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.

Warszawa - Monika Thomasberger

  • wtorek, 28 czerwca 2011
    • Warszawa you have a place in my heart

      WarszawaWarszawa, I have only stayed with you for some days, but you left an impression of a lifetime. Everything I had thought of you before- being a huge, grey financial city has been removed from my memory and replaced with fond thoughts. Warszawa Centralna

      I have seen many cities all around the world, but Warszawa is the only one that made me want to stay forever. Sitting on my last day at sklep z kanapkami, a sandwich shop on Krakowskie Przedmiescie with my “missionarki” friends Zlata, Laurie and Kimberly, I was considering burning my flight ticket and stay in this beautiful city for a while.

      Warszawa is very welcoming and used to tourists from all over the world. You can get around easily with English at most of the restaurants in the city centre. If you need to ask for the way, stick with the young people as older ones often don’t speak English.

      Getting around the city is not too complicated as there is only one metro line so far and the buses or tram stations have information about the lines and stops. Although many Warsaw people complain about traffic jams, I was lucky to live so central that I could walk to my destinations easily. I would also recommend this to any tourists.

      Being used to the dirty streets of London and the people’s ignorance in using bins, I was very surprised to see that Warsaw is a very, very clean city. Not only are the streets looked after, also when using the metro, buses or trams, I have never seen rubbish being carelessly dumped.

      What amazed me most, were the plenty well looked after and beautiful parks and green spaces. Although I always was up and about during the misja21 project, it might sound strange, but I found so many nice places to relax.

      Warszawa, you have so much to be proud of. Of course there are always things to improve, but every city faces these problems. With Praga and the old town, you are definitely a city of contrasts, but I just love the charm and energy you have to offer!

      My favourites were:

      • The bicycle tour I did through Praga
      • A horse carriage ride through the old town  I did with the misja21 girls on our last day in Warszawa horse
      • The beach and the green space along the Vistula river beach and old town
      • The amazing roof garden at the university library
      • Lazenki Park and the Chopin concert
      • The new stadium stadium

      When going out I really liked PKP podwisle and Sen pszczoły (a night club in Praga). When thinking about food, I loved Pierogi and my favourite place was the quiet patio of Pierogeria near the city wall in the old town. I loved the cheesecake in café Kultura and their café latte.

      I know there is so much more to explore in Warsaw, but I only had one week. The time I spent there and the people I met will always remain in my heart.

      I want to thank my shadow Wojtek, who had lots of patience with me and always made me feel like a friend. I will never forget the amazing and hardworking Gazeta team and their beautiful office.

      Who knows, maybe I can come and live in Warsawa one day and if not, I definitely come back as a visitor. Warsawa- you are ready to host the Euro 2012!

       

      

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      wtorek, 28 czerwca 2011 00:28
    • The new stadium from inside:

      The new stadium in Warszawa will host the opening match for the Euro 2012. It offers space for over 58.000 people.  It was supposed to be finished in June, but will now be ready by the end of November 2011.

      When I was invited to visit it I was very excited. When entering the building site the place left a huge impression on me. It is grand and makes you feel like a tiny ant among the red and white seats. The roof looks amazing and the white canvas can be closed in 20 minutes, offering complete covering of the pitch. roof

      There is a nearby train station which will give a direct link to the airport. Fans can also reach the stadium with a tram from the city centre or by a 30 minute walk from the central train station. I heard concerns that because the metro line could not be finished on time, there could be a huge traffic jam and chaos on the streets. A local taxi driver told me that there will be a “total standstill” during the Euro 2012 and he also said that the two to three line road to the airport will cause lots of traffic problems as it is not as wide as in other European cities.

      I can’t say anything about the traffic in Warsaw, but I know the metro in Vienna was extended by five stations to give direct access to the stadium, alongside another metro line and trams. The best thing is just to wait and see as opinions are clashing against each other.

      One thing I was impressed of was the huge space surrounding the stadium. This assures that the fans can exit the place safely. Although many people laugh that the finishing of the stadium is delayed, I think five months are not so bad as long as everything is ready for the kick off.

      I heard that there will be lots of temporary job opportunities for local people and of course the Euro 2012 is a really good opportunity for Warsaw to show itself from the best side.

      As I was told, the stadium will not be downsized after the games and will find use as a concert venue. If events are smaller, only one of the two part seating areas will be used. I really hope I can come back when the stadium is finished and experience an event there!

      

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      wtorek, 28 czerwca 2011 00:26
  • poniedziałek, 27 czerwca 2011
    • Green Warsaw and my favourite park

      palace on the water

      What clearly surprised me was that Warsaw has many well looked after parks. In some places you hop from one green space to another. I must admit my favourite one is definitely the Laszienki Park south of the city centre. This oasis in the city has everything someone can dream of. I read that this is the biggest park in Warsaw and used to be a favourite residence of Polish royalty.

      gate to lazienki parkWhat I like about it is the huge variety of spaces and elements it has to offer. When entering it from the northern side it looked a bit like a forest to me, but the area soon transformed when I reached the beautiful palace on the water. At the palace pond I watched families sailing in gondolas. 

      Further up I relaxed at the amphitheatre where two beautiful peacocks were showing off their beauty. amphitheatre peacockpalace on the watergondola

      To the left of the palace on the water I went to the Myslewicki palace where I visited the exhibition 400 years of Poles in America. At the south east end of the park, every Sunday at 12 and 4 there are free Chopin concerts at the impressive Chopin monument in the rose garden.

      chopin monument

      I must say that this park is a jewel in the city.

       

      

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      poniedziałek, 27 czerwca 2011 21:35
    • The future in your hands

      This week I learned how young Poles think about the future of their country. At PKP podwisle I met Maciek, 27, who works for a huge telecom company in the R&D sector in Warsaw. Maciek, an Engineering graduate told me that he could earn three to four times more abroad and he had turned down previous job offers from France and the UK.

      When talking about Poland, he feels proud and confident. He said: “I want to stay in Poland because this country has no chance if all the skilled people leave to work abroad. We need to stay and invest in our future. Big money is not everything.”

      Maria, my former colleague from work is Polish, studied in Austria and later worked in England in a well-paid job she decided to quit to return to her homeland. She told me that many Poles had left their country to earn more money but some have since returned with the skills and know-how from abroad to “build up Poland.”

      When talking to young people in Warsaw I could feel this positive attitude and pride towards their country. Young Poles are fed up with living in the past and just want to move on.

      Maciek told me that his father often said how he remembers standing in the queues for food during communism and he keeps telling him that he is so happy that Maciek lives in in a free Poland with plenty of opportunities and a bright future.

      Maciek concluded: “Although some of my friends abroad earn good money, I can feel a pioneer spirit because we want to catch up with the time we missed.”

      

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      poniedziałek, 27 czerwca 2011 20:08
    • Alternative Warszawa

      When thinking about Poland before misja21, I had imagined that people were overwhelming catholic and very conservative. But I was surprised to see that the capital Warszawa is very open minded. To demonstrate that, my friends took me to a gay club called Toro and irony wants it, that this was my first visit to a gay club in my life.

      At first it was very unusual for me to see so many men but the atmosphere was very relaxed and we danced and spoke to people around us.

      I got to chat to a young gay Russian who studies in Warsaw. He told me that he was very glad to be in such an open minded place, because in Russia life as a gay is very hard.

      Although homosexuality was never illegal in Poland, I was told that gays face discrimination or at least misunderstanding in many smaller villages and towns. At the moment gay people are fighting for their right to have legal partnerships, which is still not possible in Poland.

      But a modern society respects the rights of everybody that's why I am sure that Poland is on the right track.

      

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      poniedziałek, 27 czerwca 2011 02:34
  • piątek, 24 czerwca 2011
    • Polish-Ukrainian food experience with a grumpy lady and waxy serviettes

      Today I had an amazing Polish- Ukrainian feast at Bar Mleczny Rusalka in Florianska street. I was with a ZDF film team and we wanted to show a traditional food experience in Poland.

      Bar Mleczny from outsideFirst of all the staff did not want us to film inside and they were making a huge fuss, but when we assured them we come as friends, we were allowed to get in. To be honest this restaurant looked deserted from outside and I would have never thought it is open. In this bar mleczny you won’t get far with English, so assure you bring a Polish friend who translates and orders for you.

      Bar MlecznyThere is a grumpy lady at the till and you better get your orders right- “Barscz, jaki Barcsz? Cysty, Ukraiński, z botwinkom?” (Barscz which Barscz, clear one, Ukrainian or with botwinka?) “I don’t know,” I relplied, but could feel her staring at me and losing her patience. “This one” I pointed at a woman who was eating a pinkish soup. “That’s Ukrainian” she told me in a voice that said how on earth couldn’t you know that. Phew, soup ordered. As a second dish I wanted Golombka (Cabbage roulade stuffed with meat or Krautroulade in Austrian) with tomatosauce. She asked me what I want with it and I chose potatoes. Than the Mc Donald’s slogan hit me: “Do you want a desert, like a Kompot to go with your meal?” Erm no, thanks?! - “NEXT PLEASE!” she shouted and looked like through me as if I wasn’t there.

      lunchI gave my bill to the lady who served the food and took my metal folk but only found plastic knifes (health and safty reasons?). The serviettes were made out of strange waxy paper and I was told that this is a relict from communism times.

      The food was amazing amazing amazing and so cheap. (Mine was around 10 Zloty) I even finished the delicious warm beetroot salad from my colleague. At the end of my meal the grumpy lady came and asked if I had liked it- still no smiles and she told my colleague that he moved the curtians with his elbow. (you can see it in the picture) But I think it was just her nature and she might have a kind inner side. We took it with humor. I often experience that staff in Polish restaurants appear as if they don’t want to work there. Poland is definetly not as customer orientated as the UK. But I am from Austria. I am used to grumpy waiters. I guess this is part of “the experience”. So if you want to taste “the real thing” it is worth going to Rusalka bar Mleczny.

      Ukrainian BarsczGolambek with potatoes and tomato saucewarm beetroot saladmeat with salads

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      piątek, 24 czerwca 2011 20:11
    • More culinary experiences

      baked pierogi

      PierogeriaThe longer I stay in Warszawa, the more I experience the Polish cuisine. Somehow I got hooked on Pierogi although I know there is more on the menu than just these traditional filled dumplings, but they come in such a huge variety, that it is hard to resist to try them all. You can have them fried, boiled, baked, with meat, cabbage and mushrooms, cheese and potatoes or even with fruits.

      I loved the baked ones with cheese and potatoes I had at Pierogeria in the city centre, because the location was just magnificent. When the weather is nice you can sit on a patio under a tree and have a great view of the city wall.

       I had fried Piearogi at Piwna Kompania in ul. Poswale and boild ones with meat and cabbage at Zapieciek on Al. Jerozolimskie near Nowy Swiat street. I guess in Poland there are Pierogi for every day of the year. boiled Pierogi

       After having some amazing ice cream at A. Blikle, a traditional Polish pastry shop (the chocolate flavour was so nice and rich- amazing!) I was in the mood for poncki (doughnuts) at Chmielna street, but the shop was closed and to satisfy my stomach I went to Toan Pho, a Vietnamese restaurant next to the poncki shop, because I heard it is very popular with Warsawian people,  I wanted to know what the fuss was all about.

       First of all it was really full and also lots of Vietnamese people were eating there. I was a little confused with the Polish menu but ordered a soup for 15 Zloty. I felt adventurous ordering food I knew nothing about. I asked the lady to have it take away which was an additional Zloty. The funny thing is, that in London take away is cheaper than eat in.

      Vietnamese soupThe lady was very friendly and showed me that they also have English menues. She told me that she speaks English and Polish, but I am not sure in what language she was talking to me. Someone suggested that she just speaks English and Polish for food ordering, but if you have additional questions you would have to ask them in Vietnamese.

      I got the biggest bucket of soup I could have imagined. People stared at me on the street. The soup itself was an amazing experience and I found noodles, prawns, pork meat, mushrooms and other veggies. In addition I got a cup with a spicy souce, chillies, herbs and a lemon, that I poured into my soup. I couldn’t finish the bucket and my lips were burning, but I was happy.

       

       

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      piątek, 24 czerwca 2011 19:24

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