Poland sans pression

DSCF6474It’s hard having nothing to do. When you’re really busy with things you need to accomplish as soon as possible, it’s easy to idealise having simply nothing, when in actual fact, it’s rather tiresome (at least in terms of the amount of cat-style yawns)! The problem is, you can’t do nothing: you have to constantly find something.

Another issue is that when you have little to do, there’s this incessant, nagging sense that maybe there is something you need to do – usually this ends up turning towards log-term goals, which then just gets a bit depressing as those are longtime goals and can’t be achieved in the short length of time you have to do nothing.

I’m not really complaining though. Exactly how long  will be like this, I can’t be sure, but it definitely isn’t forever, and my time here in Natolin is even more clearly cut. So, the only thing to do is to make the most of it. With less than 2 weeks in the Golden Cage, I’m determined to savour every moment and with everyone who matters to me here.

For the first few days after exams, it was easy to just go with the flow. I had a few life admin bits and pieces to tie up that I’d put off whilst preparing for exams but turned out to take no more than 2 or 3 hours when all is said and done and then really just enjoyed being able to relax on the grass, in the Polish summer sunshine without any stress at all.

 

On the Saturday, Ronan and I headed off to Poznan with the Polski bus. As the ‘capital of culture’ for Greater Poland, it’s a top ‘to visit’ place whilst in Poland and we certainly enjoyed it, despite the weather taking a  turn towards the wet-side. After a very tasty raclette (in summer and very Polish of course) we found a pleasant craft beer garden just off the Rynek (the typical Polish old town square) and eventually met with Victor and Ia to enjoy a watermelon Pils and other Polish beers*.

 

The next day, we had planned to go to a St Martin’s Croissant making demonstration so took a big brunch in one of the many tempting (and rather hipster) cafes before heading off for a pre-croissant wander. There is a some really nice architecture and we were lucky enough to stumble across the archaeology museum (which is free on Sundays). It was much more interesting than it perhaps sounds and it’s truly amazing what people can build even without machines. The whole island had been marshy and the museum showed how a series of mats and hooked branches helped the medieval Pozn(anians?) stabilise the ground and build huge city walls all around.

Whilst Poznan is, it is like most Polish cities, blesssed with a very charismatic old town, the weather forced us to take cover (albeit not from the wet), in the water park next to Poznan’s activity-loaded ‘lake Malta’. The slides were excellent. And there were so many. My favourite by far was the yellow ‘turbo’ slide. Matching its namesake well, it’s really rather fast. You can even time yourself and compare it to the record… or each others! The competition was intense but I concede I wasn’t the slickest slider.

The spa on the other hand was somewhat unexpected and the surprises continued inside – it turned out the signs of bathing suits with crosses though them really do translate as ‘it’s obligatory to be nude’. In any case, we had paid for it, so we were definitely going to make good use of it!

 

 

After 2 days in Poznan we boarded the Polski bus once again and this time headed to Berlin. It’s only 3 hours from Poznan by bus, albeit a bit of a late start and a rather long break at Schonefeld airport meant we decided to head straight to Ronan’s lovely friend Robin on arriving. We had a great two days in Berlin. It’s such an easy going city with so many parks and green spaces – you can never have nothing to do and our stay was certainly too short. Having both been before, we took advantage of being able to see parts of the city you don’t put at the top of the tourist trail, but are still well-worth a visit, including Templehof airport (site of the Berlin airlift and now it seems, formula-e racing, skylarks and cycling), the walk along the Spree and the Palace of Tears. We had a lovely time too with Robin and his family; eating very well indeed and enjoying good conversation, although it was much too short!

 

 

The 9 hours via Polski bus for the return was a little bit too much,  so we took the train. Polish trains really are excellent. they are much better value and just as fast as trains in the UK, although that might have something to do with the PKP group being state owned. The train was packed full and so indeed was our compartment. It was much more comfortable to share the space however as we all got talking, particularly to a rather energetic El Salvadorian.

 

 

All in all, I’m keeping busy and it’s good. I’m really looking forward to Mum, Paul, Dad and Helen coming next week. But I know that even though it seems endless now, it really isn’t for much longer and as much as I’m excited to go home, I know part of me really doesn’t want this to end!

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*Ok, I’m slowly being converted. East European beers have that ability over even the staunchest I only-drink-wine person.

 

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