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.

Opole - Rajdeep Sandhu

  • sobota, 25 czerwca 2011
    • Bye.. for now

      So I am leaving Opole today and I am filled with sadness. I met many new friends in this city and felt at home even though I only knew a few people.  Opole is the best part of a village mixed with the best part of a city. The people have made this trip so wonderful, and I am so grateful to everyone who has shown me kindess, given me directions and of course smiled and said Czesc! 

      It has been an amazing experience one which I will never forget, I have taken so many pictures so I can look at this beautiful city whenever I miss it. I even managed to get up high enough to get a better view of the city. 

      But I shall see you all next time I come because there is so much more that I want to explore here. 

      Do zobaczenia wkrótce!

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      sobota, 25 czerwca 2011 11:40
  • piątek, 24 czerwca 2011
    • The best and worst of Opole

      Here’s a quick round up of what I thought about the best and worst places you voted for me to visit.

      Jurapark

      It is great for families, it offers something different from the ordinary amusement park, and the beach is a big plus. But it is better to go on a day when it is busier so the bus that goes around the park works as it is quite a long walk around.  The young people who work there spoke very good English and the English map was useful.

      Moszna

      This is a very beautiful place. The castle is magnificent; definitely one to go see with family the large park is nice as well, with lots of tourist stalls to buy from. This one is targeted at tourists, although mainly German tourists as I struggled to understand how to get a ticket. I didn’t get to look around inside much but it was a lovely place to spend the day.

      Museum wsi opolskiej

      I really wanted to like this museum, but the lack of English information really spoiled it. The value of the Museum comes from the people who work there and can explain the stories behind the objects and the way people lived in such old times. It is so fascinating to walk into the barns and feel like you have gone back in time, but it becomes boring very quickly if you are just looking at strange objects without knowing what they do. Something that I do really like in your Museums is that you can touch everything, I loved flicking through the old books, feeling the furniture and being able hold the objects.

      Zoo

      The zoo was a nice family place and would be fun for young children. Things are pretty self-explanatory with pictures and getting a ticket wasn’t too difficult, but there wasn’t much English.

      Things you didn’t want me to see

      Woman on the bull

      Well I am pretty sure you know my views about this statue if not than read here. But just to re-iterate I like it a lot. But I like it because it represents something different for me, and for those of you who are thinking well you can’t do that because it is only about this specific incident in Polish history. I know that already but I see it like a piece of art and I have a different perception of it.

      Speedway stadium

      The stadium is quite run down and I can see why you wouldn’t want someone to see it, but if there is a match than I think it would be a nice day out.

      Akwarium

      I can’t really imagine tourists going here, they would probably go to the outdoor pool I have been told about or one of the many lakes. But if they did they should only go if they want to exercise, or maybe for the Jacuzzi which was the highlight for me.

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      piątek, 24 czerwca 2011 16:42
    • Can you remember a night this week without alcohol?

      Coming back in the early hours of the morning has been a regular occurence this week, so last night I went to aquarium, after a couple of hours in Maska before that we went to the pub near Radio Opole, the one with the statue which remembers the flood in 1997 (there is so much history in every corner, sorry if I get my facts mixed up) which had an english menu and staff, and it was the same in Maska. 

      One of my new found friends who I had been to speedway with earlier in the day, asked me "so can you remember a night here without alcohol" I surprised myself with the answer which was only the first night that I arrived when I went straight to my hotel bed. Drinking is a big part of Polish culture and sometimes it is difficult to keep up, but Poles become so welcoming, they also suddenly speak more english. It makes me laugh because more people can speak English than they let on but as soon as you all have a drink everyone talks English! 

      During the day I went to my very first speedway match, although it was only training it was interesting to see how families, children, young people and older people were there. It really is sport for everyone not just men as I had thought. I was wondering why no one was cheering and thought maybe this is how Polish people watch sport? But I was assured it is not, and that if I was at a real match than I wouldn't have a voice left after screaming. The stadium was one of the places on my list that I shouldn't see, and I can understand why. It is not a beautiful touristic attraction or a modern and impressive stadium - definitely not hi-tech the tractor used to fix the track had its door nearly hanging off its hinges - but it seems to be what normal Polish people enjoy watching and that part of your culture should be shared. I was surprised to learn that speedway is also in England because I have never heard of it before I came here. 

       

      Sadly today is my last day in Opole, and my stomach is already getting that horrible feeling when you don't want to leave somewhere. Time has gone too quick for my liking and even though my days have been packed with things to do, there is still so much more that I want to do! However I have learnt some Polish, only one or two words but I would say the most important to help you get around the city

      cześć

      dziękuję

      piwo

      and that very bad word beginning with k.. 

      I am wondering how to spend my last day here, I am going to have a home cooked meal later, and even a driving lesson on Polish, so I would advise you to stay in your houses this afternoon. I will let you know how it goes.

      Cześć!

      

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      piątek, 24 czerwca 2011 12:49
  • czwartek, 23 czerwca 2011
    • Alcoholic, grumpy Poles

      Before I came to Poland I didn’t know much at all about Polish people or what to expect. My stereotypes about polish people came from friends and family. In London I do not know many Polish people, actually I don’t think I know any (that will have to change when I go back) so I thought that they drank a lot, had awful fashion sense, and that everybody is poor so everything is very cheap. I generally didn’t think they were outgoing or friendly.

      But now you have changed my opinion, and I know what Polish people are really like. At first you seem cautious with new people but you open up very quickly, even quicker if there is beer or vodka involved.

      It is very cheap here so that one was true and you do drink a lot, everyone always ends up in the pub. But the most surprising thing that I have found here is that even though Opole is classified as a city it feels more like a village. Everybody knows each other. Even as I have been walking around I have begun to notice faces and they are almost familiar even though we haven’t spoken. As I walk around the city centre I feel as though I know these streets and if I got lost it wouldn’t be a problem I could find my way back. It is like a huge circle and you always find your way. Some people prefer huge cities where you can never meet the same person twice and even if you have lived there all your life there are places you have never heard of and London is very much like that. It is fast and constantly changing but then it is exhausting to keep up with. Here everybody is relaxed there is time to talk, enjoy the weather and the beauty of the architecture. I never expected for people to enjoy life in Poland, I thought everybody would be miserable after all the hardships they have faced. On the other hand this relaxed approach can be mistaken for being rather dull or boring but once you begin to talk to people you realise that is not the case.

      I have been surprised at the lack of English being spoken in key public services or places aimed at tourists. Many Polish people speak very good English and even basic English is better than none. I have had to rely on pure luck and the kindness of strangers to step in and translate when I do not understand something. This just shows how helpful Polish people are, but resturants where there is an English menu but then nobody else speaks English it  completely baffles me.

      English is a world language and is often taught as a foreign language. When tourists visit a country they do not learn its language first, they pick up a phrasebook or a dictionary in that language and try to string sentences together, but that can make situations more confusing. They are most likely going to rely on the other languages that they have learnt.

      Even so it has not been impossible to get around the city, but when Poland hosts the football the pressure will increase on services to be able to understand and speak English.

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      czwartek, 23 czerwca 2011 13:51
    • Waiting for a stroll around town

      The bells are ringing across the city as the people take the day off work to celebrate a religious day. I would love to tell you that I know all about this day, the history and the meaning but I do not. I only found out that it was called Corpus Christi because it says so on Wikipedia. This morning I went to the Cathedral so I could ask someone what was going on, but as usual I failed to find some one who spoke English. So I waited for something to happen that would explain it to me. I do not know about Christian customs so after listening to some hymns and the priest talking, I left the Cathedral but as I walked out I was very surprised to see so many people standing outside the church. Religion makes people do very odd things, like wake up very early and stand outside a Cathedral for an hour waiting so they can then follow old men dressed in strange clothing around their city. I am sure that it is an important event so please excuse my ignorance, but without understanding why young girls are throwing flowers or young men are singing hymns than it is meaningless to someone watching it.

      However being from a culture that loves to put on a show I can understand some aspects of such an event. This city is family orientated and like a big community rather more like a village than a city. I guess it is a nice way to spend the day following your faith with friends and family and passing it down to the next generation. I wonder if the children understand the significance, a lot of the time parents assume that because they are there they must know what is going on. So many people turned up that the street outside the cathedral was packed. As I looked around I saw many older people, families and children, but hardly any young people or students. It made me think of my encouter last night with a guy I met at highlander. When I asked him if he was going to the procession he rolled his eyes and said not everyone in Poland is religious. That was the case with quite a few people I met last night choosing not to go. So now I am wondering is religion less popular now in Poland?

      I am not sure what happens after the procession, and if the celebrations continue in some way, but I shall definitely be keeping my ears open.

       

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      czwartek, 23 czerwca 2011 11:59
    • Beaches in opole

       

      When I went to Jurapark today - voted one of the best places to go - I was surprised to find a beach there.

       

      They even had an english map, and one member of staff spoke great English and explained dinosaur related things to me. Although we were given very odd slippers to wear on top of our shoes. 

      I also visited the museum that is near market square which has all the old funiture and shows how Polish people used to live. It was similar to the other one I visited but slightly better because one lady who worked there spoke English so she could answer my questions and explain the history behind certain objects.

      The best place I went to today though has got to be Turawa, which was stunning. I didn't feel like I was in Opole or even Poland any more. It was so peaceful and the cheese in breadcrumbs dish was delicious.

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      czwartek, 23 czerwca 2011 04:31
    • Is it a boar or is it a bull?

      I mentioned in an earlier post about the statue of the woman on the 'boar' which was actually a bull. I was having a discussion about that statue, and I really do not understand how a woman on a bull represents independence and freedom?

      If anything from first glance it looks like a statue which represents female strengh and women's rights. She even looks slightly Eygyptian. It is the strangest statue I have ever seen, but the more I see it the more I like it. But seriously the meaning of it is not clear at all. Can someone tell me what she represents? Why was that particular image chosen - a woman on a bull - is there a story behind it? Otherwise it just seems very random. 

      Polish people seem very proud of their heritage and history so somebody should be able to answer my questions?

       

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