MISJA 21: Podróż dookoła Polski w 21 dni Euro

Nasi wysłannicy z Londynu i Łodzi - Petter Larsson z City University i Maciej Stańczyk z Gazety Wyborczej - przemierzają kraj w poszukiwaniu największego sukcesu i porażki Mistrzostw Europy w Piłce Nożnej UEFA - Euro 2012.


  • wtorek, 07 czerwca 2011
    • Bring it on, Bydgoszcz!


      So, after much effort I think I can finally pronounce the name of the city I will be reporting on… Bydgoszcz.

      Gazeta Wyborcza has invited a group of Journalism students from City University, London to Poland. We’ll be scattered across the country to find out about this interesting and historical place and whether it is ready to take on all the things involved in hosting the Euro 2012.

      I have done some research into Bydgoszcz and from what I’ve read it’s seemingly modern in the way it functions as a city and what it provides. It appears very much as a business-orientated and industrial city and not a typical destination for tourists.

      However, the canals and waterside buildings look beautiful and I’m excited about being able to wander around the neighbourhood nicknamed ‘Bydgoszcz Venice’ and hopefully visit Bory Tucholskie National Park and the Opera house.

      I haven’t researched in depth too much as I want to discover what Bydgoszcz has to offer first-hand and explore the city without too many pre-empted ideas, expectations or assumptions.

      But I haven’t unearthed any information that is alarming or concerning about Bydgoszcz so there has been nothing to encroach on my excitement for this mission or taint my perceptions in that way.

      So far, from what I know and from the images I’ve found I cannot make many connections or uncover many similarities between Bydgoszcz and London – where I live – so undoubtedly my stay in the city will be seven days out of my comfort zone and out of my habitual and secure everyday life at home.

      I’m wholeheartedly excited about my visit and this project and my only concern – and the issue I see arising first and foremost – is the language barrier; I speak no Polish whatsoever and this will inevitably prove itself to be a tricky situation but this is all a part of Mission21 (or Misja21).

      Keep up to date with my colleagues and I throughout our adventures.


      See you soon, Poland.


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      wtorek, 07 czerwca 2011 18:09
    • Start spreading the news, I'm leaving for Łódź in 11 days!

      Yes, that's right - I'm going to Łódź! 

      I don't have too much experience with Poland. I've been once when I was 15, and that time I had teachers and parents around me at all times, so I didn't get to explore anything.

      This time around it will be all about the exploring. I'll be on my own in a country, a city, I have no idea how to get around in. Or what to do in. And my task is to find out if you, Łódź, are ready to host the Euro 2012 in exactly a year from today.

      The workshop last week was helpful. I now know that Łódź has the longest shopping street in Europe - Piotrkowska Street, and I know that the architect building the new World Trade Centre memoir building is from Łódź. Other facts I have learned over the past week is that Łódź means boat, that it is the third largest city in Poland according to Wikipedia, and that it has some sort of a metro system for me to get around with.

      As you can see, I am fairly clueless. But I'm also excited - very, very excited!

      I get to go off on my own and see all Łódź has to offer, good and bad. I consider myself to have well-trained touristic skills, but as I have never been to Łódź before any tips on where to go, what to eat, what not to eat, what to bring or what I need to look out for - please, don't be shy, let me know by leaving a comment on this post! I will be eternally grateful for anything you can throw my way.

      First things first: I will need a place to stay. So if any of you readers have any suggestions, let me know :)

      As for now, 
      Łódź - I can't wait to see you!

      - Kamilla

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      wtorek, 07 czerwca 2011 17:01
    • Preparations begin for Poznań

      Copyright: Logofag

      After witnessing the recent phenomenon of the Lech Poznań goal celebration sweeping across British football terraces I am excited to discover what else the city has to offer.

      The time to leave for Poland is over a week away and my preparations for this trip have begun. I have booked my place at a hostel in central Poznań, 30 minutes walk from Poznań Glowny railway station, and ordered my InterRail train pass. The pass cost 80 euros for six days of unlimited travel within Poland and compared to rocketing rail fares in the UK, this seems very reasonable.

                  I believe travelling by train is the best way to get around because you’re able to appreciate the sights of a foreign land instead of being stuck on a dull motorway or 30,000 feet up in the air. The cost of my pass was reduced because I am below 25 but this means I will travel in second class. A first class pass would have set me back a further 100 euros so I didn’t feel this was necessary despite reading about overcrowding and pickpockets operating on second class carriages. These warnings haven’t really worried me because I have grown accustomed to having my face pressed against a tube window on London’s packed underground network.

                  However, I am slightly apprehensive about sharing a room with strangers in the hostel, but as I’m going to be alone in Poznań, any friends that I can make will be appreciated. The cost of accommodation in Poznań seems very affordable and hotels are easily found on the internet. I put this down to the city being a hub of industry so there must be a lot of visiting businessmen in need of a place to rest their head.

                  Despite the high-tech industries operating in Poznań, the fact that the city is one of the oldest in Poland must mean there is a wealth of places to visit. After visiting a book store to pick up a Polish dictionary I glanced through a guidebook and came across Zamek Cesarski. This castle was the residence of Adolf Hitler during the Nazi occupation of Poland and, considering my keen interest in history, this is a must-see attraction for me.

                  The artificial Lake Malta also looks like a beautiful place to visit when the sun is out and I am already looking forward to sampling some of the water sports on offer. I am also keen to take a walk or bike ride along the Warta River and experience all the natural splendours of the city because, as a host venue for next year’s Euro 2012 championships, anything that can entertain travelling football fans when games aren’t on is sure to enhance the Poznań experience. I hope to leave the city and show people that it is famous for more than just its revolutionary goal celebration.

                  I recently returned to my hometown after finishing my university exams and popped into the local barber for a trim. Since I’d been away the owner had employed a young Polish woman who was from the south of the country and she not only gave me a haircut but also a few words of advice for Poland. She told me what to expect on my visit even though she had not visited Poznań since she was a child. One tip was to sample a Polish dish similar to ravioli – I can’t remember the exact name, any ideas? – And she also whetted my appetite for Polish beer which she claims is lovely. I shall be sure to take onboard her advice and tell her about my experiences once I return to the UK – that’s if I return because she said Polish road signs aren’t the greatest so it looks like I’ll have to polish up on my map-reading skills!

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      wtorek, 07 czerwca 2011 16:17
    • From London to Lublin

      Photo: Jean and Nathalie

      Having shuffled my hand around in Gazeta’s beautifully tailored, but ultimately imaginary top hat, I was lucky enough to pick out the city of Lublin.

      Residing on the far-eastern side of Poland, Lublin, the capital of the Lublin Voivodeship, appears to be one of the least westernised regions in the whole country. After dabbling around on Google, I’ve found that in fact Lublin had the lowest GDP output within the European Union until Bulgaria and Romania joined in 2007. 

      This makes me a tad sweaty, seeing as I struggle to live away from the comfort of my home and parents in the UK while at university, let alone when on the far-eastern borders of a former communist state. But we’ve all got to grow up, haven’t we? 

      Hopefully with Lublin being fairly untouched by the grasping hands of modernity I’ll get to see a different side to Poland. One tempered more by the cultures of times-gone-by than by vehicles of commercialisation and Coca-Cola. 

      I don’t think I should let the economic status of Lublin taint my perception of the city by any means. From what I can see the place looks bloody beautiful – especially the Old Town region – where artistic remnants of the Polish Renaissance collide with Russian Byzantine structures, musings of Trompe-l'oeil and Gothic architecture to form what looks to be a mesmerising kaleidoscope of historical splendor. No wonder, then, that Lublin has been shortlisted as a candidate for the European Capital of Culture 2016.

      However, lurking behind these beautiful reminders of Lublin’s past, there undoubtedly lies a darker historical relic in the form of the Majdanek concentration camp. 

      For me it’s hard to approach things with any level of parity when you visit a city with a scar as ugly and as deep as Majdanek, which was established during the Nazi occupation of Poland and became the centre of Hitler’s Operation Reinhard campaign. But I’m hoping the city has been able to detach itself from this part of its past, and that the beauty of the city (and of its people!) are able to detract me from the fractious associations often made with the camp.

      With less than two weeks to go until I arrive, I’m starting to formulate a plan as to how I’m going to survive. As my mother often tells me, I can barely speak English, so I’m sort of worried about how I’m going to cope when it comes to speaking Polish. I’ve ordered a Polish phrasebook, and if all else fails I’ve devised a plan whereby I’m going to use hand signals and talk very slowly, but also very loudly. You’ll be able to spot me from a mile off. 

      I’m thinking of sorting both my accommodation and travel arrangements out when I arrive. Although a lot of English football fans will probably book beforehand, this should enable me to gauge the efficiency of the local infrastructure and the state of the national transport network more comprehensively. 

      It could go pear-shaped; everything usually does when I’m involved. If you see a lanky, blonde, Krauty-looking man with a penchant for tight trousers crying, please help. Oh and I also love food so any suggestions on cuisine would be ace.

      I cannot wait to meet you all.

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      wtorek, 07 czerwca 2011 15:12
    • Katowice calling

      When we last week had workshops with representatives from Gazeta Wyborcza we also had a draw that decided which cities we were going to this summer. I was speechless when I picked up the note that said Katowice.

      Speechless because that was the city that my grandmother was born in before her parents fled with her to Sweden during the war?

      Speechless because Katowice is the city in which I might still have relatives that my family has lost connection with?

      No, speechless because I simply did not know how to pronounce the city’s name. I had never seen or heard anything about Katowice and that was exactly what I had hoped for about the city that I was going to (which meant that anything except from Wroclaw, Krakow or Warsaw would be ok).

      I have not really started to research the city but I will probably look into that soon. The first thing I did was instead what I normally do if I want to go somewhere. I send out a message to all my friends from that country asking for advice or possibly friends in that city. Apart from the kitchen workers in the bar where I am working during the weekends, I have in London met quite a few Polish people and they all promised to get in touch with their Katowice contacts.

      Most of them also replied things like: “It’s honestly not the most representative city either so do not get the wrong idea about our beautiful country” or “Katowice is ugly and dirty.” When I told my father, a genuinely positive man, about my destination he said that it was an old grey industrial city with dirty air.

      I am sure that Katowice not is either dirty or ugly but it is comments like these that make me more and more happy about the city that will be my temporary home in a few weeks. When traveling, I have always been skeptic about places that too many people are describing as amazing but when a place is said to be dirty, ugly or boring I want to go there.

      Every place has a story and from what I have heard Katowice seems cool. One friend told me that they in the city now are refurbishing old warehouses and turning them into galleries and clubs. This reminds me of my favorite area in London – once the most industrialized area in Europe – Brick Lane.

      Katowice seems to have many features - just like my London street on a day in June. This is what the people tell me Katowice will be like:

      my dark tre

      This is what I think I will see:

      my light street

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      wtorek, 07 czerwca 2011 01:42
  • poniedziałek, 06 czerwca 2011


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