A short stop in Poland
it comes to Poland, we always remember snow, cold weather and plait-haired dolls.
When I crossed the border from Germany into the Polish town of Szczecin, I didn't
know what was ahead of me, but I was sure it was going to be a very interesting
Poland is not an old nation. It became independent in 1918. Still, it
went through a turbulent history. It suffered a lot during World War II, when it
was invaded by German troops and, afterwards, the country became part of the
Iron Curtain, a group of nations led by the former Soviet Union. It is still
possible to see remains of communism such as old cars. Despite having suffered
an economic crisis, especially in the 70's, Poland is one of the fastest-growing
economies in Eastern Europe.
I went to Szczecin, a port city three hours away from Berlin, in order to
see the place from which many Polish immigrants set out to try their luck in Rio
Grande do Sul. Not long ago, they came to Brazil escaping from World War I and
founded towns like Dom Feliciano. This way, small Polish settlements appeared in
the countryside, and some inhabitants still preserve the habit of speaking
Since it is a port city, Szczecin is among the largest ones in the region,
with museums, archways and churches. It is not a tourist spot. Finding postcards
and souvenirs was tough! But it is a good choice for whoever is in Berlin,
without much time or money to spend, and wants to experience the Polish
As soon as I set foot in Szczecin, I could notice the difference,
beginning with the prices. The Polish currency is worth less than the euro,
which makes the cost of living very similar to the one in Brazil. On the other
side, Brazilians find it hard to speak Polish. In Szczecin, I found people who
spoke English only in hotels and at the tourist information desk. Other than
that, the population speaks only Polish.
Not being able to communicate gives a sense of total impotence, of being
lost and not having anyone to ask for help. The only way to get by is to mimic,
because the language does not resemble Portuguese in any way. One needs to be
very creative to communicate and some situations are funny. We ask a question,
they do not understand and answer in Polish, which in turn we do not understand
either. Can you believe I spent half an hour waiting for a train, which I ended
up missing because I was on the wrong platform? I had enormous trouble finding
out which platform was the right one.
However, although the country is well known as a gelid one, Poles are
very hospitable. People try to help (albeit in vain), and the ones who speak
English are very kind to the tourists. I couldn't help trying a traditional
Polish dish. At a simple restaurant, with good prices and home food, a tried the
pierogi – a snack made up of fried ravioli filled with cabbage.
One should try Polish food: besides being tasty, it is rather affordable.
Everything is cheaper in Poland. The Polish currency, the zloty, is worth the
same as the real. After travelling in Switzerland and Germany, expensive
countries, being in Poland is a relief for one's pocket.
I didn't get to know the most famous cities in Poland, such as Krakow,
former capital; Warsaw, the current capital; and Gdansk, on the Baltic Sea.
Krakow is the most visited one and it is said to be one of the most beautiful
cities in Europe. In its outskirts, there used to be concentration camps, such
as Auschwitz, a place I still want to visit. In spite of the little I have seen,
Poland showed up as a friendly and affordable country, full of history and with
a great potential to be developed.
Culture centre: 1
- Building with grand design: 1
- Castle: 1
Translated by Traduzca