendowy

My first Polish train experience was in March 2005 when I arrived on the 9 hour long GAWA party train from Berlin into Warszawa. I estimate I have now been on Polish trains over 200 times, not counting Warszawa Metro system or the Cityhattrick’s (Gdańsk, Sopot, Gdynia) SKM.

How To Travel Cheaply In Poland: Weekend Unlimited Ticket, Bilet Weekendowy

I love the whole experience of train travel. There’s a magic to it that I also experienced in lands afar like China, Tunisia, Sri Lanka and Saudi Arabia. So far, I’ve only visited about 70 Polish cities, towns and villages, but I have passed through many more. I got trains to lesser known train stations like Zakrzewo, Starogard Gdański, Radymno and Łęczna and loved them.

Jarosław train station

Gdańsk main train station

I love Polish trains and my favourite is the high speed one. Locals often refer to it as ” The Pendolino”! This makes me laugh as it sounds more Italian or Spanish than Polish. However “The Pendolino” is not always cheap. It is also not always cheap to book last minute trains. I once paid around 80złotych for a train and didn’t even get a seat.

My train with no seat

But soon enough, you realise the secret to Polish train travel….

Enter the Weekend Ticket! Bilet Weekendowy!

Bilet Weekendowy is a genius invention. It is a ticket that is only valid on weekends and can be used for unlimited multiple trips all over Poland.

“No no. No no no no. No no there’s no limits” – 2Unlimited.

Enter the Weekend Ticket! Bilet Weekendowy!

Here is how it works:

– you buy one Bilet Weekendowy for 81 złotych ($20 USD). You can buy them from most train stations in Poland.
– you have unlimited travel on trains all over Poland from 19.00 (7 p.m.) on Friday until 6 a.m. on the Monday morning!

Cheap Polish train travel – Bilet Weekendowy

Yes that is right, you can hop on and off almost every train in Poland for a period of 60 hours. That is brilliant for hardcore backpackers!

There are a few exceptions though:
– It doesn’t include trains to airports (unless it’s already on one of those PKP routes)
– It doesn’t include the high speed trains (often called the Pendolino)
– It doesn’t include city trains (e.g. the SKM in Tricity / Trojmiasto, Warszawa locals and metro)
– It doesn’t include trains for special events (e.g. football matches, festivals etc.)

Cheap Polish train travel – Bilet Weekendowy

Cheap Polish train travel – Bilet Weekendowy

I have used this ticket and milked it manys a time. One weekend, I went –

– Warszawa to Gdańsk
– Gdańsk to Gdynia
– Gdynia to Tczew
– Tczew to Starogard Gdański
– Starogard Gdański to Tczew
– Tczew to Malbork
– Malbork to Toruń
– Toruń to Bydgoszcz
– Bydgoszcz to Poznań
– Poznań to Warszawa

Arrival in Olstyn by train from Warszawa.

The train station in Starogard Gdanski

Tczew train station

Another weekend I wacadayed it this way on one weekend:
– Warszawa to Jarosław
– Jarosław to Radymno (where I visited Chotyniec)
– Radymno to Jarosław
– Jarosław to Kraków
– Kraków to Wrocław
– Wrocław to Warszawa

Warszawa Centralna to Lublin by train

Train from Kraków to Tarnów

Breakfast and beer on the train!

You can come and go through Warszawa Centralna by train, tram or bus.

If you know what exact trains you will get, you can also use the Bilet Weekendowy to reserve a second class seat on them at no extra cost. My advice is to do this earlier in the week as they can get full.

Krajenka to Złotów train: Blues Express

On the train to Gdynia, Bydgoszcz or Pila!

Lublin train station

Also as it is a special weekend ticket, it cannot be bought in advance, online or from ticket machines. You should buy it between Monday and Friday from the kiosks in the train stations that have actual people manning the kiosks.

So get exploring all over Poland for just 81złotych a weekend. Trust me – it’s a bargain!

Here are some videos of my train journeys all over Poland using the Bilet Weekendowy:

Gdańsk to Bydgoszcz Train Poland October 2016 - YouTube

Crossing the Wisla River by train Warszawa to Gdańsk Poland May 2018 - YouTube

On the Rzeszow to Lublin Train Poland May 2017 - YouTube

Train from Warszawa till Gdansk Poland December 2018 - YouTube

Arrival by train in Gdynia from Leba Poland July 2016 - YouTube

On route to Blues Express Warszawa to Bydgoszcz train Poland July 2017 - YouTube

Night Train from Poznan to Krakow Poland Dec 2015 - YouTube

On the Train Warsaw to Łódź - Poland - March 2017 - YouTube

On Route to Międzyzdroje Reader Tour Video on the train Poland July 2017 - YouTube

Another Crazy Trip and thr Train from Starogard Gdanski to Warsaw Poland - November 2016 - YouTube

Train from Tczew to Pelplin Poland August 2016 - YouTube

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Śmieszne Historie o Piłce Nożnej w Polsce: Watching the Exciting Polish Ladies Season Climax, Górnik Łęczna v. Medyk Konin

In my ongoing “football geek” (Śmieszne Historie o Piłce Nożnej w Polsce) adventures, it was time to watch a Polish ladies match and we picked a brilliant match to attend. This match we went to in June 2019 in the city of Łęczna (near Lublin), had a history dating back to 2017…

Our team

Back in December 2017, I was invited to attend a charity football tournament in Kosciań. On the day, there were more female matches than male matches. I was surprised to find out that two Polish football internationals were playing in the tournament. There was to be Ewelina Kamczyk and Weronika Zawistowska. I met them both briefly at that event while they chatted to Damian’s girlfriend who was on the same team. For me, it was a pleasure to be invited there as an immigrant, Polish based blogger and professional travel blogger.

Śmieszne Historie o Piłce Nożnej w Polsce: Charity Tournament in Kościan – VIII Halowy Charytatywny Turniej Piłki Nożnej-Piłkarze Dzieciom

Our team warming up

But that was a long time ago now…fast forward to June 2019 and the closing stages of the Polish League season. While the men’s league finished in May (the Ekstraklasa being won by underdogs Piast Gliwice), the women’s league ( the Ekstraliga) would finish on Saturday 8th June. And what a climax it was set to be…

Śmieszne Historie o Piłce Nożnej w Polsce: Watching the Exciting Polish Ladies Season Climax, Górnik Łęczna v. Medyk Konin

Śmieszne Historie o Piłce Nożnej w Polsce: Watching the Exciting Polish Ladies Season Climax, Górnik Łęczna v. Medyk Konin

Going into the final round of matches, here’s how the Ekstraliga table looked.

Before the final games

And just to add to the drama, second placed Górnik Łęczna would be at home to leaders Medyk Konin in the last match of the season! It would be a winner takes all scenario. So basically a draw or a win for Medyk Konin would give them the title. But a win for Górnik Łęczna would give them the title.

Górnik Łęczna’s stadium

Górnik Łęczna’s stadium

Górnik Łęczna’s stadium

Górnik Łęczna’s stadium

It was another crazy trip and one that had to be done, reminding me of my 2007 trip to Babruysk in Belarus to watch Northern Ireland ladies. This time it was Rafał and I going. Rafał has also watched football with me in England, Wales and Northern Ireland as well as many Legia Warszawa matches and some Wacaday Polish adventures to the Poland under 20s team, Bruk Bet Termalika Nieciecza and Klub Piłkarski Starogard Gdański.

Warszawa Centralna to Lublin by train

We boarded a morning train from Warszawa Centralna to Lublin, itself a city I love having visited it 3 times before. I came here not only to tour the pretty old town but also to see Majdanek German Death Camp.

Downtown Lublin

This time we grabbed a lunchtime pizza and pint near the bus station before boarding a bus to Łęczna. The Lublin to Łęczna minibus costs 4złotych and takes around 25 minutes.

Pizza and Piwo for lunch in Lublin

On the bus to Łęczna

We grabbed some beers at the supermarket near the Górnik Łęczna stadium. Entry to the ladies match was surprisingly free, so no tickets and no security checks.

Walking to the Górnik Łęczna stadium

Arrival at the Górnik Łęczna stadium

Arrival at the Górnik Łęczna stadium

Arrival at the Górnik Łęczna stadium

Arrival at the Górnik Łęczna stadium

It’s a pretty big stadium but the day was shrouded in hot sunshine. I started to get a headache in the heat but the match got underway and we had good seats, second row from the back. Some of those sitting near us seemed to know the players and it was mostly full of Górnik Łęczna supporters. There may have been a few neutrals or Medyk Konin fans but we didn’t hear nor see them.

Śmieszne Historie o Piłce Nożnej w Polsce: Watching the Exciting Polish Ladies Season Climax, Górnik Łęczna v. Medyk Konin

We both wore something green for the day (my “zombie punk” t-shirt and Rafal in the same colours as Górnik Łęczna’s home kit.Except today, Górnik Łęczna were in white and black, with Medyk Konin in red.

Śmieszne Historie o Piłce Nożnej w Polsce: Watching the Exciting Polish Ladies Season Climax, Górnik Łęczna v. Medyk Konin

Śmieszne Historie o Piłce Nożnej w Polsce: Watching the Exciting Polish Ladies Season Climax, Górnik Łęczna v. Medyk Konin

Śmieszne Historie o Piłce Nożnej w Polsce: Watching the Exciting Polish Ladies Season Climax, Górnik Łęczna v. Medyk Konin

Śmieszne Historie o Piłce Nożnej w Polsce: Watching the Exciting Polish Ladies Season Climax, Górnik Łęczna v. Medyk Konin

Śmieszne Historie o Piłce Nożnej w Polsce: Watching the Exciting Polish Ladies Season Climax, Górnik Łęczna v. Medyk Konin

Śmieszne Historie o Piłce Nożnej w Polsce: Watching the Exciting Polish Ladies Season Climax, Górnik Łęczna v. Medyk Konin

After 20 minutes it was clear to us that Górnik Łęczna were the better side and would more than likely win. Time and time again, the wizzardic Ewelina Kamczyk twisted and turned down the left flank. A few chances went abegging and the tackles started to fly in. The game was becoming physical.

Śmieszne Historie o Piłce Nożnej w Polsce: Watching the Exciting Polish Ladies Season Climax, Górnik Łęczna v. Medyk Konin

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First of all, is dating in Poland any different from other countries? While frankly speaking, yes it is. To begin with, Polish people get married younger than any other nationality in the European Union, one of the facts I shared a while back. Secondly, it is a staunchly Catholic country which means strict weddings and should mean less divorces and less sex before marriage. There is also no gay marriage here, nor many Islamic or Jewish weddings. Of course, these things don’t always ring true and there may be exceptions, but in general the country is unique in these ways.

How To Stay Safe in Poland During Niche Dating Endeavours

Having said all that, I have plenty of friends who are unmarried and have sex, and condoms are widely available in almost every corner shop! This article is more about the world of BDSM. This translates as a variety of often erotic practices or roleplaying during foreplay or sex, involving bondage, discipline, dominance and submission, sadomasochism, and various other related interpersonal dynamics. Here are some ways to stay safe in Poland during such niche dating endeavours.

1.Be Careful Who You Meet
I may have shared my well documented tale on here before on the nasty people I met, and yes, one of them sexually abused me, so I have enough experience to know that this really happens. In order to be careful – please try to trust the people you meet by finding out as much information as you can about them.

Be Careful Who You Meet

I am a very public blogger and I hide nothing, I am honest and open and I have full on social media profiles. For this reason, I prefer public girls who are the same. No profile picture on Facebook, fake date of birth etc. all suspicious as if the person is trying to hide something. My advice is to find out more than their phone numbers and email addresses – where they live, their real names and date of birth etc. This way, you have something to fall back on if anything bad happens. You can build up bdsm contacts very easily – but how many do you trust? Ask yourself this.

Public blogger Jonny Blair Ulsterczyk

2.Use Protection
We all might have some sexual desires and fettishes but through it all, we must stay healthy. It’s ultra-important. And with condoms widely available, there is no excuse not to stay safe during sex. Yes you might have your sexual fantasy as dressing up as a nurse, or a cucumber or a stripper, but have the condoms ready and stay safe!

Stay safe

3.Look After Each Other
The third and final tip might seem obvious, but so many people neglect this and it can lead to physical or emotional pain, or even violence that ends up in a court case. My BDSM Hookups is a good example of a site to meet such people to indulge in activities with, but once you meet and you know what you are doing, please look after each other. This means staying clean, and not going too hard with each other, especially in masochistic or sadistic pleasures. Remember our sexual organs are also precious. Nobody wants a sore willy or a painful vagina after a good night of sexual intercourse, so enjoy yourself but take good care. Here’s to safe and pleasurable sex. Cheers, na zdrowie!

Cheers to safe and happy sex

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When I started my Poland Poll series in early 2017, I was doing one reader vote and poll per month. It was an exciting first year for me in Poland, with my blog being recognised on Polish websites, two radio interviews, a Podcast and numerous newspaper appearances. I was really enjoying it! As the months of 2017 ticked by fast, I made it a challenge to visit EVERY province (Voiovodeship) in Poland. I did that with aplomb when I arrived in Białystock in December 2017. With long hair…

All 20 parts of Poland I recognise – Białystock in 2017.

All 20 parts of Poland I recognise – Białystock in 2017.

Then in 2018 my reader polls focused on trying to visit EVERY Polish UNESCO World Heritage site, which included a wacky trip to Radymno just to visit a church in Chotyniec! I completed this with Lipnica Murowana in December 2018 on a testicle-freezing day south of Krakow.

The UNESCO listed church in Chotyniec (The Mother of God Church)

Life got busy after that and I struggled to find the time to juggle all things at once and keep the polls going. I’m a busy guy, also on a mission to visit 200 countries before I turn 41, release my book and visit more crazy places in Poland, with friends and alone.

“I can’t sleep because the world won’t wait” – Noel Gallagher.

Lipnica Murowana

In the past my adventures and reader votes included indoor sky diving, going naked on the nudist beach in Lubiewo  and visiting colourful flower art in Zalipie. I currently still need to visit Jabłonowo to drink Belfast Beer (my latest reader vote). But while that is still in progress, here is a vote to keep me motivated through July. Control me – send me where you want in July 2019.

Vote here – Poland Poll: Where Should Jonny Go in July 2019?

Here are the three options this time:

1.Hel on the 666 Bus

Yes you can get a 66 Bus to the town of Hel at the end of this stunnigating peninsula. Looks amazing.

Hel

2.The Skull Chapel in Czermna

This interesting church has lots of skulls in it and would make for a scary adventure.

Visit the Skull Chapel in Czermna

3.The Beer Spa in Hotel Stary Browar Kościerzyna

I’d love to get nude and bathe in hot water in Kościerzyna whilst sipping home-made beer. Female not included of course, I’d happily do it alone and get photos and videos to share.

The Beer Spa in Hotel Stary Browar Kościerzyna (girl not included)

So get voting and see where I end up in July!

The Beer Spa in Hotel Stary Browar Kościerzyna

You can also vote here on this link:

Poland Poll: Where Should Jonny Go in July 2019?

1.Hel on the 666 Bus
2.The Skull Chapel in Czermna
3.The Beer Spa in Hotel Stary Browar Kościerzyna
Created with SurveyMaker

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Downtown Płock, Poland

On my quest to visit as many provinces and UNESCO heritages sites in Poland as possible, many thought I’d skip some obvious cities on the way. Indeed, I did. I hadn’t even stepped foot in Płock until September 2018 so it was finally time! If you are a tourist here, be aware that Płock is not pronounced like the English spelling of “Plock”.

Downtown Płock, Poland

How to pronounce Płock

Be careful how to say the name of the city – Płock. It’s not pronounced anything like the English spelling of Plock or Plok! Nor even “Plosk”, or “Plots” or “Plotsch”. It’s more like “Pwottsssk”. I was loving it, on arrival by bus from the capital city of Warszawa. Before I cover the sightseeing in Pretty Płock, here’s a wee post on my favourite bars, cafes and restaurants. My backpacking friend Malina hails from Płock, and she backpacked 7 African countries with me in the last year including the wacaday trip from Rwanda to the Democratic Republic of Congo and feeding giraffes in Kenya.

Arrival in pretty Płock, Poland

Quick Background on Płock

I was stunned to discover that Płock was once the capital of Poland. In my country, Belfast has always been the capital city of Northern Ireland (since our formation in 1921). So from 1079 – 1138 Płock was the first historical capital of Poland. I found out that the cathedral here contains the sarcophagi of a number of Polish monarchs, from the times when Poland was a Kingdom. Other capitals of Poland were Gniezno, Krakow, Lublin and Warszawa. Płock serves another purpose away from the Warszawian capital here – it is the cultural, academic, scientific, administrative and transportation centre of the north-west Masovian Province (Mazowieckie).

Downtown Płock, Poland

Sunset by the Wisła River in Płock, Poland

Foremost here, pretty Płock supplies its curious visitor with unexpected and stunning views over Poland’s longest river, the Wisła. Given its only 1.5 hours by bus or train from Warszawa, it is a bit shocking that this charmigator doesn’t attract more tourists. I mean, it is easily reachable on a day trip from Warszawa. As well as once capitaling the country, Poland’s oldest school is here, and of course I singled out some epicative bars, cafes and restaurants in which to sample the finest social times on Płock’s block. Move over, Warszawa…there’s a new kid on the Płock.

Northern Irishman loving Płock, Poland

I had two nights here and a quick weekend trip but I still managed to visit some great restaurants, bars, cafes and pubs, so here are my favourites. I will review the guesthouse and sights separately.

1.Browar Tumski

For the finest local beer brewed in Płock, be sure to make a visit to Browar Tumski. This was my main hangout and favourite bar – okay so I visited it on both the days I was here, and had many a beer inside including the deska piw (5 of the best) and the tasty Pineapple Milkshake IPA. Tumski is a popular local hangout located right in the main old town square. I didn’t see or hear any other foreign tourists here, but it attracts a lively mix of Płock residents and tourists (whether Polish or not).

Loving Browar Tumski, Płock, Poland

Pineapple Milkshake IPA at Browar Tumski, Płock, Poland

As you might know, I love a good microbrewery, craft beer or beer with a difference. Browar Tumski does a beer of the week and brews its own beer. To sample all of them on a decent budget, I opted for the ‘deska piw’, which contains five beers by this brewery, served on a board in 5 mini glasses.

Deska piw at Browar Tumski, Płock, Poland

Browar Tumski

Browar Tumski

The five beers might well vary, but I had a lager, a wheat beer, an IPA, an APA and a stout. At the time I also tried their unusual pineapple beer which was damn refreshing on a hot summer day. In line with other quality Browars in Poland, the food menu serves up delicious Polish dishes. I had to indulge of course. These dishes give you a good sample of Polish cuisine and act as great beer accompaniments. I tried both the pierogi with goose and the placki ziemniaczane (potato pancakes) with vegetables. As a bonus, and for the blogging geek, the bar also has free Wi-Fi.

Placki Ziemniaczane at Browar Tumski, Płock, Poland

Pierogi at Browar Tumski, Płock, Poland

Browar Tumski
Browar Tumski on Facebook

Stary Rynek 13
09-400 Płock

Telefon:
+24 268 69 39
+48 501 612 088

2.Zbrojownia Craft Beer

The best craft beer bar in town for its sheer range of bottled and draught beer has to be Zbrojownia Craft Beer. This is a trendy evening venue for the beer connoisseurs of Płock. It also happens to be Płock’s first Craft Beer bar and has a rotating selection of 9 beers on tap, to satisfy the demands of all beer loving customers you of course it was an early port of call for me. It is strictly a night time venue, opening its doors at 4 pm and otwarte until the wee hours. It’s an enclosed and cosy venue with beer geekage, talkative, knowledgeable staff. If you are unsure which beer to try, ask the barman for a small sample, or scour the fridge until you find the beer of your desire. It is not really a food orientated venue, but burgers and zapiekanki (Polish bread with cheese and mushroom) are available.

Zbrojownia Craft Beer in Płock

Zbrojownia Craft Beer
Zbrojownia Craft Beer on Facebook
dr inż. Jakuba Chojnackiego 8/10, 09-400 Płock

3.Zachęta Bar

Located on Ulica Grodzka in Płock’s old town, Zachęta Bar is a lively night time haunt, which attracts students, young couples and a few tourists. It’s not a place for a big selection of drinks but I popped in to check it out. Revellers drink cold Polish beers on tap such as Lech, Książęce and a few regional ales. The spirit selection is decent with a great variety of flavoured (and colourful) vodkas, custom made shots and imported whiskeys. On Fridays and Saturdays, the venue gets packed out and locals are not shy to dance the night away. Zachęta  is also well-suited for sports fans as live football (mostly the local team’s matches – Wisła Płock) is shown here and there are darts and arm wrestling competitions.

Zachęta Bar in Płock

Zachęta Bar on Facebook
Grodzka 9, 09-409 Płock

4.Antrykot Steakhouse

The city’s most popular Steakhouse is more than just a place to taste the best meat cuts in town. Antrykot Steakhouse is a superb bar which sits on the main old town square in Płock, a buzzing area in summer (I backpacked it late August/early September). For sports fans, the inside part of the bars shows live football (mostly Polish league but also Champions league), volleyball and basketball. For steak lovers, get ready to devour a steak from the awesome menu, which includes the Australian Black Angus Steak and the Jack Daniel’s Rib Eye Steak. The chicken breast marinated in lemon and potato is worth a try, or indeed one of the burgers featuring on the predictably meat dominated menu. Polish beer Tyskie and Czech beer Kozel are both served on draught in a venue which also caters for the cocktail buff. The frontal beer garden is open in the summer months, and overlooks the main old town square.

Antrykot Steakhouse, Płock

Antrykot Steakhouse on Facebook
Stary Rynek 25, 09-409 Płock

5.Lisia Jama

Lisia Jama is a trendy bar, club and restaurant all in one. A happy vibe and warm atmosphere oozes out of Płock’s well-known Lisia Jama, which serves up delicious burgers and pizzas to go alongside their range of cocktails and cold Polish draught beer (Warka and Żywiec). Live music pumps from the speakers on weekend nights, as local DJs aim to fill up the dancefloor. Polish Ekstraklasa, Spanish La Liga and English Premier League football matches are shown on the big screens. The planked outdoor beer terrace has wooden tables, benches and seats and gets packed out in the summer months. I popped in for a quick Sunday afternoon beer. It’s easy to find – you’ll spot the huge wall mural on the way in.

Lisia Jama

Lisia Jama
Lisia Jama on Facebook
Tadeusza Kościuszki 2, 09-402 Płock

6.Wieża Ciśnień

For a real treat and something out of the ordinary, have a drink and a bite to eat at the quirky Wieża Ciśnień, which translates as ‘Water Tower’. It’s not central and a wee bit of a dander but it was on route to my hostel/guesthouse so I popped in and loved it. It’s one of my favourite places to have a beer in Płock, maybe even in Poland. It is a tall brick tower which was used for storage and distribution of water in days gone by and is now a drinking haunt.

Wieża Ciśnień in Płock, Poland

Yes, recently, a local businessman decided to convert the tower into a cosy and atmospheric restaurant and bar. During the hotter months, you can enjoy watching the traffic go by (on Ulica Warszawska) from the outdoor balcony. However, the cosy option is to try a warm Polish beer (known as Grzane Piwo) during the cold winter months, accompanied by the venue’s trademark burgers. The 5 storey tower also specialises in whiskey.

Wieża Ciśnień in Płock, Poland

Wieża Ciśnień
Wieża Ciśnień on Facebook

Płock
ul. Warszawska 26
tel.: 24 367 10 00
e-mail: wieza.cisnien@op.pl

7.Bar Stara Chata

The cosy and chilled out Bar Stara Chata (Old Hut Bar) is located on Rajmunda Rembielińskiego street, slightly away from the main hub of bars which dominates Płock’s old town. This makes for a calmer and more relaxed experience. Live sports are shown on the big screens, including Polish national football and volleyball matches. The bar also has table football and darts. Living up to its name of Old Hut Bar, Bar Stara Chata has wood-furnished walls and mountain hut-style windows. Polish specialities pierogi and bigos are both included on the food menu and the beer menu has German, Czech and Polish beers.

Bar Stara Chata in Płock

Bar Stara Chata on Facebook
Rajmunda Rembielińskiego 6b, 09-400 Płock

8.Karczma Pod Strzecha

A cosy spot on Grodzka Street for decent Polish food of the your granny variety…here expect good pierogi, bigos and all that tends towards a Polish traditional lunch or dinner. Good soups, a cosy patio and alcohol too. Gosh, Płock is really spoilt for food, so many choices and my list and weekend merely scratched the surface!

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Welcome to the latest in my series of Dlaczego Kochamy Polskę (Why we love Poland) where I interview people (both Polish and non-Polish) who have a love for Poland, and normally work here, blog about it or share photos from Poland. The latest lady to feature is fab travel blogger Ania who runs the site Travel Bred, and I stress lady as there are not as many guys featuring in this series! Come on guys, if you love Poland, get in touch with me! Now, it’s over to the lovely Ania…who is an inspiration and a fellow backpacking centurion, having also visited over 100 countries!

Dlaczego Kochamy Polskę: Ania From Travel Bred in Egypt in 2014

Where are you from?

I was born in Warsaw, Poland and spent the first four years of my life in Raszyn—a village located approximately a half-hour drive away from Warsaw.

Where in Poland did you live?

After entering this world, my family and I lived in Raszyn until we immigrated to the United States of America. Since I was just a child, I do not remember actually living in Raszyn, but I had the opportunity to return twice since moving.

When did you first travel abroad?

In order to answer this question, I actually had to ask my mother. When I was younger, my parents would often reminisce about their earlier years and my childhood. They shared their memories of me in the airplane bassinet seat on one of my first flights. I was just one year old when I first traveled abroad. According to my mom, my first trip was to the United States of America to visit my grandmother, who, at the time, had just immigrated to the states. I basically grew up traveling. Having a baby did not stop my parents from traveling. By the time I was two years old, I had traveled as far as Mexico and as close as Denmark. Although I do not remember visiting any of these places as a baby, my parents made sure to document our adventures in videos and photographs. After my brother was born, my parents decided to immigrate to the states. As immigrants, my parents had to work extra hard to make ends meet. We lived a very frugal life. Yet, no matter the financial situation, my parents always made sure to set aside money for traveling. They incorporated travel into my life in any way they could—family vacations, sleepaway camps, study abroad programs. By my teens, I wanted to see it all. But, at the same time, school and eventually work took over. It was not until 2015 that I was reminded of the dreams I let fade. This is when the idea of visiting every country in the world was implanted in my head. Shortly after, I reclaimed my dreams and have been traveling ever since. Well, anytime I can, that is.

“First Trip” – This is a picture from the first time that I traveled abroad (from Warsaw to Chicago)

What is your favourite city in Poland and why?

My favourite city in Poland is Warsaw. Warsaw is where my story began. My birthplace. My roots. My heritage. Although the city was largely destroyed during World War II, the Old Town was rebuilt to its previous style just a few years later. The Historic Centre of Warsaw was eventually put on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It is such a beautiful city with so much history. I love the contrast—pre-war Warsaw surrounded by the modern skyscrapers of downtown Warsaw. The city has so much to offer, from the Market Square and the Royal Castle at the entrance of Old Town to the restaurants and bars of downtown. Warsaw is the total package.

What is your favourite town in Poland and why?

My favourite town in Poland is definitely Zakopane. I have always preferred natural landscapes over man-made ones. I particularly love the mountains. There is just something about that environment that fills my soul. Situated at the foothills of the Tatra Mountains, the charming resort town of Zakopane has a lot to offer—from a breathtaking backdrop to year-round activities. The town itself showcases the region’s distinct art style, “Zakopane Style”. The wooden chalets that line the streets of the town sure are memorable.

Dlaczego Kochamy Polskę: Ania From Travel Bred in Zakopane in 2005 – “Zakopane 2005” – This is a picture from “my favourite town” in Poland.

What is your favourite village in Poland and why?

I am not sure that I have a favourite village in Poland. My parents grew up in Warsaw and Raszyn, respectively. While Warsaw is a city, the village of Raszyn does not really have much to offer. My grandmother on my father’s side grew up in the village of Rogawka. But, I also do not remember visiting this village located near the border of Poland and Belarus. When I returned to Poland to visit, I passed through many villages all around the country, however, I do not recall any of them standing out to me.

What is your favourite province in Poland and why?

Given the location of the Tatra Mountains, I would have to say my favourite province in Poland is the Małopolska Province (Lesser Poland). Again, the sheer beauty of this area places the province above the rest. One of my earliest memories is actually from this region. I remember playing outside as a toddler and running around with some sort of red berries in my hands. I have no idea why this one distant memory has stuck around for all of these years, but it has!

“Małopolska Province 1990s” – This is a picture from my earliest memory, taken in “my favourite province” in Poland.

What is your favourite Polish drink and why?

Nalewka! Specifically, sour cherry or blackcurrant nalewka is my favourite Polish drink. I grew up with nalewka at every family gathering. Not too long ago, my grandmother finally taught me how to make this traditional liqueur. Even in the states, it is not a Polish celebration unless there is nalewka.

What is your favourite Polish food and why?

Here in the states, most people stereotype us Polish people and assume that we all like the “typical” Polish foods like pierogi and gołabki. Not me though! My favourite Polish food is biały barszcz (white borscht). Random, right? Traditionally, this is a classic Polish dish eaten on Easter Sunday. I disagree—biały barszcz is good any time of the year. I cannot explain why it is my favourite, it just is!

“First Trip” – This is a picture from the first time that I traveled abroad (from Warsaw to Chicago)

“First Trip” – This is a picture from the first time that I traveled abroad (from Warsaw to Chicago)

What is your favourite random fact about Poland?

While not necessarily about Poland itself, Chicago bills itself as the largest Polish city outside of Poland. Note: In this claim, “Chicago” really means the entire Chicago metropolitan area. A quick Internet search will show you that nearly one-third of all Polish immigrants in the United States of America live in the Chicago area. That is pretty significant. So much so, my grandmother never learned to speak English because she was able to get around only speaking Polish in and around Chicago. Here, we have everything from Polish neighborhoods to Polish churches, stores, and restaurants. Additionally, bilingual Polish speakers are found absolutely everywhere—in banks, insurance offices, car dealerships, and anywhere else that comes to mind.  

Ania in South Georgia Islands, 2017

Ania in Peru, 2009

If you didn’t live in Poland, where would you live?

I currently live in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. Out of all the cities that I have visited in the states, Chicago is definitely my favorite. Within the states, I cannot see myself living anywhere else. But, if I could, I would pick up and move to Cape Town, South Africa in a heartbeat. South Africa has been my favorite country and Cape Town has been my favorite city since 2011. I cannot get over the country’s beauty and all that it has to offer. 100+ countries into my journey around the world, I still want to move to Cape Town. The only other place that I could see myself living in is Barcelona, Spain. There is just something special about this city and the energy it radiates.

And here are the links to follow Ania’s cool story

Website link: http://travelbred.com/

Thank you and Dziękuję bardzo to Ania for being the latest in my series of Those Who Love Poland! If you love Poland and run a blog or are a travel writer, please get in touch, you can be featured, either e-mail jonny (at) northernirishmaninpoland (dot) com or head to my contacts or work page and get connected! You can also subscribe to Northern Irishman in Poland by filling in the form below! Safe travels!
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Being based in Poland makes it so so easy to travel abroad by train these days. From Warszawa Centralna station (the main international train station in the country), you can get direct trains to around 10 different countries now. There is even a daily train that goes all the way to Nice in France, passing through Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland and Monaco on the way. One of the coolest and easiest getaway cities for a weekend in Prague, the popular capital of the Czech Republic.

City Escapes From Poland: Prague, Czech Republic

It makes a great city for a lads trip too – for example a stag party weekend, a boys trip, a football trip. Here are the main reasons why lads love a weekend getaway in Prague, Czech Republic.

1.The Nightlife – Bars, Pubs and Clubs

Think of lively pubs with hot waitresses, litre glasses of Czech beer and top notch DJs who keep the dancefloors busy all night. This is exactly what Prague nightlife is all about. Head to the area near the Old Town Square and Charles Bridge and be sure to check out the best bars and pubs to party the night away in. It’s not a city that closes down early either, bars stay open into the small hours of the morning.

Lively bars to party in

2.The Girls – Sexy Slavic Charm

Czech girls have a sexy Slavic charm about them. These days not only do they look good, but they all learn a high level of English. This makes it easier to chat to Czech girls these days with a view to a potential new partner and romance. Make sure you are fully aware of the cultural differences though, and try to impress them with a few words of Czech language and you could be onto a winner.

Aleksandra Mueller lied

3.The Old Town – Classic Streets

The streets of Prague’s Old Town make for a wonderful stroll. Admire the architecture, the astronomical clock, Charles Bridge, Lennon Wall and Prague Cathedral. The main old town square is also a hive of activity and should be checked out. For a chill out afternoon, head for a beer in one of the many bars in the Old Town.

Famous clock in the old town, Prague

4.The Museums – with a Sexy Twist

As well as the art galleries, the national museum and the war museum, Prague offers a sexy alternative – the Sex Machines Museum. This is a museum featuring sexual items, toys and gadgets through the years with a shop where you can purchase such raunchy items to liven up your sex life. The girls working here are pretty hot too!

Sex Museum, Prague

5.The Football – Slavia Prague, Dukla Prague, Sparta Prague

The old Czechoslovakia won the European Championships in 1976, made famous by the penalty from Panenka in the penalty shoot out win v. West Germany. Then in 1996, the newly formed Czech Republic narrowly lost in the same tournament, having led 1-0 they ironically lost 2-1 to the also newly formed Unified Germany. While based in Prague, with the lads, head to watch one of the city’s famous three football teams. You are spoilt for choice with Slavia Prague, Dukla Prague and Sparta Prague all ply their trade in the top flight, and unless it’s a big derby match, tickets are easy to come by.

Watching Sparta Prague v Slovan Liberec

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Poland sits proud and strong as the European Union country in which people ordinarily get married younger than the rest, for better or worse. While this is one of the great lesser known facts I shared about Poland, it also allows less life time for flirtation and raunchiness prior to the engagement and wedding. I have attended two Polish weddings so far (read about both my Trzcianka and Pomlewo experiences) and all four partners were younger than me. However, for those who are still unmarried, unengaged and totally single, what options are there? How is it to date in Poland? Here’s an overview on the hit, miss and może być (might be/maybe) of adult dating in Poland.

1.The casual dating lifestyle

This is perhaps the calmest and easiest option for adult daters in pretty Polska. Lining up dates is the easy part these days – many young single people are up for meeting someone they have never met before. The arranging could have started in many ways – you might have been set up by friends, perhaps you clicked ‘right’ on Tinder, or maybe just simply liked a post on Instagram and it turned into a new friendship and a dating experience. How long the dates last, where the dates happen, what the dates entail etc. is all down to you. You could try Speed Dating or one of these dating tips. But makes sure both parties agree to keeping it casual until anything materialises.

Dating the dishonest lady Aleksandra Mueller in Gdańsk’s Kubicki Restaurant

2.Sex dating

The ONS (One Night Stand) culture DOES exist in Poland and although I have met many people who indulged in such an activity, it is simply not for me. I don’t want it, or recommend it. You can ruin other people’s lives with it. Some people want long term commitment, others want regular dating, others want sex. Be very careful if you are looking for sex dating. Make sure the other person wants the same thing from you within the relationship or it could turn sour.

One night stands do exist in Poland.

3.Submissive and dominant dating

This is when dominance takes over and things start to get serious. Normally one of the two sexes takes control of the other in what is often classed as Subs and Doms. However, please take care – there is also a high risk of getting caught so you must be safe. Never kiss or shag someone you really don’t know and always check their sexual parts and wear protection beforehand. Make sure you are aware of their real name, where they live etc. As a male, I have been physically abused and attacked before, with nowhere to turn to without any proof. The Subs and Doms tactic can also have similar connotations to the world of masochism and sadism, something I experienced personally when being spanked on the back by a sulty Ukrainian back in 2015…

Getting spanked in Lviv, Ukraine

4.Getting serious

Once you have established that your relationship is becoming stronger, it’s time to get serious. Hopefully for girls, you haven’t encountered a guy who has more feminine qualities, yes we mean sissy dating! Hopefully he is a bit more masculine and strong and will be able to take your relationship to the next level, ensuring you both have fun as mature adults. Have fun out there, but of course stay safe and good luck finding the love of your life…

That special person might be just around the corner for all you know.

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Travel Writer in Poland: How to Manage Your Business from Abroad

Previously, it was difficult to fathom the possibility of managing one’s business from a foreign country. What is truly remarkable is that now, this reality is actually a foreseeable possibility and this is not just my third year living in Poland, but another location on my digital nomad lifestyle. For the small business owner that has to go abroad for personal reasons or merely wants to take a fun holiday, there is absolutely a reliable way to manage your business while on the go and spending time with your family. The key to this strategy of international management is going to stem from being exceptionally organized and technologically savvy.

Working in Biskupiec

Ideas to Assist in Managing Your Small Business from Abroad

The key to managing your business efficiently from abroad is that you are going to have to be creative. Particularly if you are located in an opposite time zone, your scheduling is going to have to be flawless.

Here is a recommended list of tasks to remain in contact with your employees and to monitor their progress effectively:

  • Weekly Assessment Calls: With each of your high managers, you should be having a weekly meeting to monitor the completion of projects. Due to technology developments, this meeting can occur online. This way, your employees know that they are accountable for their performance even in your absence.
  • Have an International Calling Plan with Data: Communication is key. There is no longer the excuse that international plans are too expensive. With the multitude of Apps that run on effective data, there is a plethora of potential to stay in constant communication with your employees. Be sure to take advantage of these technological developments to stay in contact with your employees.
  • Utilize Interactive Spreadsheets to Track Finances: Interactive templates allow you to see what your employees are editing. Use them for your financials so that you can track your bank accounts and how employees are using your money in your absence. This will reduce the temptation for your employees to be dishonest.
  • Ask for Daily Minutes from Employees: Daily minutes encourages accountability. The key to your business running successfully in your absence is for your employees to know that you will be reading their daily minutes. Thus, make a designated time to do this on a daily basis and you will see great results.
  • Install Office Cameras: Office cameras are also a great tool to discourage non-productive behaviour from employees. Do not be afraid to install them even if you are not watching them. Their mere presence encourages performance.

Pracujące Poniedziałki: Working Mondays, You’ve Been Too Busy Lately You Haven’t Had The Time

Technological Assistance to Consider

When abroad, as long as you have Internet, there are many sensational innovations that will help you to run your business effectively. Here is a list for you to consider:

  • Quip: Quip is a rising competitor to Google that allows customers to share schedules and spreadsheets from far away. This is a great resource for producing and developing projects with employees that are located all over the globe. It is also ideal for supervisors that are monitoring how employees are working from other locations.
  • FaceTime: The era of Skype has passed because FaceTime, Facebook call, Google’s Gchat, and WeChat video are now the most effective ways to get in touch for meetings. These are sensational tools to have distance meetings and have a reliable connection that does not periodically cut out.
  • VPN: If you are in a country that censors its access to important components of your business such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google, investing in a VPN is a wise idea to remain in contact with your employees. For spending $100 per year, for example, it is possible to have access to any webpage even in countries that are quite restricted such as China.
  • Money transfer companies: money transfer companies offer preferable rates on international bank to bank money transfers in comparison to the bank itself which levies heavy fees on each transfer. This is essential for your international business.
  • Shipping: International shipping has never been more simplified due to the development of Apps that track global shipments and anticipate the customs duties. Invest in these services because they will make your life as a business owner infinitely easier.

How to Manage Payroll Payments from Abroad

One issue that is paramount for the small business owner who is based from abroad is going to be how they are going to pay their employees. Luckily, there have been many useful developments in this aspect pertaining to the idea of sending wages internationally through utilizing international salary payments digitally. Particularly for many international SME’s, there are many foreign exchange companies that provide this service. Utilizing foreign exchange companies for this resource is quintessential for small business owners because it allows them to have employees in many different currencies and pay them all over the globe. Where this is particularly tremendous is when the employer saves a lot of capital on international transaction fees and currency exchange fees through using this medium. Small business owners should absolutely take advantage of such developments to promote efficiency within their businesses while working from abroad.

Working as a copywriter and editor

Concluding Remarks

What is truly remarkable is that one can manage their small business from abroad. Due to the increased amount of technological solutions, having a small business owner in Bangkok for an entity that is located in Los Angeles is not that farfetched to imagine. This is greatly beneficial for companies that need to have production and distribution in Asia, for example. The owner can be making the relevant contacts and then manage the domestic employees remotely. The key to making this digital world work to your favor as a small business owner is to learn the science of the technology and apply it to your business model. By doing so, you will position yourself to be able to be an effective leader from both near and afar.

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